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Extension for the looted property project at Frankfurt University Library: 349 looted volumes identified to date
The exhibition "StolperSeiten – NS-Raubgut in der Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main" (“Stumbling Pages – NS looted property in the Frankfurt University Library") will be made available online as a virtual 360° tour on Provenance Research Day, which falls on April 12, 2023 this year. The exhibit is based on a project funded by the German Lost Art Foundation (Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste) as part of which the library is researching books in its inventory that can be attributed to persecutees of the Nazi era. The extension is the direct result of comparatively frequent finds, with the project now running until November 2024. There have already been several restitutions to Jewish and other organizations.
"StolperSeiten" (Stumbling Pages) was the title of a much-noticed 2022 exhibition at the library on Nazi looted property at the Frankfurt University Library (“NS-Raubgut in der Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main"). This exhibition is now open again, but in the form of a virtual 360° tour. It spans the historical framework that led to the looting of hundreds of thousands of cultural assets in Germany and Europe from 1933 onwards. With its focus on the city of Frankfurt, and the city's libraries in particular, the exhibit addresses the role libraries played in the organized looting and how they profited from it, pointing out many concrete cases of injustice. In addition, the use of partially interactive elements also makes the work of contemporary provenance researchers more accessible. http://stolperseiten.studiumdigitale.uni-frankfurt.de/
The online exhibit was designed as part of a project run by “fuels – Future Learning Spaces". Funded by the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and the Arts, the joint project of Goethe University, Darmstadt Technical University and Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences aims to bring innovative technologies such as 360°, augmented and virtual reality into the university landscape. For more information, visit: https://futurelearning.space/
Project to identify looted National Socialist property
In November 2020, Frankfurt University Library's (UB JCS) Provenance Research team started a project to identify looted National Socialist property in a first sub-collection comprising around 80,000 volumes. The search focuses on so-called "cultural property seized as a result of persecution", i.e. books that were looted or extorted from persecuted persons or institutions during the Nazi era. Commenting on the motives for researching Nazi looted property in the library, UB JCS director Daniela Poth says: "We consider it a moral obligation to uncover the injustice committed during the Nazi era and to document it in public, even if this does not make up for it. That is something university management, library management and project management all agree on." The project at Goethe University's UB JCS is sponsored by the German Lost Art Foundation. In addition, given the fact that many of the affected books are on permanent loan at the UB JCS but historically belong to the municipality, the city of Frankfurt is also providing a subsidy for the project costs.
Following the approval for an extension – itself based on the comparatively high number of finds – the project will now run until November 2024, and therefore already passed its halftime mark a few months ago. Time for an interim assessment. To date, almost 40,000 volumes have been individually checked on the shelf for any references to previous owners. This has turned out to be the case in an unusually high percentage of about 39%. As a result, more than 15,000 volumes have had to be examined more closely to clarify whether the suspicion of looted property is merited. Such an initial suspicion exists for over 3,800 books. Another 200 books have met with strong suspicion, whereas 349 books have been confirmed as cases of looted property. However, the project team's work does not end with the investigation into actual numbers or with the documentation of these cases on UB JCS' freely accessible search portal. For all confirmed cases of looted property, the project staff also researches the existence of descendants or successor institutions. If this search, which can be very complex, is successful, the library contacts the potential restitution recipients and clarifies whether they desire a return, or would prefer another "fair and just solution".
The fact that it took some time after the start of the project before the first restitutions could be both prepared and carried out illustrates just how time-consuming research and coordination are. Within the last six months, three books were restituted to the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, one book to the Jewish Religious Community of Baden and eight volumes to the Minerva Lodge of the Three Palms in Leipzig. Corresponding references to these volumes are available in the library's search portal – as virtual "StolperSeiten". Further restitutions are in the preparatory stage and expected to be completed during the course of the year.
Further information: Dr. Mathias Jehn, Head of the Department "Curating Subject Information Mediation", J. C. Senckenberg University Library, Bockenheimer Landstraße 134-138, 60325 Frankfurt, Tel: +49 (69) 798 39007, Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact for general press inquiries: Bernhard Wirth, Staff Development and Public Relations of the Library, Tel. +49 (69) 798 39223; Mail: email@example.com
Editor: Dr. Dirk Frank, Press Officer, PR & Communication Office, Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 1, 60323 Frankfurt am Main, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13753, firstname.lastname@example.org
International research team from Germany, Austria, Canada, the Netherlands and the USA applies new carbonate analysis method to eggshells from Troodon, reptiles and birds
An international research team led by Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, determined that Troodon, a dinosaur very close to modern birds, was a warm-blooded animal (an endotherm), but had a reproductive system similar to that of modern reptiles. The scientists applied a new method which allowed for accurate determination of the temperature when the egg's carbonate shell was formed. Furthermore, the researchers showed that Troodon laid 4 to 6 eggs per clutch. As nests with up to 24 Troodon eggs had been found, the scientists conclude that several Troodon females laid their eggs in communal nests.
