Curator of Micropalaeontology | Diary of a Principal Curator June 2021

This year I’m writing a diary entry each month for a typical week in the life of a Principal Curator at the Natural History Museum. In the June entry, I provide my fingerprint and quote for an art project, review our sectional documentation, review a paper on the Downton Gorge in Shropshire, put together a grant proposal and have a late night call out to mitigate a leak threatening the collections.

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Angela Milner: a life in science

Museum palaeontologist Paul Barrett remembers his former colleague Angela Milner, who passed away earlier this month.

Dr Angela Milner (née Girven, b. 1947) was one of the most influential figures in the field of vertebrate palaeontology, with interests spanning 350 million years of Earth history. She spent most of her career at the Natural History Museum, London, joining its ranks as a curator in 1976 and rising through the organization to become Assistant Keeper of Palaeontology, a position that she held until retirement in 2009.

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Bringing conulariids to life | Earth Sciences Curator

Aperture of Conularia aff. cancellata from the Macrourus Limestone of Brandenburg (NHMUK PI CL 1325).

Conulariids are scyphozoans characterised by their pyramidal shapes, which have been found in more or less straight to weakly curved forms. More strongly curved periderms are more often to be found in long individuals (~15 cm +), as happens with recent scyphozoans, e.g. the polyps of Atorella, that are normally attached to the underside or the flank surfaces of a host and develop upwards as they grow longer.


Reconstruction of living conulariids. Courtesy of Enrique Sendino.

Werner was the first researcher to compare conulariids to coronates and believed the first conulariids were ancestors of coronates. His theory has been echoed in numerous papers by different researchers for over 50 years.

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Playing Top Trumps for Water Quality Month | Digital Collections Programme

We are currently digitising 75,000 freshwater insects belonging to three small orders. The presence of these groups can give us an idea about the water quality of the river they live in. As August is #WaterQualityMonth we thought this would be a great time shed some light on these orders of insects that you might not have heard much about before.

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Curator of Micropalaeontology | Diary of a Principal Curator May 2021

Nadine Gabriel

This year I’m writing a diary entry each month for a typical week in the life of a Principal Curator at the Natural History Museum. In the May entry, I receive a donation in the street outside the museum, we start a new project to put our digital collections on the map, become an Associate Editor for the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, watch myself give a conference presentation and facilitate the donation of my favourite rock type for the Urban Nature Project.

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Visualising the global WPY image collection – A 3D web experiment

http://static.nhm.ac.uk/wpy-globe-experiment/globe?tags= (NHM VPN required)

During lock down, I worked on a personal side project to progress my knowledge in web-based 3D interactive visualisations. I’d always been inspired by the global reach of the WPY images and the feelings they invoke when considering each image’s precious, far-flung environment and wanted to create something that helped capture that. I’d seen several impressive 3D globe and collection visualisations (e.g. https://artsexperiments.withgoogle.com/tsnemap/) and wanted to investigate how they implemented acceptable performance (load times and frame rate) as an online interactive collection viewer running on a range of devices, knowing enough about the web and 3D to understand the specialist approaches required.

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Maintaining Momentum on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion | Executive Director of Engagement

by Clare Matterson, Executive Director of Engagement

It is wonderful to have the Museum open again and to welcome visitors back to our galleries and gardens. Reopening has enabled us to reinstate and extend our provision for neuro-diverse audiences and better serve our local communities. At the same time, work has also continued apace behind the scenes to make our Museum and workforce as inclusive as possible.

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Data in action: museum collections provide evidence for protecting rainforests | Digital Collections Programme

Left: The woolly monkey (Lagothrix lagothicha) photographed by Evgenia Kononova via Wikipedia Right: The Scientific paper that inspired this blog.

In this blog, we’re looking at a recent paper that cited some of our data in investigating the conservation potential of protected areas of rainforest using data on the Woolly monkey (Lagothrix lagothricha).

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