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.

Continue reading “Unique samples in our collection from an island that disappeared | Curator of Petrology”

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.

Continue reading “Digitising Darwin’s Discoveries | Digital Collections Programme”

The Marsh Awards 2017 – Winners announced! | Earth Sciences

The 2017 Marsh Awards for Mineralogy, Palaeontology and the Best Earth Sciences Book of the Year, run in partnership with the Natural History Museum, took place in the Flett Theatre of the Museum on 8 December 2017.

Winners 2017 Marsh Awards

The Marsh Christian Trust was founded in 1981 as a grant-making body by Brian Marsh. In addition to its grant-making, over the past 30 years the trust has developed an awards scheme to provide recognition to those who work to improve the world we live in.

Recipients of Marsh Awards are always people who make a difference by selflessly contributing their time and energy to causes that they believe in.

Continue reading “The Marsh Awards 2017 – Winners announced! | Earth Sciences”

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.

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.