Treasures of the Natural History Museum book

16 January 2009

From one of the first forms of life on Earth and a rare meteorite from Mars, to a lethal Baryonyx claw and finch specimens collected by Darwin.

Treasures of the Natural History Museum book

Treasures of the Natural History Museum book

These are just some of the exceptional natural history objects highlighted in a new Museum book, Treasures of the Natural History Museum, out this month.

The book celebrates more than 200 of the Museum’s most treasured possessions. Some are world-famous, some little-known, but each is chosen for its scientific importance, striking beauty or intriguing story, and sometimes all three.

Choosing the treasures

With more than 70 million specimens in the Museum’s internationally important collections, it was a hard task deciding those to include and those to leave out.

Through talking with scientists and curators who know the collections so well and with public-facing staff, an eclectic selection of treasures was made.

Museum staff delved into drawers, cabinets and tanks to take special photographs. While others used their extensive knowledge to retell the captivating stories behind each entry, including where it came from and why it is important.

Archaeopteryx treasure

Read about one of the Museum’s most valuable scientific specimens, a fossil of the earliest known flying bird, Archaeopteryx

It was discovered in 1861 and Museum scientists are still discovering fascinating things about early bird evolution through its study.

Only this week Museum scientists revealed a method to predict the hearing ability of extinct creatures - Archaeopteryx had hearing similar to an emu.

Nature Live Treasures Season

The Museum’s Nature Live Treasures Season begins this week and is a chance to join scientists to discuss the wonders of the natural world. This month there are events about frogs, coral reefs and more.

Treasures of the Natural History Museum was written by Vicky Paterson and is available now from the online shop.

Further information