A spectacular limestone that sparks creativity | Curator of Petrology

Specimens from the Museum petrology collection, known as Pietra paesina or “Ruin Marble” have inspired artist Julie Derbyshire to create unique works of art.

Pietra paesina Ruin marble
Pietra paesina specimen in one of the portholes in the Earth Galleries at The Natural History Museum, London.

 

Read on to find out more about Pietra paesina, how it formed, and how it inspired Julie’s artwork.

Continue reading “A spectacular limestone that sparks creativity | Curator of Petrology”

The island that disappeared – the fascinating story behind our specimens from Graham Island | Curator of Petrology

The NHM petrology collection holds more than 126,000 specimens of geological and historical importance. We take a look at some historically important volcanic rocks that illustrate the story of a diplomatic fight over an island that disappeared.

Graham_island_specimens
Volcanic specimens from Graham Island held in the NHM Petrology collection

Read on to find out more in this post by our Sicilian Petrology Curator Epi Vaccaro about how the island formed, why it disappeared and the international dispute that it caused. Continue reading “The island that disappeared – the fascinating story behind our specimens from Graham Island | Curator of Petrology”

12 The mighty megafauna | #NHM_Live

Joining host Alastair Hendry for the latest episode of #NHM_Live was Pip Brewer, Curator of Fossil Mammals, who showed off some of the fossil mammal specimens in the Museum’s collections and answered as many questions as she could about the largest land animals since the dinosaurs to pound the ground, including the American Mastodon, Mylodon and more.

If you enjoyed this podcast please rate and review us in iTunes. To hear more about our collections, follow @NHM_London on Twitter.

06 The Neanderthal within us | #NHM_Live

Is it really an insult to be called a Neanderthal? Our human origins expert, Chris Stringer, talked to Alison Shean about Homo neanderthalensis and their relationship with Homo sapiens while answering questions from the live audience throughout the broadcast. How did they live? What did they eat? To what extent did they interact with modern humans?

 

Subscribe to our podcast of #NHM_Live on iTunes or join us live every Thursday this summer to ask your own questions directly of our scientists. Find out more about the timings and dates of each broadcast by following the Museum on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

Sir David Attenborough unveils our latest acquisition | Curator of Petrology

A rare and intriguing example of sandstone known as a Gogotte, was generously donated to the Museum recently by Daniel Eskenazi and family in honour of Sir David Attenborough’s 90th birthday.

Gogotte_Eskenazi_Attenborough_Dixon
Daniel Eskenazi, Sir David Attenborough and Sir Michael Dixon at an event to celebrate the new donation. Photo © Dare & Hier Media Ltd / NHM London

Read on to find out more about how it formed, why we were presented it, why it is important and how we are using behind the scenes facilities to study it. Continue reading “Sir David Attenborough unveils our latest acquisition | Curator of Petrology”

Horrors of the Green Ground cemetery | Human anthropology

Crania from the Green Ground on Portugal Street
Crania from the Green Ground on Portugal Street

A team of Natural History Museum anthropologists have been digitising and analysing a collection human remains from London in order to learn more about the lives and deaths of people who lived in the capital.

While studying bones from a post-medieval cemetery known as the ‘Green Ground’ on Portugal Street, we dug deeper into the history of this cemetery.

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Syphilis in post-medieval London | Human Anthropology

Syphilitic lesions on a cranial fragment
Syphilitic lesions on a cranial fragment from London.

In the Natural History Museum’s collections there are a number of human remains from various sites throughout London. Many of these originate from post-medieval burial grounds which were closed in the 1850s. Although many of the bodies were moved to outer-London cemeteries, some were left behind. It is, therefore, not unusual to accidentally uncover post-medieval burials during building works in the capital.

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Filling in the gap: dental disease in past populations | Human Anthropology

Roman adult dental decay
Roman adult, probable female from Cannon Street with heavy dental calculus on right premolars and molars

Today many people, both children and adults, dread going to the dentist. Whether it’s the odd smells, the gritty taste of the polishing paste, or the fear of being told you need a root canal, most people find it to be an unpleasant experience. For me, however, as an Anthropologist who has seen just how bad dental health can be, I look forward to my dentist visits! It only takes looking at the teeth of people from the past to make me brush my teeth and floss everyday.

Continue reading “Filling in the gap: dental disease in past populations | Human Anthropology”