BBC R4 Natural Histories- The Big Story

The Big Story brings Radio 4’s Natural Histories series to life on stage, re-imagining the popular BBC programme live in the Museum’s iconic Hintze Hall. Natural Histories has explored 25 different species and specimens across as many episodes, investigating the profound impact nature has had on Earth’s history. Join the Natural History Museum and their special guests – […]

The Universe Within

The aim of the talk ‘The Universe Within: A Scientific Adventure’ was, in Neil Shubin’s own words: “to investigate the common history of rocks, planets, and people”. Neil Shubin, author of the titular book …

Science Behind the Photo #44

Arizona Petrified Forest The badlands of Arizona, once thriving with lush forests of the Late Triassic, are now littered with the reminder of greener times. Beautifully preserved wood logs have withstood the test of time and given scientists a glimpse into the complexities of a palaeo ecosystem. 225 million years ago the scene was very […]

Did Humans Emerge “Out of Asia”?

The phrase ‘out of Africa’ has become synonymous with the concept of early primate – and by extension, human – evolution. However, recent research challenges this view, instead indicating that primates left Asia some tens of millions of years ago and colonised Africa, where they continued their evolution. The new findings, produced by an international […]

The Bone Wars

This article is taken from the Winter 2011 issue of I, Science. The story of 19th century palaeontology is one of personalities and conflicts as well as fossils. Sophie Buijsen investigates the rivalry that fuelled an unprecedented rush of discoveries. In the ground below us lies a world that, in recent centuries, has slowly started […]

Captain Scott’s 100-Year Legacy

Despite none of them making it home, the scientific legacy of Captain Scott and his team remains strong 100 years on. Here are just a few of the discoveries that can be traced back to Scott’s tragic Antarctic expedition. 2011 marks the 100-year anniversary of Robert Falcon Scott’s doomed quest to be the first to […]

Dinosaur fossil was a scrapper

Any kid who watched Jurassic Park through their fingers will be pleased to hear those Raptors sometimes got what was coming to them! The claw-like ‘toes’ on the Velociraptor contributed to it’s menacing demeanour, yet up until now their function was a mystery. After the discovery of a new species of Raptor in Utah, Scientists […]

Getting over the ‘Great Dying’

It’s not how you fail, it’s how you bounce back.  And while the end-Permian mass extinction may have been nature’s greatest failure, new evidence shows its recovery was even more impressive than we thought. Two hundred and fifty million years ago, life nearly died.  96% of marine species were lost, 70% of land vertebrates perished, […]

Carbon dioxide takes oceans’ breath away

If rising sea levels, ocean acidification, extreme weather, drought, food shortages and wars over water didn’t have you convinced, here’s one more reason why pumping large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is a really bad idea. One hundred and twenty million years ago, during the Cretaceous period when dinosaurs like iguanodon roamed the […]

Unseen Heroes of Science

Gideon Mantell (1790–1852) Mantell was a full-time medical doctor, but made some incredible contributions to palaeontology in his spare time. He was the first to correctly identify dinosaur fossils as giant reptiles and to describe Iguanodon, but was constantly fielding criticism from his rival, the founder of the Natural History Museum, Richard Owen. Eminent French […]

Giant Penguin Discovered in Peru

The dulcet tones of Morgan Freeman and the journey of the Emperor penguins warmed the hearts of millions following the release of March of the Penguins. However, the evolutionary trail of the species is equally as interesting. A new study, published in the journal Science, tells of the discovery of a ‘Giant Penguin’ fossil discovery with implications […]