Top 10 science and nature stories from 2010

04 January 2011

From revealing the colour of dinosaurs and the evolution of humans, to unusual lobsters and new species of carnivore, here are the top 10 favourite science and nature news stories from the Natural History Museum website in 2010.

Dinosaur Sinosauropteryx may have had an orange coloured crest

Dinosaur Sinosauropteryx may have had an orange coloured crest © Jim Robbins

1. Ancient Britons were earliest northern Europeans, July

The most popular story from 2010 was about the first known settlement in northern Europe, more than 800,000 years ago. AHOB (Ancient Human Occupation of Britain) scientists, including Museum human origins expert Chris Stringer, reveal the evidence uncovered from the Happisburgh site in Norfolk. See a 3D model of one of the flint tools from the site.

2. Dinosaur colour revealed for the first time, January

The 2nd most popular story was about research that revealed the first evidence of colour-causing structures in dinosaurs and ancient birds. It meant that scientists could give colour to dinosaurs, such as the orange crest on Sinosauropteryx.

3. Thames right whale skeleton unveiled, September

The 3rd most popular story was about a huge North Atlantic right whale skeleton found under the River Thames. It may have been there since the late 18th century but it will now be moved to its new home at the Museum.

4. Good or bad year for the Chinese tiger? February

2010 was the Chinese Year of the Tiger. The South China tiger was highlighted in the Museum's Species of the day, which celebrated the UN's 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.

The skeleton of the North Atlantic right whale on display at the Museum of London until 14 Sept 2010

The skeleton of the North Atlantic right whale on display at the Museum of London until 14 Sept 2010

5. New carnivore species identified in Madagascar, October

At number 5, scientists, including those at the Museum, revealed the discovery of a new species of carnivore from Madagascar. Durrell's vontsira is the size of a cat and may be one of the world's most threatened carnivores.

6. Dinosaur discoveries man gets prestigious award, November

A fossil expert who has discovered more than 50 species from the time of the dinosaurs, received a national award for his efforts.

7. Unusual orange lobster saved from the pot, August

This story was about a rare reddish-orange coloured North American lobster that was spotted and captured in the UK. It stopped off at the Museum before being moved to its new home at the Birmingham Sea Life Centre.

Virtual reconstruction of the one of the Australopithecus sediba skulls, the 1.9-million-year-old hu

Virtual reconstruction of the one of the Australopithecus sediba skulls, the 1.9-million-year-old human-like species uncovered in South Africa (reported in April 2010) © L Berger/ Science

8. New human-like species unveiled, April

The 8th most popular story is about the fossils of a new human-like species uncovered in South Africa. Chris Stringer comments on the research and the clues it gives about an important stage in early human evolution when the Homo group first evolved.

9. First genetic code of Neanderthal reveals interbreeding, May

In the number 9 story, the genetic code of the Neanderthals is revealed for the first time. Chris Stringer talks about the surprising clues the research gives about the intimate relations they had with modern humans.

10. DNA of ancient Siberian human uncovered, March

Last on this list is the story about the first DNA extracted from an unidentified ancient human from Siberia. Chris Stringer comments on the Denisova human research published in March, which continues to reveal important clues about early human evolution in Asia.  

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