Set in Stone. Table of Contents. The NHM Palaeontology Dept. Newsletter Autumn 2004, Vol. 2, No. 3 Newsletter

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1 Set in Stone The NHM Palaeontology Dept. Newsletter Autumn 2004, Vol. 2, No. 3 Newsletter Keeper Country: Museums of the Past, Museums of the Future O Table of Contents Keeper Country: Museums of the Past...1 A. P. Currant, Pers. Promotion...4 Research Roundup...4 Collections Management Update...8 Welcome: M. Sanchez- Villagra...10 Curry Lobby Opening...11 Spawning of Fossil Fish...11 Ethics, Dinosaurs, and Raquel Welch...13 Brazilian Fish Lineages...14 Rock and Pole...15 R. Owen s Birthday...17 Around the Dept...20 Dates to Remember...20 Look Away Now...21 Performance Indicators...21 New Publications...21 New Publications 13 Set in Stone is a publication of The Natural History Museum s Palaeontology Department which retains all rights to material appearing therein unless otherwise designated. All questions or comments on included material should be directed to: Dr. Norman MacLeod, Keeper of Palaeontology, Dept. of Palaeontology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, (0) , Publication Date: 15 October ne of Ambrose Bierce s more famous quotes is the observation that There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don't know.. I m often put in mind of this quote when I hear people talk about museums. With the possible exception of governments, it s difficult to think of an institution that is perceived to be in such constant need of re-invention. Fortunately, Eilean Hooper- Greenhill (Director of the Dept. of Museum Studies, University of Leicester) has just republished her 1992 book about the history and future of museums that has served as a welcome and provocative guide to the institution we all seem to think we know so well for over a decade. The book s title is Museums and the Shaping of Knowledge and in it Hooper-Greenhill takes issue with the canonical view of Museum history as a chronological compendium of events in the development of single institutions or individuals closely associated with one or more museums. This sort of history can never be more than a form of biography and usually lacks the analytic depth necessary to separate the noise of idiosyncratic happenstance (however interesting that might be) from the more constant signal that reflects the finely tuned interaction of an assemblage of institutions with each other and with the societies that produce them. In order to get at the latter, Hooper- Greenhill correctly in my view elects to perform a comparative contextual analysis focused on a series case studies from different periods of human social history. Using the effective history methods developed by the philosopher Michel Foucault, Hooper-Greenhill s goal is to understand museums by comparing the practices that were undertaken in their name and analyzing the rules under which these practices were considered acceptable and effective. Foucault, of course, is controversial within academic communities because of his advocacy of deconstructualism, which is based on the idea that fundamental concepts such as truth and rationality are social constructs that change from time to time and place to place. To some, this philosophy is no more onerous than saying it is inappropriate to judge the past by the standards of the present (or the present by the standards of the past), whereas for others, the work of Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and other deconstructualists represents a full frontal assault on the western intellectual tradition. Scientists have, for the most part, avoided the deconstruction wars that have rent the fabric of university life for much of the past twenty-years. Having witnessed some of the excesses of that revolution in the academe myself I felt a sense of trepidation once I realized what Hooper-Greenhill proposed to do in her book. However, I was quickly won over when I saw how well the method works when applied to understanding museum history and was amazed at the range of counter-intuitive insights into the nature of museums it yielded. If this is deconstructing museums, bring it on! Hooper-Greenhill opens her book with a chapter somewhat misleadingly titled What is a museum?.

2 2 Rather than answering this rhetorical question, the first chapter is a proper introduction in which she sets out her purpose and methods. To Hooper- Greenhill, a detailed understanding of museum history is important not only for gaining insight into their nature traditions, etc., but also because this history serves as the foundation upon which future developments in museum principles and practices must be based. Following Foucault, Hooper-Greenhill judges history to be composed of successive episteme which are defined as the unconscious, but positive and productive set of relations within which knowledge is produced and rationally defined (p. 12). Those who favor traditional social terminology may read Zeitgeist for episteme while those familiar with Thomas Kuhn s work on intellectual revolutions may prefer to think of them as paradigms. Foucault recognized three epistemes, the Renaissance, the classical (more commonly referred to as the Enlightenment), and the modern. Accordingly, Hooper- Greenhill s case studies are drawn from, and held to be representative of, each of these epistemes. The Renaissance museum is epitomized by Medici Palace in Florence in the late 15 th century. Here, Cosimo de Medici, his son Piero, and Piero s son Lorenzo built, expanded, and developed one of the first buildings devoted to what we would now call conspicuous consumption on a truly grand scale. This was the time of the archetypal cabinet of curiosities and the Medici Palace was a cabinet of cabinets with sumptuous living quarters for the collections managers. Unlike typical Medieval buildings of the time (which were furnished rather sparsely) the Medici Palace interior was filled with furniture, tapestries, paintings, statuary, books, storage cases for gold and jewels and all manner of rare objects. These were consciously collected by generations of the Medici family and descriptions written by visitors allude to the collection being used actively in the Medici family businesses. To begin her analysis Hooper-Greenhill asks why were these particular objects collected? Applying a modern rationale to this question one might answer simply that the Medicis were acquisitive and sought to store their wealth in objects as well as coin or bullion. But is this explanation adequate? Why did the Medici s collect such an wide array of objects. Why books as well as illustrative art? Why stone statuary which, unlike precious metals, cannot be melted down and recast as coin? The answer, according to Hooper-Greenhill, lies in the realization that the Renaissance episteme bore little resemblance to the modern episteme we are familiar with; so much so that the modern version cannot be used to provide much real understanding of this collection, why it was collected, and what use its owners made of it. As Hooper-Greenhill explains, Renaissance philosophy was centered on the idea of Similitude as a way of understanding relations between things. All things were assumed to be linked to all other things by signs. The Renaissance world was a world of signs that needed to be read and interpreted to deduce the basic structure of knowledge. Magic and the occult were real for Renaissance scholars who also made no fundamental distinction between words and objects. Legends, spells, hearsay were held to be as reliable as observations and experiments. The Medicis needed the knowledge their eclectic collection provided because, by helping to invent modern banking as an investmentbased activity, they were in the information business. Indeed, their banking and textile business empire stretched across Europe and was, in a sense, a forerunner of today s multi-national corporation. Then, as today, knowledge was power and you acquired knowledge by acquiring objects, studying their signs, and interpreting their relations to one another. There are many features of the NHM that harken back to this Renaissance museum concept. Perhaps the most obvious is the fact that, within these walls, we combine our collection of specimens with a world-class library and art collection. Indeed, if you look around the galleries and storerooms it won t be long before you run across statuary. Moreover, the Waterhouse building is a deeply evocative structure itself, designed to metaphorically represent its contents and tease out links to one another that make little sense in the light of modern biological knowledge, as well as to house them. More surprising still is the realization that the purpose of the Renaissance museum was to assemble a model, or microcosm, of the world that could be queried to gain a deep understanding and appreciation of the macrocosm. Note the similarity between this concept and our newly stated and entirely appropriate move to focus on biodiversity issues and operate our collections as a large-scale biodiversity model. Similitude, however, fell from fashion in the beginning of the 1600s under the combined pressure of specimens flooding into Europe from hitherto unexplored parts of the world due to the rise of global trading empires, and the endless cycling of sign-based interpretation that failed to provide a single, coherent, and authoritative representation of the world. Hooper-Greenhill s type classical museum is the Repository of the Royal Society, set up shortly after the society s founding in 1600 to support its scientific work, provide a space for conducting experiments, and so forth. In this classical age the point of collecting was no longer to look for the signbased similarities that linked all things to one other, but to discriminate objects from one another through measurement or, when measurements proved too difficult, by ordering them relative to one another in a one-dimensional taxonomy. This represented a conceptual shift from studying objects by analogy to analysis and, in effect, resulted in a paring back of the criteria that could be used to judge similarity. In practice the only evidence that counted with classical scholars was visual evidence. Under this episteme the practice of subdividing of previously unified collections into natural collections (later sub-subdivided into zoological collections, botanical collections, etc.) and artificial or art collections made sense for the first time. Institutional reorganization and specialization, of course, followed. A strong rationale for completing collections was also manifest. While, on the whole,

3 3 this epistemic shift can be portrayed as a step forward, it also had its downside. To observe in the classical age was equated with seeing and seeing only a small number of things (characteristics) in highly systematized way. In the classical museum, objects that had formerly been displayed together to make a larger statement about the macrocosm were now displayed apart and arranged in such a way as to emphasize a limited number of group-forming correspondences and (more often) groupdistinguishing differences. On the linguistic front, the work of the Repository was also closely linked with efforts to develop a universal language that would be a more direct, simple, and regular way for (first) scholars and (later) all people to exchange ideas. Much more than a simple written text, the goal of this universal language was to be knowledge with each character denoting the thing it referred to. Couple this with the strongly visual-centered aesthetic of classical thought and the universal language becomes Foucault s speaking eye. Of course, the NHM remains very much this classical museum; especially in the context of its scientific work; a point that is celebrated by Hooper-Greenhill. Today we have many more ways of rendering the invisible visible, especially through the use of digital technology. Nevertheless, this same technology remains faithful to the classical idea of mathematizing the world insofar as modern computers, with all their graphic user interfaces and digital imaging capabilities, remain nothing more than very fast, very efficient, calculating machines. But what was the fate of the classical museum? In Hooper-Greenhill s view it collapsed under the weight of its unattainable goal and the mismatch between the resources society made available vs. those required. The once compelling idea of completing its collection receded into a fondly remembered fantasy as the true scope of biodiversity became evident. The failure of its aspirations became even more obvious on the financial side. Because the Royal Society was a private foundation it depended on gifts and bequests of specimens from wealthy patrons instead of the targeted and comprehensive real-time collection programmes needed to assemble a truly comprehensive collection. Also, as the universal language movement founded after 1750, the link between the collection and this research programme was severed causing the collection to fall even more quickly into neglect. In 1779 the collection was offered to the British Museum, ostensibly for reasons of a lack of space, but really because the episteme under which its maintenance make sense had changed. The modern sciences of the 19 th century were more concerned with why questions, not just with what. In addition, these modern scientists understood that resemblance was more complex than could be represented by the onedimensional classical taxonomies. Thus, many of the practices of the classical museum lost their meaning and were discontinued. I won t go on to describe Hooper-Greenhill s modern case study, or her recommendations for using her results to devise new roles for museums of the future. These insights are reserved for those who take the time to read her book. I also don t want to oversell the book. There are interpretational problems and oversights. For example, Hooper-Greenhill more-or-less completely ignores the struggle between museums and universities as the centers of academic research, a competition that museums had lost by the mid-1920 s After all, James Smithson instructions that his money be used to increase and diffuse knowledge, said nothing about establishing a museum. A museum was established in his name because, in 1846, museums were where research was carried out. Who believes that a similar bequest would be given by a government to establishing a research-focused museum today? My purpose, instead, has been only to supply a sketch of the unexpected insights Hooper-Greenhill has managed to produce by applying genuine analysis to the problem of understand museum history. Does institutional history matter for those struggling to keep pace with the here and now? I think so. Few can gain the experience needed to come to grips with complex institutions like museums directly, and those like Hooper-Greenhill who do, do so because of the variety and depth of their experiences. Most of us who work in museums pass our time in a part of a single institution or a single type of museum. As a result, we see the institutional story from only one point-of-view and at only one time. The task of drawing the various threads of museum experience together and integrating them with experiences from outside the museum sector to discern what is truly new under the museum sun is not so easy apprehended. It s a research area in its own right and needs to be approached using all the tools at one s disposal, just as one would any other research-based discipline. If we are going to engage in the task of re-inventing this museum and if the research, business and educational worlds are anything to go by a continuous re-invention is required we need to be sensitive to those practices that resonate with the sociopolitical rationales of museums, that acknowledge the presence of all three (possibly four) types of museums in our own institution, and that combine those resonances in new and exciting ways throughout the many activities we undertake. To be sure, hard work, experience, and raw creativity count. But so does an appreciation and respect for history and the insights of specialist museum historians. If you re interested in museums, read this book. You ll find it its provocations informative and enjoyable. Norman MacLeod Keeper of Palaeontology

