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An underestimated Kevan

Stretham PliosaurJust over 60 years ago, in June 1952, the remains of a giant marine reptile known as a pliosaur were uncovered by a dragline excavator at Stretham, near Cambridge. At an estimated length of between 10 and 20 metres, the extinct predator was described in the local press as one of the biggest and most complete pliosaurs known. It hunted fish and squid-like extinct cephalopods known as belemnites in the 100 m deep seas, which had flooded over the British Isles in Late Jurassic times, around 155 million years ago. A history of the find, its rather botched recovery and the complicated story of various attempts at interpretation and classification has been published by a local geologist Dr Peter Hoare (Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association 126 (2015) 381-389
Read more here

Photo: The near complete hind paddle of the ‘giant’ Stretham pliosaur with individual bones numbered prior to removal from the Kimmeridge Clay. The 2m long fossil is now on display in the Sedgwick museum. (image archived SMES FRBS DDF Box 599)

Oesia – a new tube worm from deep Cambrian times

The discovery of new fossils of an ancient seabed dwelling hemichordate called Oesia, reveals clues about their deep ancestry which is shared with humans. Read the article here

'A party of stonebreakers': Discover the Sedgwick Club Archive online

The catalogue to the Sedgwick Club Archive is now available to discover online on the ‘Archives Hub’ – a gateway to the documentary heritage of over 300 academic institutions across the UK. Read the article here.

Dancing Dinosaurs

Scientists have found evidence of dinosaur behaviour which they say links them even closer to birds. Adam Page from Cambridge TV has been speaking to our Curator Dr David Norman to find out more. Watch the interview here.

Shackleton’s geologist - James Mann Wordie (1889-1962)

Hughes and Wordie

A hundred years ago, John Mann Wordie was one of Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition team rescued from Elephant Island, off the coast of Antarctica, following the sinking of their ship Endurance. Wordie (St John’s College 1910 – 62) was Shackleton’s geologist and although he never set foot on Antarctica he found an unusual source of geological information: stones found in penguin stomachs.

Dinosaurs on Cambridge TV

Dr David Norman talks all things dinosaurs on Cambridge TV - see the interview here

I is for Iggy the Iguanadon

One of the Museum's star objects, Iggy the Iguanadon, has received some new attention recently, being made a part of the University of Cambridge Animal Alphabet Series and our curator Dr David Norman being interviewed by Cambridge TV. For more information click here, and for the interview click here.



In a reversal of Shakespeare’s famous finale to his melancholic monologue on the ‘Seven ages of Man - sans teeth, sans eyes…’ a most ancient fossil, appropriately named Hallucigenia has now been found to possess teeth and eyes, albeit of a primitive kind. Read More...

A seasnake in the Thames Estuary 50 miles from London?

Fortunately, the evidence for seasnakes living 50 miles from London in the Thames Estuary is not something to worry about. The single backbone recently found on the foreshore of the Isle of Sheppey is 50 million years old and was washed out of the local London Clay deposits, which are of Eocene age. Read more...

Meteorite is 'hard drive' from space - by Simon Redfern

Pallasite meteorite

University of Cambridge Researchers have decoded ancient recordings from fragments of an asteroid dating back billions of years to the start of the Solar System.

The new picture of metallic core solidification in the asteroid provide clues about the magnetic field and iron-rich core of Earth.  Full press article here 

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For most people, the idea of finding old poo is disgusting, and the idea of dissecting it and sorting through it is even worse! Unless of course you’re a child of a certain age and the poo in question is dinosaur poo.

One of the questions most frequently asked by visitors to the Sedgwick Museum is what exactly are fossils and how do they form? This question also fascinated Agostino Scilla (1629-1700); an artist who lived in the Sicilian town of Messina during the 1600s. Scilla attempted to answer this question in his book La vana speculazione disingannata dal senso (Vain Speculation Undeceived by Sense), published in Naples in 1670.