Category Archives: Curators and researchers

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.

 

 

Dorothea Bate, pioneering palaeontologist and explorer in the early 20th Century | Library and Archives

Imagine travel with no need for a passport, no lengthy queues for security, no limits to baggage, and when passing through customs, you could happily note, ‘no questions asked about my gun’.

Portrait of Dorothea Bate in profile from the shoulders upwards.

Portrait of Dorothea Bate (published in Idök Volume 38, July 1932)

That, for the pioneering palaeontologist, Dorothea Bate, was the upside to travel in the early years of the 20th Century. It was by no means all positive, however. Travel by ship and train round Europe, not to mention journeying by a variety of ‘quads’ – donkey, mule and pony – over mountainous Mediterranean islands could be challenging, to say the least.

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The lost art of cheque writing, a treasure trove for researchers | Library and Archives

The art of writing a cheque is somewhat of a lost one these days, what with direct debits and online transfers revolutionising the way in which we pay our bills. However discovering a box of cheque book stubs within the remnants of the Tring Correspondence (in the Natural History Museum Archives) has given me a vital source of evidence for tracing the history and finances of the Natural History Museum at Tring.

A selection of cashbooks, cheque books and maps laid out on a table by the author during her visit to the public Library and Archives reading room. On the left are two piles (unknown quantity), sitting inside an archive box with the lid removed. To the right are approximately 16 others loosely distributed on the table. All relate to Walter Rothschild and Tring Museum, and come from the Natural History Museum Archives collection. Reference number TM3/1. The authors phone, pencil, readers pass, pencil pot and 'reading room requirements' place mat can also be seen on the table

A selection of cashbooks, cheque books and maps relating to Walter Rothschild and Tring Museum (NHM Archives TM3/1)

Within the box there are surviving cheque stubs for the years 1895 through to 1897, a key period in the museums history. Lord Walter Rothschild (1868-1937) had begun to employ staff, furnish and expand his museum and of course, buy large existing collections of specimens from other private collectors and smaller ones from natural history dealers and suppliers, in order to enhance his own rapidly growing collection of zoological specimens.

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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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Spitting feathers: causing a stir amongst the pages | Library and Archives

There are thousands of books in the Natural History Museum Library, covering the subjects of Zoology, Botany, Entomology, Ornithology and Earth Sciences. A book can often tell a story other than that originally published on its pages. This is the additional story written by one or more owners during its lifetime. Some people add a bookplate, record their name or dedication on the flyleaf when presenting to a loved one, others annotate text with comments or bookmark sections with ephemeral items such as tickets or receipts. Many in a collection such as the Museum Library include relevant additional information added by the owner such as newspaper cuttings, photographs and pressed specimens.

Photo of an ivory miniature portrait of Thomas Pennant from the right side, within an oval shaped medallion.

Thomas Pennant, miniature by Josiah Wedgwood. Image StephenCDickson, CC BY-SA 4.0

Edwin Rose has been using the Museum Library and Archives for research into his PhD. In this blog he highlights one such example, British Zoology by Thomas Pennant.

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05 Dinosaur world tour | #NHM_Live

We’re back with the first episode of series 2, featuring Paul Barrett discussing Dinosaur discoveries from around the world. Most species people are aware of are ones found in North America but dinosaurs have been found on every continent on Earth.

In the show we look at specimens such as Mantellisaurus, Megalosaurus, Giraffatitan and Stegosaurus and finds from Europe, Africa and Antarctica.

If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes. Better still join us live for the rest of series 2 this summer to ask your own questions of our scientist. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out the details of our next broadcast.

Series 2 trailer | #NHM_Live

There’s no episode this week but next week we’ll be bringing you the first episode of series 2.

Better still you can join us at 18.30 BST on Thursday 15 June to watch the show live and ask your own questions directly of our scientist. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out more.

Series 2 will include Neanderthals, dinosaurs, flies, moths, sharks and spiders so there’s lots to look forward to. If you’ve been enjoying this podcast please subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes, remember HD versions of these programmes are available to stream on our YouTube channel.