The living corset-animals (loriciferans) are a remarkable group of miniscule, seabed dwelling creatures, which were first found in the 1980s. Now, the discovery by palaeontologists Tom Harvey and Nick Butterfield of the loriciferans’ deep ancestry in 490 million year old Cambrian strata is helping to rewrite the story of the Cambrian explosion of life and resolve what is known as Darwin’s dilemma. Read more here
Fossils of what may be the earliest four-legged backboned animals to walk on land have been discovered in Scotland.
The lizard-like creatures lived about 355 million years ago, when the ancestors of modern reptiles, birds and mammals emerged from swamps.
The discovery plugs a 15 million-year gap in the fossil record. Read more here
Dinosaurs have a fearsome reputation for their hunting abilities but less so when it comes to their intelligence. This is partly due to the fact that many species have long been thought to have had relatively small brains, their heads full of protective tissue that supposedly left little room for grey matter. But the recent discovery of the first recorded fossilised brain tissue could help challenge that image. Read more here
Just 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)
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
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.
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.
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.
Dr David Norman talks all things dinosaurs on Cambridge TV - see the interview here
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...
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...
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