4 4 Andrew P. Currant, Personal Promotion he awards just keep rolling in. This time it s my pleasure to report that our own Andy Currant has received a prestigious NHM Personal Promotion in honor of his long, innovative, and highly recognized service, not only to this institution, but to the cause of natural history in Britain. Best known for his work with Pleistocene mammals, Andy is a natural history polymath, always ready and willing to try out a new method, take on a new student, or get involved in a new project (e.g., AHOB). Those projects often take him out of the Museum usually either to a cave, an exotic foreign locale, or to another museum where he often spends as much time helping the local curators sort out their collections and display problems as he does collecting the data he went there for in the first place. Andy is also no stranger to the media, and may be seen doing all manner of strange things, always with a serious natural history rationale, on such popular television programmes as Extreme Archaeology and Time Team. Few museum staff have packed and continue to pack as much work and sheer joy into a career as Andy (his current staff photo [above] notwithstanding). He s an inspiration to all who know him and very deserving of this award. Well done! Research Roundup T Norman MacLeod Keeper of Palaeontology he last issue of Set in Stone did not include research news so there is much to report about the activities of staff over the past few months. The Conference Circuit T Summer 2004 has been a bumper conference season in the international circuit, from Beijing to Brno. Paul Kenrick, in collaboration with J. C. Vogel, H. Schneider, and M. Gibby, organised an international symposium on ferns that was held at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh (12-16 July 2004). Ferns, and closely related plants such as club mosses and horsetails, collectively known as pteridophytes and more recently as "seed-free" vascular plants, have existed as recognisable groups for over 400 million years. Renowned for their diverse morphology, yet comparatively conservative body plans as well as their lengthy history, ferns present unique opportunities for investigating a very broad range of phenomena. This international meeting was structured around six thematic symposia: Systematics and Macroevolution, Ecology and Floristics, The Fossil Record, Speciation and Microevolution, Whole Genomics, and Development and Structure. There were also two workshops dealing with Herbaria and the Dating of Fern Radiations. Paul chaired the fossil record symposium and gave an oral presentation. Jon Todd attended the 5 th International Symposium on Tropical Biology at the Museum Koenig, Bonn, Germany (2-6 May 2004) and contributed to three papers: a presentation on recent advances in estimating species diversity within Lake Tanganyika s endemic gastropod radiations, a co-authored presentation with Ellinor Michel (NHM Dept of Zoology) comparing and contrasting the gastropod species radiations between the two oldest and largest of the East African rift lakes: Malawi and Tanganyika, and a co-authored presentation with Martin Genner (University of Hull) on the mitochondrial DNA analysis of a gastropod radiation in Lake Malawi. Richard Fortey gave the first public airing of a new idea about a global warming episode preceding the well-known end-ordovician glaciation and extinction event at a conference in Erlangen, Germany, (31 August - 4 Sept.) with his attendance sponsored by The Royal Society. Paul Barrett presented a review of Chinese Jehol biota at the 19 th International Congress of Zoology in Beijing in August and then rushed back to participate in this year's British Association meeting in Exeter with a presentation looking at how dinosaurs have been portrayed in the media (see article in this issue). At this same meeting, Paul Taylor stood in for an absent contributor at short notice and delivered a talk about Beringer s lying stones [Note: see Paul s new web page on Fossil Folklore at /fossilfolklore/]. Lionel Cavin provided one presentation at the 2 nd Meeting of the European Association of Vertebrate Palaeontologists held in July in Brno, Czech Republic, and another at the 52 nd Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy (SVPCA) meeting at the University of Leicester in September. Both presentations reported on joint research activities with Peter Forey. The first concerned a review of Cretaceous bony fishes while the second discussed a link between fluctuations in fish diversity and fluctuations in sea temperature in the Cretaceous. Several other staff participated in the SVPCA meeting. Paul Barrett presented a paper titled The `extant phylogenetic bracket' (EPB): a panacea for palaeobiological reconstruction?; Sandra Chapman presented two posters, the first concerning the history and development of the type specimen of the Wealden armoured dinosaur Hylaeosaurus armatus (co-authored with David Gray). The second (with Jeff Liston, Hunterian Museum, Glasgow), highlighted the collection of Alfred Leeds with a view to providing, in the near future, a lasting testament to the importance of his life's work to British Palaeontology. Jerry Hooker presented a paper entitled A new primate from the English Early Eocene: implications for intercontinental dispersal. Marcelo Sanchez talked about Postcranial development and the marsupial-placental dichotomy. Stig Walsh, Norm

5 5 MacLeod, and Mark O Neill (University of Newcastle) presented preliminary results of a project using the DAISY automated image recognition system (currently in development in the Department) to test levels of intraspecific variability of the tarsometatarsus and humerus in modern penguin bones. The reliability of these bones (commonly used as holotype material for fossil penguins) for identifying species of penguin is poorly known. DAISY was able to find discrete groupings of at both generic and specific levels, suggesting that use of these elements probably is justified for the erection of new taxa. In addition to his contribution to SVPCA, Stig presented this work on the penguin fauna from the Miocene-Pliocene Bahía Inglesa Formation of Northern Chile at the 6 th Society of Avian Palaeontology and Evolution (SAPE) meeting in Quillan, France, later in September. As many as five species appear to be represented at this site, making it one of the most diverse penguin assemblages in the world. A recently recovered partial skeleton from Pliocene sediments of the formation demonstrates that a very large species of the sub-antarctic genus Pygoscelis (Gentoo, Adeliae and Chinstrap penguins) was living in the sub-tropics during the Neogene. This occurrence suggests the presence of colder waters off the northern Chilean coast than those of today, and indicates that the current post-glacial distribution pattern of the family is a poor estimate of former species range. Both conference presentations will be published in the forthcoming Oryctos SAPE conference volume. Marcelo Sánchez attended the 7 th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology in Boca Raton, Florida, at the end of July 2004 and previewed his SVPCA talk (see above) in a Symposium entitled Evolution of Developmental and Reproductive Patterns in Mammals. Chris Stringer is challenging again for the most conferences attended and talks given departmental award, but has some stiff competition this year. In July Chris presented a summary of the AHOB project at The Royal Society New Fellows Seminar explaining that the interplay of changing climate and geography provided the main control over early human settlement of Britain, giving a pattern of repeated colonisations and local extinctions through the later Pleistocene. Ongoing research suggests that the human occupation recorded at Boxgrove (c. 500,000 years ago) was not the earliest in Britain, that early Neanderthal populations suffered population decline during successive later Middle Pleistocene interglacial intervals, and that this culminated in their complete absence during the last interglacial. Also in July, Chris presented a talk on Neanderthal extinction at the Round Table Meeting Neanderthals and Modern Humans Meet? in Blaubeuren and Tübingen, Germany. Neanderthals disappeared about 30,000 years ago, but the factors behind their demise remain fiercely debated. Many explanations have centred on the direct impact of modern humans on the Neanderthals and the former s superiority. With improved dating of their last known appearances and the availability of rich palaeoclimatic records, it has been possible to examine the period of Neanderthal extinction in more detail, leading to new hypotheses involving palaeoclimatic or palaeoecological factors. Chris s contribution, based on collaborative work from the Stage 3 Project, presented modelled data for the effect of millennialscale climatic oscillations on the Neanderthals, suggesting that cumulative climatic stress could have played an important part in their extinction. In August Chris presented a paper titled Genes, behaviour and human origins for the Calpe (Gibraltar) Conference Perspectives on Human Origins where he argued that the special role of Africa in recent human evolution may have been related to its larger human population size, giving greater opportunities for innovations to both develop and be conserved, rather than the result of unique evolutionary pathways, perhaps based on mutations affecting cognition. Regular bottlenecking in human evolution did not just remove genes, but also discoveries and inventions associated with the human populations concerned. Perhaps uniquely in Africa, factors such as increasing human survivability and the growth of symbolism, larger social networks and population size itself could have passed a threshold that allowed behavioural change to accelerate. Late August/early September saw Jeremy Young, Craig Koch, and Sebastian Meier (EU Marie-Curie post-doc) presenting research talks and posters at the International Nannoplankton Association (INA) conference in Lisbon, the International Conference on Palaeoceanography in Biarritz, and a one-day meeting on Protist Evolution at the Linnean Society. In addition, Sudeep Kanungo (PhD student NHM/UCL) was awarded a prize for best student talk at the INA Lisbon conference for his presentation titled A significant palaeoclimatic/palaeotemperature shift around the mid-/late Albian boundary in the Gault Clay Formation, Folkestone, SE England. Last, but by no means least, Keeper Norm MacLeod participated in an NSF review panel for the CHRONOS Project in Ames, Iowa during early August (not really a conference, but papers were presented and it doesn t fit anywhere else), came back to London for a week, and then hit the road again to Florence, Italy where he attended the 32 nd International Geological Congress. While there Norm delivered two invited presentations the first, entitled Use of shape models and morphometrics in paleobiological systematics, in the symposium Computer techniques in the modelling and analysis of biological form, growth and evolution, and the second, entitled A statistical evaluation of the association between LIP volcanism and extinctionintensity peaks over the last 250 m.y,, in the symposium Large igneous provinces (LIPs). In July Norm and Stig Walsh also received approval for organizing a symposium entitled Algorithmic approaches to the identification problem in systematics. This symposium, which is sponsored jointly by the Systematics Association and the NHM, will be the first of its kind and seeks to gather together all of the major research groups currently working on the problem of developing machinevision and artificial intelligence-based computer

