Specimen preservation means researchers don’t need to reinvent the wheel each time they ask a new question, making it critical for the advancement of science. But many specimens are discarded or lost.
Paleontologists have discovered fossil remains belonging to an enormous ‘toothed’ bird that lived for a period of about 60 million years after dinosaurs.
A tiny percentage of museums’ natural history holdings are on display. Very little of these vast archives is digitized and available online. But museums are working to change that.
Henrietta Lacks’s ‘immortal’ cells changed medical research – although she never knew that.
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.
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.