Marco Tamborini, ‘Like anything that does not bring in any money, there seems not to be the slightest interest in natural history in Prussia:’ Fundraising for Tendaguru


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About the Talk

Between 1909 and 1913, Berlin Museum of Natural History excavated more than 225 tons of fossils in former German East Africa and transported them to Berlin. Among them were the bones of Brachiosaurus brancai, which would eventually become the biggest mounted dinosaur in the world. My talk aims to reveal several aspects of natural history knowledge production at the end of the long nineteenth century: How could political attention be captured and directed toward the promotion of paleontology, given the lack of interest in natural history during the Wilhelminian era? Or, to put it differently, how could paleontology acquire an institutional, social, and scientific value in a society that put a premium on the industrialization of science?



Marco Tamborini holds a Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg (awarded in 2015). He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at PAN – Perspektiven auf Natur, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. His research focuses on the history and philosophy of biology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is particularly interested in the conceptual and institutional history of paleontology. He is now working on a book manuscript on the rise and decline of the visual and quantitative language of early nineteenth-century natural history. A full list of Tamborini’s publication and research interests, can be seen here