Articles on Natural history

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This clay facial reconstruction of Kennewick Man, carefully sculpted around the morphological features of his skull, suggests how he may have looked alive nearly 9,000 years ago. Brittney Tatchell, Smithsonian Institution

Kennewick Man will be reburied, but quandaries around human remains won’t

A 9,000-year-old skeleton became a high-profile and highly contested case for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. How do we respectfully deal with ancient human remains?
New forms of life are discovered in high-tech ways that leave yesterday’s natural history collections in the dust. Detective image via www.shutterstock.com.

The modern, molecular hunt for the world’s biodiversity

Forget the pith helmet and butterfly net. Discovering biodiversity now is much more about metagenomics and the 0's and 1's of digital databases.
What do collections of dead butterflies do for their still-living counterparts? Andrew D Warren

Why we still collect butterflies

The dead animal specimens that comprise natural history collections contribute a lot toward scientific understanding of their still-living counterparts – and those that have gone extinct.
Alexander von Humboldt selfportrait.

The most influential scientist you may never have heard of

Gaze at Alexander Von Humboldt’s 1814 self-portrait and you peer into the eyes of a man who sought to see and understand everything. By this point in his life, at age 45, Humboldt had tutored himself in…
Crocodiles keep their own secrets. Tambako

The unknown crocodiles

Slow, lazy, stupid? It's time to update your impression of the crocodilians. These animals are up to amazing things that we're only beginning to observe and recognize.
Dusty collections, or the foundations of science? David Iliff

Naturalists are becoming an endangered species

The phrase “Natural History” is linked in most people’s minds today with places that use the phrase: the various Natural History Museums, or television programmes narrated so evocatively by renowned naturalist…
Dusty museum collections’ evidence of the past hold clues to the future. Heather Kharouba

A century of museum records reveal species’ changing lives

Natural history museum records are most often associated with preserved specimens, kept with information about the place and time of collection. From these we can generate a record of a species’ geographical…
Natural history collections hold a wealth of research potential. Stuart Humphreys/Australian Museum

Natural history collections are fine specimens of great value

Natural history collections housed in museums and herbaria are generally not on display to the public – what visitors see represents only a tiny section of the wealth held behind locked doors. What use…

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