6 6 systems to identify biological species based on digital information (mostly images, but conceivably sounds, smells, tastes(?) anything). The purpose of this symposium is to provide researchers and students working or studying any area of systematics with an opportunity (1) to learn about current trends in quantitative approaches to the group-recognition problem, (2) to become familiar with the capabilities of various software systems currently available for identifying systematic objects/groups and (3) to evaluate various applications of this technology to present and future systematic problems. The symposium will be held in August 2005 at the Natural History Museum. A web page detailing plans for the symposium is available at /hosted_sites/paleonet/aaips_symposium/ Research in Progress Paul Barrett spent most of August in Beijing and Nanjing collecting data for his ongoing revision of Chinese prosauropod dinosaurs, the first two parts of which will hopefully be finished by the end of the year. Lionel Cavin is finishing a paper about the evolution of Mesozoic lungfishes, based on some interestingly articulated material form Thailand (Mesozoic lungfishes are usually represented only by their tooth plates). He continues to work with Peter Forey on testing the congruence between the phylogenetic splitting of fish clades and the break-up of Pangaea during the Mesozoic. Peter is nearing completion of the description of a mean-looking ancient relative of Amia (the bowfin) that revels in the name of Tomognathus and is continuing his work on fossil herrings. In between there were short diversions to historical figures and fake fishes. Martha Richter is currently working on Early and Late Permian fish remains from the Paraná Basin in Brazil. The material from the Early Permian, mostly lower actinopterygian fish comes from the Rio do Sul Formation, interglacial marine deposits. The Late Permian remains comprise sharks, bony fish, and lobe-finned fish from storm deposits of shallow seas highly influenced by fresh waters. Also on the South America scene Marcelo Sánchez is co-supervising two post-graduate students in Brazil, one from University of São Paulo, working on fossil lungfish (Late Permian) and one at the Goeldi Museum in Belém (Tertiary sharks). Back in Europe Marcelo s master students at University of Tübingen, successfully completed theses in June 2004: Linda Wurst s entitled Development of autopodials in chelid turtles, and Simone Schmid s entitled Diversity and morphometry of autopodials in caviomorph rodents. Marcelo spent three weeks in Japan in August funded by the Kyoto University Foundation. This was the last of a series of museum visits collecting data for a comprehensive cladistic analysis of relationships among moles (talpids) of the world. There are many species of moles in Japan, including some rare ones that look more like shrews. This project is of particular significance because it can provide a phylogenetic framework for planned developmental work and because it will address some biogeographic questions concerning exchange between Eurasia and North America. There are more than 40 species of recent moles distributed in all northern continents, and there are questions about biogeography and the evolution of digging lifestyles that a phylogeny would address. In May, Louise Humphrey, Lorraine Cornish, and Chris Stringer, together with Nick Barton (University of Oxford) visited the Institut National des Sciences de l Archéologie et du Patrimoine, in Rabat, Morocco as part of an ongoing NERC/EFCHED project: Environmental factors in human evolution and dispersals in the Upper Pleistocene of the western Mediterranean (Fig. 1). The main purpose of this visit was to undertake preliminary study and conservation of a recently excavated human burial from Hattab 2 Cave in Northern Morocco. The skeleton is almost complete, but is heavily cemented with a thin surface concretion covering and partially obscuring most of the bones. The skull shows beforedeath loss of both upper central incisors with almost complete remodelling of this area of the jaw prior to death. Deliberate and presumably ritualistic removal of the incisors was common in the Iberomaurusian people who inhabited North West Africa in the Late Upper Palaeolithic. The pattern seen at Hattab 2 is the same as that shown by many individuals from the rich site of Taforalt, which is also being excavated as part of the project. Grave goods found with the Hattab 2 skeleton are also characteristic of the Iberomaurusian period. In addition, this visit provided an opportunity to study earlier human fossils from Morocco held at the Musée Archéologique de Rabat including two Middle Palaeolithic skulls from Jebel Irhoud and an Aterian skull from Dar es Soltan. Figure 1. Chris Stringer studying the Dar es Soltane skull at the Musée Archéologique de Rabat undeterred by the distraction of a tea break. Photo by L. Humphrey. Jon Todd continued his joint work on gastropods from Lake Malawi. A recently submitted muli-author paper (with Martin Genner, Hull University; Ellinor Michel, NHM, Dept Zoology; and three others) described how a variety of techniques have been used to understand high sympatric morphological diversity within a genus of small, sediment-eating snails in Lake Malawi. Thirty-eight species of Mela-

7 7 noides have been described from the lake, mostly during the 19 th century based solely on shell characters. However, in the most recent attempted revision, only five are recognized, most having fallen as synonyms of a hyper-variable M. polymorpha the name says it all. Two genetic techniques: analyses of Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) markers and mitochondrial DNA (COI), together with shell morphometrics, reveal that M. polymorpha consists of a large number of clones, the clade reproducing solely or dominantly by parthenogenesis. Each clone or morph shows distinct shell morphology, permitting the genetic clades living intermixed in the same stretch of muddy shoreline to be easily separated. A number of important issues have emerged from this work, of which just two are briefly mentioned. For biodiversity and conservation purposes it is very important that we understand the difficulties inherent in measuring species diversity in clonal snail clades. Evidence exists that in a related species, Melanoides tuberculata, very rare mating events between members of two distinct morphs may give rise to a new morph a process analogous to species origination through hybridization of traditional biological species. So, at one extreme we may infer M. polymorpha to comprise a single biological species comprising partially reproductively isolated populations between which mating is infrequent, while at the other each morph can be considered a species/microspecies/evolutionarily significant unit (ESU), particularly under a phylogenetic species concept. From a pragmatic conservation-focused viewpoint, the choice may depend on what seems to be most useful in the larger context of preserving the threatened endemic biota of Lake Malawi. Lastly, as for interpreting the good and growing palaeontological record, it is mixed news. A one-to-one correspondence between shell form and genetic clades is consistent with that emerging from Jon Todd and Tim Rawling s study of the hyper-diverse marine snail Polystira. The bad news? Many of the systematically informative characters reside in shell ornamentation and colour patterns and little in overall shell shape alone. Of course, colour patterns are infrequently preserved in the snail fossil record. Therefore, getting at fossilisable systematic characters in this genus will demand that shell ornamental characters be identified, assessed, and coded as biological homologues. Most of John Richardson s research is directed to the Devonian Old Red Sandstone. A manuscript on the Lower Old Red Sandstone spore zonation of South Wales, Herefordshire and Shropshire is in preparation. Correlation has revealed patterns of spore distribution contributing to knowledge of the distribution of cryptospore-bearing and miosporebearing land plants in alluvial sediments. A second project, with Dianne Edwards (University of Cardiff) is planned on parts of the Late Pridoli interval of geological time plants and spores from South Wales. If successful this would fill the only major gap in a continuous spore/plant record for the Anglo- Welsh Region. At the other end of the Devonian spectrum, the age and origin of poorly sorted sedimentary deposits termed diamictites from the upper Famennian of New York State and Pennsylvania (USA) is being studied in conjunction with Don Woodrow (US Geological Survey), and D. Sevon (Pennsylvania Geological Survey), and V. Avkhimovich (formerly Oil/Gas Institute Minsk). Last May s fieldwork in Pennsylvania and New York State revealed interesting sphere-like bodies in an poorly sorted sedimentary rock exposure. Further geochemical and palynological analyses are underway. All these diamictites have the same palynological age and extend through eastern Pennsylvania into Maryland. Fieldwork Patience rewarded Andy Currant reports a new and exciting discovery from Kent which has a long history of important and interesting Pleistocene mammal finds going back well over 300 years. This is the chance discovery of a well-preserved woolly rhinoceros tibia found in silt and gravels overlying Weald Clay at a depth of about 4.5metres on the site of Riverfield Fish Farm, Marden just south of Maidstone. Simone Wells recognized the bone as being something well above average when an enquiry came in from Simon Hughes, owner of the farm, and she and Andy went down to look at the site, confirmed the find, and collected associated environmental samples. The tibia (one of the leg bones) was considered to be significant for at least two reasons. Firstly, we don t have a complete woolly rhino tibia in the collections, so Mr. Hughes and his family kindly consented to the donation of their find. Secondly, the bone shows a very minor amount of damaged caused by gnawing with the pattern of damage being entirely consistent with the work of hyaenas. During the middle part of the last Pleistocene cold stage, when spotted hyaenas and woolly rhinos coexisted in Britain, hyaena gnawing resulted in very heavy damage to almost all the known woolly rhino fossils. The spotted hyaena is one of the few mammals that can efficiently digest bone. To find a woolly rhino bone dating from this period with only very minor hyaena damage is really quite unusual. Better still, the site of the new find lay within about five kilometers of one of the very few recorded hyaena dens in southeast England, well within the known hunting range of a modern hyaena pack. In 1827, remains of spotted hyaena and several other mammals were found among cambered blocks of Lower Cretaceous Hythe Beds in the old quarries at Boughton Monchelsea. Some of these finds went to the Geological Society of London and are now in the British Geological Survey Museum at Keyworth in Nottinghamshire. Nothing has been done with the Boughton material for at least 150 years, so Andy is planning to take another look at it sometime soon and review the identifications, get the new woolly rhino tibia radiocarbon dated, and write the two sites up with a few

