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09 Dippy about the whale | #NHM_Live

On 13 July 2017 the Museum unveiled Hope the blue whale, a spectacular 25-metre-long specimen suspended from the ceiling of the Museum’s central space, Hintze Hall.

Just after the BBC broadcast their Horizon documentary about the new installation, Dippy and the Whale, Richard Sabin, Principal Curator of Mammals, and Lorraine Cornish, Head of Conservation, joined host David Urry for a special #NHM_Live talking about the history, conservation and story behind Hope, direct from our new Whales: Beneath the surface exhibition.

If you are a resident of the UK and you missed Horizon: Dippy and the Whale, see it on BBC iPlayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08y3s55 until mid-August. If you are enjoying this #NHM_Live series please don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes.

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Butterflies and their sensational parasitoids | Digital Collections Programme

The Museum’s Sensational Butterflies exhibition is host to over 500 butterflies each year. Each morning, work in the Museum’s butterfly house starts two hours before the exhibition opens because it takes constant attention to maintain the ideal environment for these butterflies to flourish. One of the aspects that needs to be attended to is pest control.

an image of the sensational butterfly exhibition

Pest-free foliage in the Sensational Butterflies exhibition

One of the most significant pests that needs to be kept under control in the butterfly house are Aphids.

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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

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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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Written in bones: Deducing age and sex from skeletons | Human anthropology

 

Drawings of the human skull from Gray’s Anatomy (1858)

Drawings of the human skull from Gray’s Anatomy (1858)

Museum scientists are analysising a collection of human remains from London to learn more about the lives and deaths of  bygone Londoners . A central component of their work is to identify the age and sex of the people they are studying along with any diseases or other pathologies that they had. Here, Rosalind Wallduck explains how anthropologists estimate the age and sex of a deceased individual from their skeleton.

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Trauma in London | Human Anthropology

Adult male skull with a healed nasal fracture

Adult male from St George’s in the Borough with a healed nasal fracture

Although our bodies have an amazing ability to heal themselves evidence of trauma can still be seen in bones years after the incident occurred. Evidence of trauma is commonly found in archaeological remains and can often give us clues as the to the types of injuries people suffered from in the past.

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08 What have the flies ever done for us? | #NHM_Live

Fly expert Duncan Sivell and forensic entomologist Martin Hall were with host Camilla Tham discussing the many ways in which flies (and their maggots!) are important. From helping the police to identify time of death at a crime scene to pollinating many key crops – and even producing a Sardinian cheese – we’re more dependent on flies than you might imagine.

If you are enjoying this series, please leave us a review in iTunes as it really helps others find the feed. We will be back with more studio-based shows in August 2017 but over the next three weeks we’ll be bringing you a series of special events to celebrate the reopening of the Museum’s main space with its new displays, Hintze Hall. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out more details.

New book highlights archaeological and forensic applications of microfossils | Curator of Micropalaeontology

In June, a book was published highlighting the archaeological and forensic applications of micropalaeontology and a deeper understanding of human history. The Museum’s Tom Hill is one of the editors of this volume of papers, some of which feature contributions from museum staff and associates.

New_book_cover

Cover of a new book published in June by the Micropalaeontological Society on the application of micropalaeontology to archaeological and forensic studies.

Read on to find out how Museum scientists have provided evidence about the early human occupants of the British Isles, provenance materials used in ancient pottery and provided forensic evidence for drowning and murder. A brief review of other chapters in the book underlines the importance of the study of micropalaeontology.

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07 Fantastic mini-beasts and where to find them | #NHM_Live

This week we were out in our leafy grounds with Steph West of the Museum’s Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity. She talked to host David Urry about the wildlife in your gardens, from millipedes to stag beetles, and pond life to log life.

Steph will also be featuring in a BBC TV programme in the near future and we’ll have more news on that soon.

If you’re enjoying our this series of events, please leave us a review on iTunes or join us live on Facebook or Twitter to ask your own questions to our scientists.

The Miniature Lives Magnified project is now complete!

A very big thank-you to the 1,000-plus in-house Visiteers and online Volunteers who helped us to extract research data from over 6,000 microscope slides of the world’s smallest insects – the chalcid parasitoid wasps. The Miniature Lives Magnified project is now closed, but you can still take part in our Digital Collections Programme by helping us with our microscope slides of Foraminifera in Miniature Fossils Magnified.

Over the course of the summer we will be processing the chalcid collection’s specimen label data that was transcribed by our digital volunteers. It will become available on the Museum’s Data Portal for anyone in the world to study.

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Beauties and the beasts in the louse collection | Digital Collections Programme

1) Eagle Lice
Three large lice (Laemobothrion vulturis) taken from a greater spotted eagle available on the data portal

Our fantastic digitisers started working on the Museum’s parasitic louse (Phthiraptera) collection in early 2017 and are now over halfway through digitising the collection.

We have so far imaged >50,000 louse slides that are publically available through the Museum Data Portal. Continue reading

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.