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Minerals (1). Photo: (c) NMNHS

Palaeontology and Mineralogy Department

Main activities


Fossil mammals and birds of Bulgaria and the world are the subject of palaeontological investigations. The studies deal with their evolution, systematics and distribution. The department is the national centre of archeozoology and palaeontology of vertebrates. The mineralogical studies cover pegmatite mineralisations in intrusives of non-granite composition and metamorphites, as well as skarn (metasomatic) and hydrothermal mineralisations, mainly in Bulgaria.

In the museum branch in Asenovgrad, palaeontological studies on more than 40 species of Late Miocene mammals and the state of nature of that time are in progress.

Current projects


Study of Late Miocene hominoids from Chirpan Locality
Late Miocene mammal fauna of the Republic of Macedonia
Studies of Late Neogene proboscideans
Hipparion fauna of the Turolian Locality Strumyani 2
Morphology and taxonomy of Miocene birds from Bulgaria and Greece
Study of Late Pliocene bird records from Varshets Locality
Revision of the problematic Late Cretaceous rhynchonellid genus Cretirhynchia
Comparative studies of the evolution of the chemical composition of tourmalines, amphiboles, feldspars, magnetites, calcite, barite, analcime and other minerals

Collections


More than 30000 specimens of fossil representatives of the invertebrate fauna from Bulgaria as well as a small collection of foreign materials are housed in the depository. The collection of molluscs and corals from the Urgonian facies of the Lower Cretaceous from Bulgaria is the most important and impressive one.

Fossil mammals collections include between 3000 and 3500 samples (bones, bone fragments or whole skeletons) fossil mammals of more than 80 species; more than 4500 specimens of subfossil mammals (fossil bones from the Holocene), belonging to more than 15 species and domestic forms.

The mineral and rock collections of the museum comprise some 14000 specimens or items from all over the world. The collections comprise four main elements: main collection, meteorites and meteorite casts, about 1500 rock samples, 40 gems, collection for exchange.

Scientific staff


Nikolai Spassov — Prof. Dr, head of department
Georgi Markov — Sen. Assist. Dr
Latinka Hristova — Sen. Assist. Dr
Chavdar Karov — Assist. MSc
Iliya Dimitrov — MSc, mineralogist
Nadezhda Karastoyanova — MSc, archaeozoologist
Ralitsa Konyovska — fossil preparation and conservation