8 8 observations on their age, landscape setting and palaeoecology. Being able to get access to welldocumented material found so long ago, and reinterpret it in the light of new data, is one of the many benefits that come from maintaining museum collections. Venezuelan Venues Marcelo Sánchez conducted fieldwork in Venezuela in June 2004, supported by the National Geographic Research Fund. A plethora of new fossils from a late Miocene locality were found. The main area of exploration (and a lucky discovery) was Urumaco, the same one that produced a giant rodent Marcelo has already worked on. Among the discoveries made by Marcelo and Venezuelan colleagues included crocodile skulls, several new species of sloths, whale bones, turtle shells and skulls, and snakes. An exciting discovery was what must have been a beach, full of clusters of eggs, presumably of turtles. Preservation at this site is not very good, but the diversity of the fauna and its geographic location makes it unique and relevant to address some biogeographic questions. The last few months have seen the Department bedding down after all the upheavals associated with the Building Refurbishment Project (BURP) of the last two years. Displaced collections and other materials have been gradually filtering back from their temporary repositories to where they belong in the Department. With this return to normality, and with the knowledge of the imminent growth of the collections (perhaps just a bit inspired by the manoeuvrings accomplished during BURP), we have been turning our minds to the way in which we manage the collections and the storage areas they occupy. A recent visit to Wandsworth by collections managers and curators resulted in some very creative and constructive thinking about how we can best develop its potential to become a more appropriate and efficient collections store. Efficient use of storage demands appropriate equipment for handling specimens and collections. With this in mind, we have increased our Fork Lift Truck handling squad from one to five (Fig. 1). Clive Jones had been our sole qualified user of the 2.5 tonne capacity forklift. But after a two-day training course in August, he was joined by Andy Currant, David Gray, Caroline Hensley, and Andy Ross. Congratulations to them all on getting their certificates. Ocean cruises There has also been useful field activity recently in the area of coccolithophore research. In June Jeremy Young and Craig Koch (PhD student) participated in a geological research cruise of the RV Marion Dufresne. This cruise was focused on retrieving high-resolution records of the Late Quaternary from the NW European continental margin in order to study the interaction of the British ice sheet during Heinrich Events. A superb set of cores was recovered which promise to yield excellent results as they are worked up over the next couple of years, including detailed taxonomic study by Craig. In addition, the opportunity was taken to collect planktontow samples throughout the cruise, preliminary examination of these has already yielded much data on the biogeographic distribution of recently recognised pseudo-cryptic species. Collections Management Update Angela Milner Associate Keeper Figure 1. Forklift truck training. Any such work at Wandsworth will unquestionably involve the staff of the Palaeontology Conservation Unit (PCU) who were already planning more detailed environmental monitoring of this extensive store. In addition, the PCU s actively pursued research topics (reported on below) will greatly enhance the range of options they have for treating specimens in our care. Chris Collins (PCU Head), describes three areas of active research: Since the publication of the last Set in Stone, the Palaeontology Conservation Unit (PCU) has further developed a number of its cooperative research projects. Most of these projects, apart from our preparation research, are inter-museum initiatives with other conservation or conservation research groups. The work, while apparently broad, is focusing on the use of lasers in the conservation of natural history objects (led by Lorraine Cornish), and the use of anoxic or reduced anoxic environments to effectively manage deterioration in museum objects (led by Chris Collins). Both projects continue to support our overriding priority of developing research techniques that minimise the amount of interventive work needed to stabilise museum specimens. Laser Cleaning Following a grant from an American donor, the London Laser Group has been forging ahead with

9 9 plans for creation of a London Laser Consortium web site plus training and a workshop in laser cleaning. The Unit jointly owns a laser with, The Tate, The Victoria and Albert Museum, and Imperial College. Co-operative work has also been undertaken with City and Guilds. Unit staff are currently focusing on two areas within the natural history field, the cleaning of mercuric sulphide from older herbarium specimens and the removal of conductive coatings from microfossils that have been coated for SEM work. Reduced Oxygen Environments Following the successful NOOX3 conference jointly organised by the British Library and the NHM, a joint anoxic group has been established between ourselves, the British Library, the British Museum and The Tate. As part of the consortia the PCU is continuing its work on the characterisation of Figure 2. Scanning electron micrograph of an ESCAL barrier film section polymers used to manufacture barrier films for the food and packaging industry. Museums are increasingly using techniques adapted from the packaging industry to store specimens for long periods in passive microenvironments that can (cost-effectively manage the stability of an object. The PCU is currently developing a research programme with Renishaw PLC, with whom it is undertaking Raman analysis of barrier films. We are also working with Imperial College Materials Science Department, and the NHM EMMA facility using a range of techniques including Fourier transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Energy-Dispersive X- ray fluorescence (EDX) and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) to characterise these polymers. Recent research has focused on the composition of benchmark barrier films such as Escal manufactured by Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals Ltd. (Fig. 2) The PCU is now exploring the commercial opportunities that are developing from this work in the analysis of polymers and the development of new laminates. Papyrus Figure 3. Egyptian papyrun (c. 500 AD) showing a clearly defined structure One of the research areas that has developed from the anoxic work undertaken by PCU staff has been a review of the storage of often double-sided objects such as papyrus. Working with the British Library and the EMMA facility in the Mineralogy Department, we have started to look at both the design of thin enclosures for displaying and storing fragile materials, as well as the stability of the materials stored in these enclosures. The PCU has recently undertaken work with EMMA to look at the change in structure of papyrus through time. Papyrus is known to off-gas various salts and fatty residues through time. Unit staff, along with conservators from the British Museum and the British Library, have been characterising these decay products. Early research that has looked at papyrus from 500 BC and 600 AD indicates a marked structural change linked to manufacturing process, preparation, and age (Figs 3 and 4). Fats and residues have been analysed with further FTIR work planned to characterise the oily residues. Blashka Glass Models Figure 4. Egyptian papyrun (c. 600 BC) showing brittle failure and collapse of cell structure. Figure 5. Blashka glass model of a deep-sea squid. In addition to these projects, joint research is being taken forward on the Blaschka glass models (Fig. 5). The PCU has been jointly undertaking work with the Material Science Department of Imperial College and EMMA on the stability and composition of the glass from which the Blaschka models were manufactured. Research undertaken recently by Rosie Greaves and the PCU at Imperial College using SIMS has identified that the glass is unstable and high-alkaline, with high concentrations of migrated alkali ions at the surface. This can be seen under SEM where PCU work has been character ising the surface of particularly deteriorated specimens. Unit staff have also been undertaking preliminary work with Renishaw PLC to characterise pigments and lacquers used on the glass. This work, using confocal Raman microscopy, has identified pigments including vermillion, hematite, and cobalt blue on some of the specimens analysed. The work, cross-referenced with FTIR work under-

10 10 Figure 6. Raman spectrum of a Blashka model pigment. taken with EMMA, has also enabled us to identify some of the lacquers and adhesives used on the models (Fig. 6). This is the first time a thorough analytical approach has been undertaken whose ultimate purpose will be to establish the best methods for conserving these important models. The cross-museum project is attracting much attention around the world and show that the PCU leads the way in this area of conservation. Away from the PCU, I am pleased to report that access by curators to the Palaeontology Specimen Database is almost complete with the last installations of the software taking place as curators receive new computers. There has been a slow, but encouraging, start to the process of adding specimen data. The catalogues have become available as the existing data has been migrated by Adrian Rissoné (Dept. Database Manager). Some of these migrations have been relatively straightforward, but one or two have presented real problems with inconsistencies in the original data entered on the old system coming back to haunt another generation of curator. Giles Miller has been especially caught up with the cleaning of electronic data, a process which is drawing to a welcome close. In addition he has created an EndNote TM catalogue of all the references for the type and figured ostracods in our collection. The 586 entries on the database will support the collections level database being compiled by Adrian Rundle with funding from the Department s Palaeo. Research Fund. Giles Miller recently spent a week at the Geological Institute of the Tallin Technical University. Estonia, where he was instructed in the preparation of thin sections of microvertebrates. While there he collaborated with Tiiu Märss in the preparation of a further short paper to add to the one recently published on thelodonts and associated conodonts of the Silurian lowest Devonian of the Welsh Borderland. During August Giles was joined by a Nuffield student, Shiama Balendra, who worked in the laboratory preparing Devonian conodont samples from the Urals. She produced a beautiful collection that is ready for databasing and will lead to several publications. Sarah Long also benefited from assistance from outside the Museum. Two work-experience students, Charlie Cowley and Alex Enchenko, carried out valuable work on the Davidson Collection of fossil brachiopods and the sponge collection, removing inappropriate storage materials and placing the labels in conservation-grade sleeves. The impact attachments such as these have on the collections cannot be underestimated thanks to them all. The William Smith Collections of stratigraphically arranged rocks and fossils was purchased by the British Museum from William Smith between 1815 and Since then the collections have never received the attention they deserved. It was with real pleasure the Department welcomed Professor Hugh Torrens in the early summer to give this collection a thorough inspection and review. Jill Darrell s report on this project will appear in a subsequent Set in Stone. During this period there have also been some exciting additions to our collections. John Tilsey, who had been invited by the National Trust to collect Carboniferous brachiopods from Dovedale, Derbyshire, has deposited the specimens in our collections. The superbly preserved tibia of a Wooly Rhino has been presented by Simon Hughes (see Research Roundup). On the staffing front we have recently embarked on the search for a replacement for the post resigned by Paul Davis when he was appointed Registrar. Paul Ensom Head of Curation Welcome: Marcelo Sánchez-Villagra In this issue we welcome Dr Marcelo Sanchez-Villagra, who joined us in May as a new researcher (specializing in mammals and evolutionarydevelop-mental problems) who takes up the slot occupied previously by Per Ahlberg (who recently took up a position at Uppsala University). Marcelo was born in Buenos Aires and did his undergraduate degree in Caracas, writing a Master's thesis on the taxonomy of a turtle genus (the Matamata). He obtained a PhD at Duke University in 1998 with a thesis on fossil marsupials from South America and on cranial development in this group. His two co-advisors reflect his two interests: Prof. Rich Kay (palaeontologist) and Prof. Kathleen Smith (comparative embryologist). Directly after his PhD Marcelo became Lecturer of Zoology at the University of Tübingen, where he completed a Habilitation in June 2003 on comparative ontogeny of mammals. At the same time he continued palaeontological work and supervised several MSc theses. He remains adjunct Professor at Tübingen, where he supervises two PhDs and plans to continue teaching there once a semester.

