In general there exists a close connection between the development of the various natural history collections and the courses taught at that the Tel Aviv University. However that is not the case with the paleontological-geological collection, because courses in that field have never been part of the curriculum given at the Department of Zoology. Occasionally some fossils were collected by the staff or their students, when they carried out fieldwork in the Negev or elsewhere in the country in the wake of a course in zoology. However these fossils were never assembled in a special collection.

Major donations of Paleontological and Geological material

This situation changed drastically when the private collection of Prof. Hanan (Hans) Bytinski-Salz (1903-1986) became an integrated part of the collections of the university. Like so many of his colleagues, who received their academic education at a university in Germany, he was interested in many aspects of zoology and maintained at home a wide range of zoological collections including not only insects and molluscs but also fossils. His fossil collection was very extensive and it is currently stored in 300 drawers filling twelve cupboards. Not only are most animal groups represented in his collection, but also all the geologic periods up to the Holocene in Israel. His collection is also very rich in comparative material from numerous important paleontological-geological sites in England, Germany,Austria, Italy and elsewhere.

In 1969 the university received the mollusc collection of Derk A. Visker, a private collector from the Netherlands. This collection contained also hundreds of samples of fossil molluscs from the Pleistocene of the Netherlands, Pliocene from Belgium, the Netherlands and the U.S.A., and Miocene and Eocene from France. Likewise the mollusc collection of Arieh Hadar (1913-1968) contained some fossil material from the Pliocene of Florida, U.S.A.

 On 5 May 2005 the university received the remains of the geological-paleontological collection of Dr. Nathan Shalem (1897-1959). Originally this was a very rich and well documented collection, however, it suffered considerably during the time after his death and untill it was transfer to the National Collections of Natural History. It had been stored in crates in the cellars of various institutes (Avshalom Institute and Eretz Israel Museum), which had a disastrous result on the labels which were eaten either by silverfish, mice or rats. 

This collection is however rich in fossil fishes and other aquatic fauna from the Cretaceous discovered in the stone quarries of the Jerusalem area. It is also very rich in excellently preserved molluscs from Campanian sites at various places in Jerusalem, which are now densely built up urban regions. The latter material contains also some important type material of species described by Shalem in the course of his Ph.D.-studies in Italy.

In 2007 the small private collection of Dr.Yael Chalifa (1940-2006), a specialist of fossil fishes, was received. Some fine samples of local Cretaceous fish species were added to the growing paleontological collection. Her collection contained also some excellently preserved fossil material from sites in Canada, among them some beautiful fossil insects, and South America. In the last couple of years we received for study and permanent preservation important samples representing the Thyrrenian stage of the Pleistocene in Israel and Cyprus from the marine archaeologist Dr. E. Galili.

Recent developments in the Paleontological-Geological section 

Since the appointments of Dr.Yuri Katz (emeritus) and Dr. Olga Orlov-Labkovsky, which arrived respectively from Ukraine and Uzbekistan, the paleontological-geological collection entered a new phase of activities. Yuri Katz is a specialist in macropaleontology and studies such groups as Porifera, Bryozoa and Brachiopoda, while Olga Orlov-Labkovsky, a micropaleontologist, continues her important studies of the foraminifera from the Carboniferous of Kazahstan and Uzbekistanan, and the Permian of Israel. These studies on the taxonomy, systematics and stratigraphy are regularly presented by her at International Conferences and are published either in the Congress Proceedings or in various professional journals. Because of these activities much important material of various other groups are accumulating and are awaiting further scientific study.