FRANKFURT. In millions of years and with a long sequence of
small changes, evolution has shaped a particular group of dinosaurs, the theropods,
into the birds we watch fly around the planet today. In fact, birds are the
only descendants of dinosaurs which survived the catastrophic extinction 66
million years ago that ended the Cretaceous period.
Troodon was such a theropod. The carnivorous
dinosaur was about two meters long and populated the vast semi-arid landscapes of
North America about 75 million years ago. Like some of its dinosaur relatives, Troodon
presented some bird-like features like hollow and light bones. Troodon walked
on two legs and had fully developed feathery wings, but its relatively large size
precluded it from flying. Instead, it probably ran quite fast and caught its
prey using its strong claws. Troodon
females laid eggs more similar to the asymmetric eggs of modern birds than to
round ones of reptiles, the oldest relatives of all dinosaurs. These eggs were coloured
and have been found half buried into the ground, probably allowing Troodon to sit and brood them.
An international team of scientists led by
Mattia Tagliavento and Jens Fiebig from Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, has
now examined the calcium carbonate of some well-preserved Troodon eggshells.
The researchers used a method developed by Fiebig's group in 2019 called “dual
clumped isotope thermometry". By using this method, they could measure the
extent to which heavier varieties (isotopes) of oxygen and carbon clump
together in carbonate minerals. The prevalence of isotopic clumping, which is
temperature-dependent, made it possible for scientists to determine the
temperature at which the carbonates crystallized.
When analyzing Troodon eggshells, the
research team was able to determine that the eggshells were produced at temperatures
of 42 and 30 degrees Celsius. Mattia Tagliavento, leading author of the study,
explains: “The isotopic composition of Troodon
eggshells provides evidence that these extinct animals had a body temperature
of 42°C, and that they were able to reduce it to about 30°C, like modern
The scientists then compared isotopic
compositions of eggshells of reptiles (crocodile, alligator, and various
species of turtle) and modern birds (chicken, sparrow, wren, emu, kiwi,
cassowary and ostrich) to understand if Troodon was closer to either
birds or reptiles. They revealed two different isotopic patterns: reptile eggshells
have isotopic compositions matching the temperature of the surrounding
environment. This is in line with these animals being cold-blooded and forming
their eggs slowly. Birds, however, leave a recognizable so-called non-thermal
signature in the isotopic composition, which indicates that eggshell formation
happens very fast. Tagliavento: “We think this very high production rate is connected to the fact that
birds, unlike reptiles, have a single ovary. Since they can produce just one
egg at the time, birds have to do it more rapidly."
When comparing these results to Troodon
eggshells, the researchers did not detect the isotopic composition which is typical
for birds. Tagliavento is convinced: “This demonstrates that Troodon formed its eggs in a way more
comparable to modern reptiles, and it implies that its reproductive system was
still constituted of two ovaries."
The researchers finally combined their
results with existing information concerning body and eggshell weight, deducing
that Troodon produced only 4 to 6 eggs per reproductive phase. “This
observation is particularly interesting because Troodon nests are usually large, containing up to 24 eggs",
Tagliavento explains. “We think this is a strong suggestion that Troodon
females laid their eggs in communal nests, a behaviour that we observe today
among modern ostriches."
These are extremely exciting findings, Jens
Fiebig comments: “Originally, we developed the dual clumped isotope method to accurately
reconstruct Earth's surface temperatures of past geological eras. This study
demonstrates that our method is not limited to temperature reconstruction, it
also presents the opportunity to study how carbonate biomineralization evolved
throughout Earth's history."
Publication: Mattia Tagliavento, Amelia J. Davies, Miguel Bernecker, Philip T. Staudigel, Robin R. Dawson, Martin Dietzel, Katja Goetschl, Weifu Guo, Anne S. Schulp, François Therrien, Darla K. Zelenitsky, Axel Gerdes, Wolfgang Müller, Jens Fiebig: Evidence for heterothermic endothermy and reptile-like eggshell mineralization in Troodon, a non-avian maniraptoran theropod. PNAS (2023) https://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.2213987120
for download: https://www.uni-frankfurt.de/134845598
Artist's impression of two Troodons with a
common nest. Illustration: Alex Boersma/PNAS
Institute of Geosciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany.
Frankfurt Isotope and Element Research Center (FIERCE), Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany.
Institute of Applied Geosciences, Graz University of Technology, Austria.
Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Canada.
Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary, Canada.
Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, the Netherlands.
Deptartment of Earth Sciences, Universiteit Utrecht, the Netherlands
Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, USA.
Morrill Science Center, Amherst, USA
Department of Geology and Geophysics, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA
Thermometers for Earth history: "Dual clumped isotope" method for carbonate analysis (2020).
Institute for Geosciences
Dr. Mattia Tagliavento
Phone. +49 176 64735849
Professor Jens Fiebig
Phone: +49 (0) 69 798 40182
and Utrecht University, Leiden/Utrecht, The Netherlands
Twitter-Handles: @goetheuni @UUGeo @UMass
@UniGraz @WHOI @Naturalis_Sci @RoyalTyrrell @UCalgarySWC
Editor: Dr. Markus Bernards, Science Editor, PR
& Communication Office, Tel: -49 (0) 69 798-12498, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531, email@example.com.