11 11 Marcelo has done fieldwork in Egypt, Cuba, Bolivia, Colombia and the US, but mostly in Venezuela, where he has had an ongoing research project on Miocene vertebrates since 1995, supported by the National Geographic Society. After his arrival in London Marcelo spent five weeks in Venezuela. His writing plans include production of a report about new Venezuelan discoveries for a future SiS issue. If you have not seen much of Marcelo so far, it is because after Venezuela and attending a conference in the US, he left London again, this time to work for three weeks in Japan. Marcelo will continue to work on a variety of projects concerning phylogeny and development in diverse mammals and turtles. This is Marcelo s first museum appointment, though he has been an associate of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. He says his only regret in life is not to be someone else. Jerry Hooker Head, Vertebrates and Anthropology Division coming in Curry was a pioneer in collecting the total mollusc fauna including many small species collected from sieved residues. The remainder of his collection came to the Museum after his death in The Dennis Curry Collection is large (a conservative estimate of the number of molluscs alone stands at 90,000 specimens), and represents 60 years of prolific collecting. The majority falls into three broad categories: molluscs, microfossils, and sieved residues. There are other macrofossils, including a small amount of vertebrate material. The collection comes mainly from southeast England and the Paris Basin, but also includes material from other European countries and North America. The majority is of Palaeogene and Neogene age, and there are also a number of Chalk samples. The size of the collection means that much curatorial work is required, generously funded by the Curry Family Trust. The current exhibition serves as an introduction to the scientific value and potential of a unique collection. Opening of the Curry Lobby, 25 June, On Friday 25 th June, members of the Curry family officially opened the newly refurbished lobbyreception area of the Department of Palaeontology. Funding for this refurbishment was provided by the Dennis Curry estate. Norman MacLeod made a brief speech welcoming the invited guests and thanking the Curry family for their support of the Department. Then, Margaret Curry-Jones, one of Dennis daughters, unveiled a plaque commemorating Dennis Curry s long-standing association with the Department. Members of the Department were present including the past and present curators of the Curry Collection, and Dennis Curry s daughters and grandchildren, as well as other representatives of his family. Following these formalities, an informal buffet lunch was served giving staff the opportunity to talk to members of the family, and everyone the chance to admire the new exhibition cases and displays containing memorabilia from Dennis Curry s life and work. The new lobby area provides a smart and professional introduction to the Department. Future exhibitions in the area will focus on the research work and interests of Department members. Dennis Curry developed an interest in geology as a child. Although having obtained a Double First in Natural Sciences at Cambridge, he bowed to family expectations and joined the family business, Currys, in Subsequently, he became not only an astute businessman, but also a distinguished geologist, making his name in diverse fields and publishing widely. He also won many medals and awards for his science and was appointed Visiting Professor of Marine Geology at University College, London in The Natural History Museum has long benefited from Curry s generosity. It first acquired some of his material in 1961, with the majority of his mollusc collection Caroline Hensley Curator, Invertebrates and Plants Division The Spawning of the Fossil Fish Collection The fossil fish collection at the Natural History Museum is, without a doubt, the finest such collection in the world (I make this claim with evidence and without shame). There are many reasons for this, but chief among these is the contribution to our present collection made by two venerable gentlemen, and the foresight and sacrifice shown by a former Keeper of Palaeontology (then called Geology) in the late 19 th century. Figure 1. Sir Philip Malpas de Grey Egerton (left) and the Third Earl of Ennisken (right). On the one hand there was Sir Philip Malpas de Grey Egerton ( ) and on the other William Willoughby Cole, later the 3rd Earl of Enniskillen ( ) (Fig. 1). These two attended Christ Church College, Oxford University, together in the late 1820s and became life-long friends.both were landed gentry ; Enniskillen of Florence Court, Northern Ireland and Egerton of Oulton Park,

12 12 Cheshire. Essentially their lives were long sabbaticals, since each had the time and money to do what he wanted. That said, neither wasted their energies since they both went on to play significant public roles; Egerton as life-long MP for west Cheshire, and Cole as a member of the House of Lords and Imperial Grand Master of the Orange Order. As was the custom of such gentlemen of leisure in the first half of the 19 th century, they had a rapacious desire to accumulate facts of knowledge and display them in cabinets. In the 1820s, geology (including palaeontology) was the science of the day. Baron von Cuvier had proved the reality of extinction just two decades previously. Now the hunt was on to document all extinct life to provide explanations as to why extinction occurred, and why new life forms appeared. At Oxford both these young gentlemen came under the spell of Dean William Buckland who was struggling to reconcile Biblical truth with the succession of life in rocks. Cole and Egerton were inspired by his enthusiasm laced, it must be said, with Buckland s personal eccentricity and they set out to accumulate collections of fossils. Cole certainly visited Mary Anning at Lyme Regis and no doubt purchased many specimens from her. In 1830 Egerton and Enniskillen set out on a Grand Tour, to journey across Europe in search of fossils. In Munich they met Louis Agassiz who was visiting the State Museum of Bavaria from his base in Neuchâtel. Agassiz was the archetypal fund raiser (he went on to raise money single handedly for the construction of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard, but that is another story). Agassiz was engaged in producing a comprehensive classification of living and fossil fishes by examining all known fossils. Agassiz sensed rich pickings and persuaded Cole and Egerton to purchase as many fossil fishes as they could, so that he could name and describe them. The two young enthusiasts were bowled over by Agassiz who persuaded them to also sponsor his artist (Joseph Dinkle) to illustrate the many fishes that he was using to compile his major work Recherches sur les Poissons Fossiles, ( ). Egerton played hookey from his duties as MP on many occasions to describe fossil fishes in his own right. The Earl of Enniskillen was not so academically driven and appeared happy to accumulate and boast about his collection to the many friends and dignatories who attended his soirées. Together, they amassed a huge collection, often tossing coins for who was to get the part and the counterpart of many specimens (Fig. 2). In 1880 Enniskillen, who was by now blind, decided to sell his collection and offered it to the British Musuem for 3,500. The Trustees asked the Treasury for the money, but the Lord Commissioners wrote back saying that funds had to be found from savings within the Museum. [Ed. Note: no change there.] Inevitable internal wrangling took place (in those days the purchase fund had to be spread from coins to Greek antiquities to minerals). Finally the then Keeper of Geology, Dr Henry Woodward, agreed to cut his annual departmental allocation from 800 to 300 for the next four years. This selfless act so impressed the Treasury that additional Figure 2. Part (BMNH P.4130a, left), and counterpart (BMNH P.1984, right) of this specimen of Carangsopis Latoir were purchased separately by Enniskillen and Egerton. They were reunited in 1883 and current reside in our collections funds were provided. But Woodward s budget remained cut! Enniskillen had his 9,658 fossils (mostly fishes) packed in crates for shipment to London. They were duly sent in December 1882 with an interrupted journey at Crewe railway station. There thieves, on seeing the sender s name and the destination address, eagerly broke into some of the crates only to be confronted by rock which, in their disappointment, they duly threw into the River Dee below the Chester to Holyhead railway bridge. Fortunately, most of the specimens were recovered. Upon Egerton s death in 1881 his executors offered his collection to the Museum for 2,000. This contained some 7,000 specimens (again mostly fossil fishes). Some had been hived off to the British Geological Survey. More arguments between the Museum and Treasury ensued, but the latter relented on this occasion and they finally paid up in May And so, by 1882, the two most comprehensive collections of fossil fishes had were united under one roof. But this was not the end of the story. In 1882 Arthur Smith Woodward walked through the door to join the staff of the British Museum as a young researcher (the Museum insisted he add the ' Smith to avoid confusion with the unrelated H. B. Woodward). Woodward realised the value of the Enniskillen and Egerton collections, rich in type and figured material, and he set about writing a Catalogue of Fossil Fishes in the British Museum ( ) that remains one of our main soiurces of information about the collection.the effect was magnetic. People began to send specimens, to add to the store of important material. The Egerton and Enniskillen collections attracted donations unforeseen. Better to add to a collection than start a new one. The actual number of type and figured specimens in the two collections is presently engraved in cop-

