New study shows the value of historical sediment collections | Curator of Micropalaeontology

A study published this week in Frontiers of Ocean Science based on our Ocean Bottom Deposits Collection has shown the value of  historical sediment collections to provide a benchmark to assess global changes in the seafloor environment.

Sediment bottles
A bottle from the Ocean Bottom Deposits Collection that is housed at our outstation.

Read on to find out how NHM/Southampton PhD student Marina Rillo used the microfossil content of these collections to develop a method to assess their usefulness in providing details of the state of the ocean floor as long as 150 years ago.

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The mystery of the microfossil Christmas cards | Curator of Micropaleontology

At this time of year our famous microfossil Christmas card slides always get a lot of attention. An article in Smithsonian Magazine this week followed a very popular Tweet in early December and perhaps the most famous of the slides is about to be displayed in Museum’s Touring Treasures exhibition in Bahrain in early 2019.

Christmas card slide
Arthur Earland foraminiferal Christmas card slide sent to Edward Heron-Allen in 1921.

This year, three additional Christmas greeting slides were added to our collection as part of an exceptionally generous donation by the Quekett Microscopical Club. They returned Arthur Earland’s foraminiferal collection to its place alongside long term collaborator Edward Heron-Allen’s collection at the Museum by purchasing the collection from the estate of Brian Davidson and donating it to the Museum.

Read on to find out why most of this new acquisition can be considered upside-down, contains more evidence of the two scientists falling out and the mystery of the three “new” Christmas greeting slides.

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Captain Scott’s rock from Antarctica an “open book” to a lost world | Curator of Petrology

Rock samples from Antarctica, collected by Captain Falcon Scott and his team during the British Antarctic Expedition otherwise known as the Terra Nova Expedition (1910 – 1913), are among the treasures of the Natural History Museum Petrology collection. A CT scan tells the story of a land, once warmer and rich in vegetation rather than the frozen and inhospitable Antarctica we know today.

Read on to learn about this rock in our collections, and the story it tells about this lost world. Continue reading “Captain Scott’s rock from Antarctica an “open book” to a lost world | Curator of Petrology”

A boy with a museum under his bed | Curator of Micropaleontology

Geode

When I was at school I had my own geological museum under my bed. Aged 6 I took some of the first specimens in my collection to school for show and tell. This summer term I found myself doing the same at my 7 year old son Pelham’s school (thank you Natasha for volunteering me). I took some specimens on loan from the Museum’s handling collection and some of my favourite specimens from my original collection.

Read on to find out about the specimen that’s been on TV, the rock that is much lighter than it looks and where in Hintze Hall you can come do your own Key Stage 2 revision on Geology.

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15 What’s the coolest dinosaur? | #NHM_Live

Join four Museum dinosaur experts as they each try to convince you that their favourite dinosaur is the best there ever was. It’s the ultimate dino face-off! What’s your pick for coolest dinosaur: the biggest, the quickest, the smartest, the fiercest? Or do you think a lesser-known species deserves a shot? Our scientists for this show were Susie Maidment, David Button, Paul Barrett and Tom Raven, and our host was Alastair Hendry.

Find out more about dinosaurs at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/dinosaurs.html

This recording of #NHM_Live was broadcast on 16 May 2018. If you enjoyed this podcast please subscribe, rate and review in iTunes. We will be live every month. Join us on 13 June and learn about the creatures who live in the dark of the deep oceans.

14 Who was Cheddar Man? | #NHM_Live

#NHM_Live returned for a brand-new series on 18 April. Watch the recording of the live show here.

Meet Museum scientists who studied Cheddar Man and who use DNA to learn about our ancient relatives. Prof Chris Stringer and Dr Selina Brace were in the studio to answer your questions.

 

Delve deeper and explore the story of Cheddar Man here: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/cheddar-man.  

If you enjoyed this podcast please subscribe, rate and review in iTunes. We will be live every month. Join us on 16 May when we will be talking about dinosaurs.

Unique samples in our collection from an island that disappeared | Curator of Petrology

Following my last post in the Curator of Petrology blog The island that disappeared, we take a closer look at the type of volcanic eruption that created the ephemeral island, the rocks produced by this type of eruption, and meet Empedocles – the submarine volcano that gave birth to Graham Island.

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Digitising Darwin’s Discoveries | Digital Collections Programme

3D Scanning Darwin's Fossil Mammals
3D laser scanning Darwin’s Fossil Mammals

In 2014, Professor Adrian Lister began research for his book on the fossils collected by Charles Darwin on the Voyage of the Beagle. As part of his research, Professor Lister began to document the complex histories of these specimens from their point of collection to the present day. It soon became clear that the mammalian specimens had not been adequately documented or revised in the 185 years since their initial publication. This has meant that they have not been included in most modern scientific studies. This is despite the fact that the majority of the specimens in this collection are ‘type’ specimens (the reference specimens for that species), essential for scientific study of these species.

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