13 13 per-plate writing which, I hope, will soon be electronic. The legacy is undeniable. I often receive enquiries asking me to identify a fossil fish. I have long given up on experience and literature. Instead, I go rummaging through the collection, open a drawer, and find that, more often than not, the enquiry matches an Egerton or Enniskillen specimen. Thank you guys. Peter Forey Merit Researcher, Vertebrates and Anthro. Division [Author s Note: A short history of Enniskillen s life can be found in James, K.W Damned nonsense! Belfast: Ulster Museum, from which the portraits were reproduced.] Ethics, Dinosaurs, and Raquel Welch Spectacular portrayals of prehistoric animals have captivated the public s imagination ever since the middle of the 19 th century, and are equally resonant today. Such reconstructions allow our perceptions of extinct animals to move beyond the bare bones, showing (sometimes in lurid detail) the behaviours and physiognomies of dinosaurs, cave men, and a host of other extraordinary beasts. In many respects, this is a worthy and creditable enterprise, that ranges in scope from reconstructions aimed at a primarily professional scientific audience to hugely popular edutainment television documentaries, such as the BBCs Walking with Dinosaurs. Crucially, this kind of visual representation makes communicating complex ideas regarding the biology of extinct animals much easier than relying on the detailed, and often esoteric, anatomical knowledge that forms the foundation for the science of palaeontology. The earliest reconstructions were aimed at a largely academic audience. Nevertheless, as public interest in palaeontology increased, so images of these creatures began to permeate more popular outlets and be used not only for scientific communication, but also for entertainment and education. Initially, most reconstructions sought to educate and entertain the viewing public, with emphasis on the former. For example, the famous models commissioned for the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851, showing dinosaurs, marine reptiles, and extinct mammals from South America, were built under the supervision of Sir Richard Owen the leading authority on these animals at the time to ensure they were as scientifically accurate as they were visually imposing. Although more recent work on these animals has shown many of Owen s speculations to be incorrect, the synergy of artistry and science that led to the creation of these models remains an excellent example of how entertainment and education could be combined to the benefit of all concerned. At around the same time, the pure entertainment value of extinct animals began to be recognised. Politicians were lampooned in Punch cartoons for their prehistoric attitudes or policies, and the dinosaur Megalosaurus gained a brief mention in Bleak House. However, it was probably the publication of Arthur Conan-Doyle s The Lost World (as a serial in The Strand Magazine in 1912) that sparked enthusiasm for reconstructing extinct animals in entirely fictional settings. With bizarre crests, frills and horns, enormous body sizes, and their otherworldly reptilian nature, dinosaurs quickly became the monsters of choice for adventure stories of all kinds. Similarly, cave men were pictured as brutish sub-humans more likely to try and eat their modern counterparts than co-exist with them. Other extinct organisms endured the same fate, being consigned to the role of villain in pulp science-fiction magazines (and novels), TV series and Hollywood films for most of the 20 th century. In almost all these cases, scientific accuracy was not a priority for the author or film director: the more outlandish the animal, the better in terms of shocking or exciting the potential audience. One notable exception to this general trend was the spectacularly successful Jurassic Park franchise, which attempted to incorporate the most recent information on dinosaurs as living animals. Professional palaeontologists were engaged as consultants, with the result that many of the dinosaur reconstructions were as accurate as it was possible to be (fictional devices notwithstanding, of course). Jurassic Park, in turn, helped to reignite popular interest in the scientific basis of dinosaur studies, and indeed in extinct animals in general, leading to the production of a plethora of TV documentary series, which would include their own reconstructions of animals ranging from mammoths to dodos. So, what are the ethical problems that might be encountered when preparing or presenting reconstructions of long-extinct organisms for entertainment? Does it really matter if we see a movie in which a fire-breathing Velociraptor chases a nubile cave woman through the Amazon rainforest? Is anyone harmed or impoverished as a result? I suggest that two major factors need to be assessed when attempting to investigate any ethical issues that may arise from such an enterprise: the nature of the target audience and the primary aim of the production. If a book, TV programme or motion picture is simply aiming to entertain, and has no pretensions regarding the accuracy (or otherwise) of the reconstructions involved, no real ethical dilemmas result. This is particularly true if the producers/authors of such a work make no claims regarding the validity of their reconstructions. Some might argue that the mass of misinformation contained in Hollywood B - movies or pulp novels lead to a public with perceptions of science that are either nonsensical or contrary to the prevailing consensus. However, in my opinion, many indirect benefits can be gained from this genre in terms of science communication, as audiences that may not normally be interested in science (or have only a very limited knowledge thereof) may become more aware of scientific issues and ideas as a consequence and may even be tempted to investigate the subject by seeking out more credible sources. Dissemination of small amounts of correct factual information (e.g., names of extinct animals and geological periods) through

14 14 such routes raises the awareness of the public and increases their familiarity with geology and palaeontology. The amount of useful information varies considerably. In many cases, as with One Million Years BC, facts may be few and far between. In others, such as Jurassic Park, a great deal of science may be presented alongside the fiction. Minor as any benefits may be, they are tangible and are gained by the science community as a free by-product from the entertainment industry. Although there will undoubtedly be a trade-off between the factual information gained versus damage due to misinformation, it is surely a good thing that at least some children and adults will be switched onto science through these avenues. Ethical questions do arise, though, when a production claims to be scientifically accurate, but presents reconstructions that are flawed or incorrect: such cases represent a breach of trust, and may lead to the viewer/reader being seriously misinformed. If the stated intention of the piece is to to educate, the producers/authors have a duty to deliver information that is as accurate as possible, as they have assumed responsibility for communicating these ideas in an honest, precise manner. Moreover, educational entertainment productions should explain how they decided on which particular life reconstruction to use for an extinct animal: what is the actual scientific evidence? In particular, many aspects of palaeontological reconstructions could be described as known unknowns, especially as regards animal behaviour. What decisions were taken regarding the inclusion or exclusion of specific behaviours? What was the justification for this? For example, in one episode of Walking with Dinosaurs a scenario is presented in which Ornithocheirus, a flying reptile, is shown to have migrated annually between South America and Europe. Although the reconstruction of the animal itself was excellent, no reasons are provided to support the idea that migration was an important behaviour for this animal (in fact, there is no hard evidence to support this hypothesis). If a reconstruction is presented as definitive, with no caveats regarding its validity, the scientific process is undermined. After all, science provides working hypotheses for continual testing and modification: not black and white answers. Viewers or readers would receive a more rounded picture of how palaeontology is actually done if this kind of contextual information were included, which would serve science better than presenting a breath-taking rendering of a creature, engaging in a spectacular behaviour, with no accompanying indication of how do we know that?. At its worst, presentations that fail to make clear evidence-based statements can make people suspicious of science, and far less likely to engage with scientific issues in the future, thus negating the original intentions of its creators. Overt discussion of these issues helps to silence the critics of such efforts, as justification for a preferred restoration becomes an integral, explicit part of the final product. Paul M. Barrett Researcher, Vertebrates and Anthropology Division [This essay is a summary of a talk presented at the British Association for the Advancement of Science Meeting (Exeter) in September It formed part of a symposium organised by the Palaeontological Association entitled Fossils, fakes and fiction.] Further reading Currie, P.J. & Tropea, M Dinosaur Imagery: The science of lost worlds and Jurassic art. Indiana University Press. Rudwick, M.J.S The Meaning of Fossils. University of Chicago Press. Figure 1. Participants of the Symposium on a visit to the Itaimbezinho Canyon whose cliffs drop some 800 m down to the coast, cutting through Jurassic basalts in the Aparados de Serra National Park, State of Rio Grande do Sul. Typical Araucaria (monkey puzzle tree) forest, which covers much of this highland region, can be seen in the background. Thinking Higher and Lower About Brazilian Fish Lineages In May 2004, 44 people from 15 countries and four continents arrived in Gramado, a small town founded by German settlers in southern Brazil to attend the 10 th International Symposium on Early Vertebrates/Lower Vertebrates (Fig. 1). The first meeting was held in Sweden in 1967 (The Noble Symposium on Current Problems of Lower Vertebrate Phylogeny), but this was the first in the series to be convened in South America and only one had previously taken place in the South Hemisphere (in Australia in 1983). While organizing the symposium, I had been challenged in my own mind by questions from colleagues as to what kind of vertebrate animals this meeting should include. For a palaeontologist, early vertebrates are intuitively classified as those from the depths of geological time. By this definition one is automatically drawn to the Palaeozoic Era when a backbone first appeared in our forerunners. However, as those who work in phylogenetic systematics know, lower and upper are relative terms, whose application depends on a number of criteria. These may change according to the degree of universality or the assumptions involved in such analyses. Indeed, some lower vertebrates are really found late in time or may even be still extant, while many long extinct lineages represent upper

15 15 Figure 2. Dr Zhu Min (China) holding up a boulder carried by glaciers and dropped by the melting ice upon marine sediments of the Itararé Sub-Group some 280 million years ago. parts of our common vertebrate branch. For instance, the boundary between extinct lobefinned fish and Devonian tetrapods is sometimes quite blurred, as some of these fish bear tetrapod-like limbs, while some early tetrapods sport fish-like tails and skull bones. In the end, I had to be pragmatic in the face of demand, so some lower groups among higher tet-rapods were included with fish-like creatures in the symposium s programme. This decision may have been rather heretical to some, especially those who wanted to maintain this series of meetings as an exclusively fish-and-amphibian fest. Forty-four abstracts for the talks and posters were presented and twelve manuscripts have been submitted for publication in a special supplement of Revista Brasileira de Paleontologia dedicated to the symposium. Discussions involved a wide variety of issues, such as systematics, morphology, palaeoethology (palaeo-behaviour), palaeogeography, palaeoenvironments, and palaeoecology. Prof. Hans-Peter Schultz kicked off the meeting with a presentation on the nine previous symposia that have been held in Europe (5), Australia (1), China (1), North America (2), over the last four decades. Other talks and posters dealt with the position of vertebrates among deuterostomes; Silurian thelodonts and other extinct agnathans; acanth-odians; Cretaceous actinopterygians, placoderms and the origin of teeth; the role of ontogeny in resolving the phylogeny of teleosts; Brazilian amphibians from the Triassic; and recent discoveries concerning development of tetrapod limbs. However, the majority of presentations dealt with fossil sharks, which seems to confirm our human fascination with predators. The full programme and abstracts of the symposium are available at The Symposium was followed by a four-day field trip (29 May-1 June) to various sites of the Paraná Basin that attracted 31 participants (Fig. 2). For most people this was their first opportunity to examine Gondwanan rocks from South America. Some 98 per cent of the sedimentary rocks in this basin covering an area of more than 1.5 million square kilometres in southern and central Brazil and extending into Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay are covered by a thick layer of Jurassic basalts. Consequently, fossils are usually found in relatively small and narrow outcrop areas. The Late Palaeozoic is well represented in the Paraná Basin, though, including the Early and the Late Permian which contain a rich and diverse fish fauna. No fishes had been discovered in the Devonian Ponta Grossa and Furnas formations or, for that matter, in earlier strata. The reasons for this absence remains a mystery. Nonetheless, since most of the (invertebrate) fossils found in these Devonian strata are preserved only as external casts and internal moulds, it seems likely that fish skeletons, which presumably existed in this marine deposits, have likely been dissolved completely. Recovery of fish remains and other lower vertebrates from the Devonian of the Paraná Basin remains a very daunting challenge, but also an exciting prospect (Fig. 3). Martha Richter Curator, Vertebrates and Anthropology Division Figure 3. Searching for (as yet undiscovered) fossil fishes in the autumn rain among Devonian rocks of the Paraná Basin in the State of Paraná, Brazil during the postsymposium field trip. Rock and Pole For a country of its size and prosperity, Poland has an admirably strong reputation in palaeontology. I had long wanted to visit Poland to meet the palaeontologists whose names I knew, but whose faces I didn t, as well as to collect some of the rich fossil bryozoan faunas known from the Holy Cross Mountains. An opportunity presented itself at the end of September 2004 with the scheduling of a Jurassic field conference in the Holy Cross Mountains, coupled with the granting of permission to export the fossils collected. In all I spent 11 full days in Poland, the Jurassic conference occupying three of them, additional fieldwork a further three days, and visits to the Panstowowego Instytutu Geologicznego and Instytut Paleobiologii PAN, both in Warsaw, the remaining time. The Jurassic conference the fourth of its kind was attended by about 50 Jurassic enthusiasts, all Polish or Slovakian apart from my German collaborator Andrej Ernst and myself. Accommodation and a day of lectures took place in a small hotel near Baltow (pronounced Bowtoff ). The hotel resembled a building site but was extremely cheap. Many years ago I wrote my PhD thesis on Jurassic bryozoans and this conference gave me the opportunity to return to my roots and attempt a broad overview of the faunas I first became familiar

16 16 Figure 1. The Baltowski Park Jurajski. with as a student. Compressed into 20 minutes, it went down well enough among the assembled throng of mostly ammonite and microfossil specialists. The conference dinner offered a new form of the party food sausage on a stick. Instead of tiny, precooked sausages skewered on cocktail sticks, we were given massive bangers and 8-foot long spears with which to barbeque them at a safe distance from a roaring fire. The dinner, also featuring a special Polish delicacy which I later learned was pork lard spread on bread, was held in the Baltow Jurassic Park (Baltowski Park Jurajski see Fig. 1). A local entrepeneur in this underdeveloped part of Poland was prompted by the finding of some Jurassic dinosaur footprints into making this tourist and educational attraction. Life-size models of Tyrannosaurus and the usual selection of other luridly-coloured dinosaurs are laid out in a garden. There is also a small fossil museum, featuring mostly local ammonites, which was officially opened while we were there. Fieldwork associated with the conference, led by Jacek Gutowski, consisted of one day visiting Oxfordian localities around Baltow, and a second in the massive Kimmeridgian quarry at Wierzbica to the north. I had previously published a paper on bryozoans from Baltow and it was nice to see the outcrops from which the original material had been collected by my coauthor Urszula Hara. Wierzbica proved surprisingly productive for bryozoans. Bryozoans have yet to be formally described from the Polish Kimmeridgian. Indeed they are very poorly-known in Kimmeridgian rocks worldwide. But we managed to collect about half a dozen species in Wierzbica Quarry, mostly encrusting oyster shells. Prior to the Jurassic conference we had visited another Kimmeridgian locality, Malogoszcza (pronounced Maoogosh) on the western edge of the Holy Cross Mountains, and had discovered a bryozoan fauna of similar diversity though inferior preservation. Our other fieldwork in the Holy Cross Mountains consisted of a disappointing day in the Palaeozoic that forms the backbone of the anticline. The large, foreign-owned quarries exposing Devonian limestones were impossible to access, even though we were being guided by Jan Marek of the local Kielce Figure 2. the Panstowowego Instytutu Geologicznego (PIG) branch of the geological survey. Since passing into foreign ownership, getting into working quarries has proved difficult, much to the frustration of the Polish geologists. Back in Warsaw the Panstowowego Instytutu Geologicznego (PIG, Fig. 2) houses a small geological museum that, I was pleased to discover, features an entire displaycase full of fossil bryozoans, including some of the Baltow Oxfordian species Hara and I described back in The wellcurated reference collections, arranged according to publication, are accommodated in a refurbished basement room with compactor storage. While in the museum I gave a talk on fossil folklore, repeated at the Jurassic conference, hoping to gather some Polish fossil folklore tales. I emerged with two, the first that dinosaur footprints were once believed by Poles to have been made by the devil, and the second that geology students sitting examinations at Warsaw University even today wear fossil necklaces to bring them luck! There are three centres of palaeontology in Warsaw: PIG, the Instytut Paleobiologii PAN and the Uniwesytet Warszawski. Taken together, these employ about 40 palaeontologists whose roles are predominantly research or teaching. A degree of interorganizational rivalry was evident, and there seemed to be little collaboration between scientists in the three institutions. I was surprised to learn that some of the managerial appointments in these scientific institutions are political for example, when the Polish government changes so too does the directorship of PIG. I had particularly wanted to visit the Instytut Paleobiologii PAN to meet the editorial team of Acta Pa-

17 17 laeontologica Polonica, for which I have been a coeditor for the last few years, in order to discuss the production of the journal and future plans. Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, a distinguished mammal specialist, is the chief editor and runs a tight ship. Production standards are extremely high, the journal s impact factor is up there among the top international journals of palaeontology, and time from submission to publication is currently about a year, so I would encourage anyone looking for an outlet for short papers seriously to consider APP. Full on-line access is free at My visit to Poland would not have been possible without the organizational prowess of Urszula Hara (PIG), for which I am very grateful. The director of the PIG geology museum, Dr Mizerski, kindly allowed us to use gratis one of the PIG field vehicles. We recruited bryozoologist Piotr Kuklinski as a driver, which saved me from having to drive on the perilous roads of Poland. Early next year Piotr will be joining us to commence a Marie Curie Fellowship in the Department of Palaeontology. Paul D. Taylor Researcher, Invertebrates and Plants Division Celebrating Richard Owen s Bicentenary The bicentenary of Sir Richard Owen s birth fell on 20 July Richard Owen was, after Charles Darwin, the most important figure in Victorian natural history (Fig. 1). For almost 60 years he was at the forefront of comparative anatomy and vertebrate palaeontology in Britain. He wrote and published prodigiously and his work included many first and fundamental descriptions of fossil and living animals. His output of professional work was quite astounding, even by the standards of the day and the technology (or lack of it) available. Owen produced more than 600 papers and 13 full-length books, all written without the benefit of anything but a quill pen and a succession of highly talented artists. He worked at the cutting edge of Victorian science, was an outstandingly articulate proponent of the scientific study of nature, and came to symbolise natural history in the public mind not least for his coining of the term Dinosauria. His work attracted international renown and he was awarded every relevant professional honour of his day. Owen was appointed Superintendent of the Natural History Collections at the British Museum in 1856 following on from his position as Curator of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons. He realised immediately that the space at Bloomsbury was totally inadequate for the Museum s growing natural history collections that he encouraged at every opportunity. Those were the days when material came in from far-flung corners of the British Empire and important collections were purchased regularly. One of especial note was the 1862 purchase of Karl Haberlein s Collection of almost 2000 fossils from the Tithonian Solnhofen Limestone Figure 1. Richard Owen s distinguished signature used as the exhibition heading. in Germany. The collection, priced at 700, included more than 1,700 fishes and the holotype specimen of Archaeopteryx. Owen was so determined to acquire the collection (principally because of Archaeopteryx) that he stumped up 300 of his own money to supplement the 400 annual purchase budget. Owen was as ruthless and competitive over acquisitions as he was in describing material. Curiously, although he wrote a monograph on Archaeopteryx in 1863, he failed to make the connection between dinosaurs and birds. Thomas Henry Huxley was the first to recognise the transitional nature of Archaeopteryx and needled Owen about it at every opportunity. But Owen s mind was probably focused in another direction and, increasingly, on his campaign and vision for a new building to house the natural history departments a cathedral to celebrate the wonders of natural world. It was due entirely to his tireless and persistent advocacy including lobbying the Prime Minister of the day, William Gladstone that the Natural History Museum [the Waterhouse Building,formerly the British Museum (Natural History)] opened its doors in 1881 after an eight year building project. Just imagine the logistics in transferring the collections from Bloomsbury by horse and cart! Figure 2. Owen in the late 1870 s, shortly before the Natural History Museum opened. Owen was thus the founder and, in effect if not in title, the first director of the Natural History Museum (Fig. 2). We felt this legacy deserved celebration and Museum-wide support in 2004 and one of us adopted modest Owen-style tactics to ensure that it happened. Most of Angela Milner s suggestions were taken up by an exhibition team led by Jacqui Staerck. The Museum s commemoration has included: An exhibition about Owens s life and work incorporating significant Owen specimens from the collections and printed materials from the libraries and archives. This includes a brief history of the founding of the Museum, its architectural design and features. The exhibition Richard Owen: the man who invented dinosaurs, on the first floor of the Public Galleries, remains open until 31 st October. museum/tempexhib/owen/display.htm

18 18 An Owen Trail around the Public Galleries highlighting permanently exhibited Owen specimens, or material with which he was closely associated. This includes a moa skeleton (Dinornis), ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, a Dodo, and a Duck-billed Platypus. wen/trail.htm Two series of Darwin Centre Live presentations covering some of Owen s major scientific work. These were held during his birthday week and the first week in September. Topics included dinosaurs, the Crystal Palace models, moas, the Dodo and Owen s dark and dirty dealings to ensure he got his hands on some material from Mauritius, Owen the controversial scientist, and Owen s contribution to evolutionary theory. museum/tempexhib/owen/events.htm A Members Lecture Richard Owen: Monster or Marvel? given by Professor Janet Browne, Professor of the History of Science at UCL on 21 st September. The answer to that question is that he was a bit of both! The exhibition and Darwin Centre presentations have dovetailed with a year-long Owen exhibition at Lancaster Museum, the city of his birth, for which Angela made a long videotaped interview. The name Dinosauria, which means terrible lizards, was first published in his report on British Fossil Reptiles to the British Association in It is also the case that he did not discover so much as a single bone himself; Owen was definitely not a field man. Such was his reputation he relied on others to provide the material or redescribed and re-evaluated published work, often aggressively. Owen was, however, a century ahead of his time in deducing and establishing the essential dinosaur characters of mammalian-like upright stance and the skeletal features that go with it. The Crystal Palace models on which he worked with sculptobenjamin Waterhouse Hawkins incorporated this posture. The public flocked to see the first full size dinosaur models in 1854 in effect the first dinosaur theme park. We may criticise them now, but Owen had only fragmentary remains to work with, as no complete dinosaur skeleton was known at that time, and with the benefit of hindsight he did remarkably well. Figure 3. Richard Owen standing next to the first mounted skeleton of the moa Dinornis with the original fragment in his hand. The selection of material for the exhibition was originally based on an attempt to show the breadth of Richard Owen s taxonomic influence and included examples of birds, lizards, synapsids ( mammal-like reptiles ), turtles, dinosaurs, and mammals. It was also intended to show specimens mounted on original display boards, labels written by Owen, and specimens presented by Owen to the Museum. However, due to space restrictions and artistic design, the final selection was a compromise. The first and obvious choice was the fragment of moa limb bone sent to Owen from New Zealand in Owen boldly deduced that it belonged to an unknown giant ground dwelling bird based on his comparative anatomical knowledge. Just four years later in 1843, he was proved correct when a complete moa skeleton was discovered which he named Dinornis (Fig. 3). That sealed Owen s reputation as an anatomist of world renown. The original moa fragment was placed in the exhibition alongside a complete femur of Dinornis for comparison. The specimens chosen to represent Owen s three original dinosaurian genera were a Megalosaurus tooth in a block of matrix mounted on an original display board; the Iguanodon thumb spike classically depicted by Owen on the nose of his life size model at Crystal Palace; and a Hylaeosaurus vertebra. A single hadrosaur (duck-billed dinosaur) tooth from the Cambridge Greensand presented by Owen in 1884, plus a juvenile Edmontosaurus jaw for context, completed the reptile representation. Owen s contributions to mammalian palaeontology are, perhaps, not quite so well known. He made major inroads in classification with the help of many fossils, which he described for the first time. For example, he named and accurately characterized the orders Perissodactyla (odd-toed ungulates - including horses, rhinos, and tapirs) and Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates or cloven-hoofed mammals including cows, sheep, deer, giraffes, cam-

19 19 els, pigs, and hippos). His paper in 1848 in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London had the following catchy title: Description of teeth and portions of jaws of two extinct anthracotherioid quadrupeds (Hyopotamus vectianus and Hyop. bovinus) discovered by the Marchioness of Hastings in the Eocene deposits on the N.W. coast of the Isle of Wight: with an attempt to develop Cuvier s idea of the classification of pachyderms by the number of their toes. In fact, he was greatly influenced by Cuvier s ideas, which he expanded and formalised. In this case one could say he went the whole hog. Early in the 19 th century, hoofed mammals were divided into ones that chewed the cud (ruminants) and ones that did not (pachyderms). In creating Artiodactyla, he showed that some pachyderms (pigs and hippos) were more closely related to ruminants. Pachyderms were thus not a true natural group. Owen also described new, strange, and often gigantic, mammals from distant continents. These included giant relatives of kangaroos and the marsupial lion Thylacoleo from the Australian Pleistocene. He recognized that the latter was unlike any of the modern marsupial carnivores that inhabit Australia because the teeth that distinguish meat eaters the piercing anterior ones and the cheek teeth for slicing flesh (carnassials) were formed from the incisors and premolars respectively, instead of from the canines and molars. In this way he was using homology to determine classification. In fact, Owen correctly recognized that Thylacoleo was related to a plant-eating group of marsupials, rather than to today s carnivorous groups (native cats, devil and Tasmanian wolf). He also described the enigmatic and fragmentary Pleistocene mammals that Darwin collected in South America during his voyage on the Beagle. Two in particular posed real classificatory problems for him: Macrauchenia and Toxodon. The name Macrauchenia means long camel. Because the specimen had camel-like neck bones, but tapir-like feet, Owen regarded it as a transitional form between nonruminating and ruminating herbivores. Today we place these mammals in an extinct endemic South American order, the Litopterna. However, on today s ungulate evolutionary tree, litopterns are usually considered to branch above camels and below tapirs, so Owen s perceptions were not too far off the mark. The name Toxodon means bow-tooth. Darwin had found a toothless skull that the local kids had been using for target practice (this is why it was toothless). He also found a long curved molar at another location. Owen correctly associated the two. Because the molar was continuously growing(like those of many rodents), and because the skull had the structure of a hoofed mammal, he regarded it as another example of a transitional form, this time between rodents and ungulates. Here he was wrong, although in fairness we still do not have a consensus on the relationships of the endemic order Notoungulata, to which Toxodon belongs. Famously, Owen was also the first to describe dawn horses. These are much older fossils than those already mentioned, being from the English early Eocene. At first Owen did not recognize them as horses. In 1841 he named the first specimen in this series Hyracotherium leporinum (meaning hare-like hyrax animal ) although he thought it was related to pigs. He described the second (represented only by teeth) as a species of monkey (Macacus eocaenus). It was not until a partial skeleton of yet another species (Pliolophus vulpiceps) was found nearly 20 years later that Owen realized the true affinities of these animals. It is interesting that Owen used features that indicated feeding adaptations to erect his classification, in this case teeth that indicated diets of fruits and broad leaves. In this way, the teeth of dawn horses are in some ways superficially like those of many modern monkeys, but, of course, utterly unlike those of modern grazing horses. The oldest mammals that Owen described were from the British Mesozoic. As with the dawn horses, he did not recognize their true affinities. Many of those that he described belong to groups that are more primitive than any modern mammal. His anatomical comparisons led him to conclude that all were marsupials. This was based on resemblances that we now know were superficial. Nevertheless, in all his studies, his accurate descriptive work, resulting from his vast knowledge of vertebrate anatomy, gave us a wealth of data and set the scene for modern work that still carries on to this day Specimens of Thylacoleo, Macrauchenia, Toxodon, Hyracotherium and the Mesozoic mammal Phascolotherium are currently on show in the bicentenary display. The media and PR campaign swung into gear on the eve of the birthday celebrations, with the opening event drawing an unforeseen amount of attention, due largely, we suspect, to the use of the dreaded D word in the exhibition title. The Stone family, direct descendents of Richard Owen, were on hand to help with the opening ceremony. The press were especially interested in photo shoots with Owen s great, great, great, great grandchildren, Theo and Anastasia Stone, who predictably enough were mad on dinosaurs and delighted to be handling some of the material first described by their noteworthy ancestor. During their stay at the Museum, the Stone family was given tours of the library and archive by Carol Gokce and of the dinosaur collections by Paul, so that they could come face-to-face with the actual objects that Owen had worked with, a personal connection they really appreciated. Having cunningly got herself into some important meetings elsewhere, Angela was let off the hook as far as the media were concerned, leaving Paul and Jerry to fend off most of the enquiries from TV, radio, and the print outlets. The majority of interest came from the UK press (though Mexican and Australian film crews were in attendance and we received interview requests from as far away as Colombia), with long spots dedicated to the exhibition on BBC London Evening News and on the Today programme. These resulted in Paul and Julian Hume (Ornithology Group at Tring), having to get

20 20 into the Museum early in the morning for the live interview. Danny Baker was also interested, leading to an early morning interview on his breakfast show, during the course of which it had to be explained that yes, seahorses really are fish. Perhaps the most nerve-wracking experience for Paul was his live appearance on Richard and Judy Show, during which he sat on the sofa being quizzed about the exhibition, Jurassic Park and the various fossils that they d assembled for their stage dressing. Richard in particular, was enthusiastic about the whole thing, leading him to ask if T. rex could have eaten humans. A minimal 65 million year interval notwithstanding, Paul replied that T. rex would probably have regarded our own species as the dietary equivalent of spam. Angela did not manage to dodge a 30-minute slot on the James O Brien Show on LBC Radio. O Brien was similarly enthused; Angela was confronted with a barrage of live questions phoned in by the audience including several about that wretched T. beast. The exhibition and trail opened on Owen s birthday, Tuesday 20 July. The Front of House staff entered into spirit of the occasion and wore Happy Birthday Richard Owen sashes for the day. Public and staff reactions were overwhelmingly favourable. The old man himself, whose statue gazes proudly down the Main Hall, moa bone in hand, would surely have approved. Angela Milner Associate Keeper Jerry Hooker Head, Invertebrates and Anthro. Division Sandra Chapman Curator, Invertebrates and Anthro. Division Paul Barrett Researcher, Invertebrates and Anthro. Division Around the Department Grants Marcelo Sánchez Villagra was awarded a National Geographic Society grant (US $18,900 ) in February 2004 to carry out field work on Fossil Vertebrates from the Oligocene and Miocene of Venezuela. Paul Taylor will be hting Piotr Kuklinski, from Poland, on a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship from January 2005, a successful application under the first SYNTHESIS round. Piotr will be here for two years and working on a project entitled Biodiversity and Adaptation in Arctic Bryozoans. Andrew Smith has been successful in gaining a grant form the Levehulme Trust for a 3-year project ( 116,762), Testing the Effects of Geological and Phylogentic Biases on Marine Palaeodiversity. This includes the employment of post-doctoral researcher Alistair McGowan (also known as Big Al) who will join us next February. Theya Molleson has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Emeritus Fellowship ( 9,882) to work on a project called Changing Lifestyles in the Neolithic. This award includes provision for a research assistant, Jessica Pearson, to help Theya for 3 months. Welcome to: Marcelo Sánchez Villagra (see article in this issue) Scott Moore-Fay who joined us in August as research preparator in the Palaeontology Conservation Unit on a three-year contract. Scott is tackling a wide variety of fossil preparation for staff and is also working some type specimens in our collections for PhD students in South Africa and France. Karl Blake, a BSc student at University of Manchester, Dept of Earth Sciences who is working with Jon Todd on SEM and digital imaging of gastropod larval shells as part of Jon s continuing reassessment of Recent species diversity in the tropical marine snail Polystira. Karl will be working here parttime through to Christmas on a project funded through the Palaeo. Research Fund. He previously worked in the department as a volunteer in Goodbye to: Dawn Galer, who has been working with Christophe Soligo on his Museum Research Fund project, Fluctuating Asymentry and Sexual Function in Apes. Dawn spent much of the project visiting differing institutions in Europe gathering data for this project, which finished on 30 September. Devilla O Dwyer and Paul Ratcliffe left the Conservation Unit in August. Dervilla has gone to carry on the fight for conservation at the National Maritime Museum, where she will be able to put her textile conservation expertise to good use on the all those uniforms and flags effected by salt water. Paul is following his interest in web design, working as an IT specialist. News of Former Staff, Students & Visitors Jeremy Young s former PhD student, Markus Geisen has obtained funding to establish a working group at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven focused on functional morphology of biomineralising protist plankton. Dates to Remember: 6 October - Heads of Divisions Meeting 19 October - Palaeo Consultancy Open Day 28 October - Palaeo Management Away Day 3 November - Heads of Divisions Meeting

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