Mammals

From tiny shrews to enormous whales, mammals are the most diverse group of animals ever to live on our planet. Equipped with wings, fins, horns and spines – they have evolved to fill many niches and roles. Discover more about this complex group, which of course, includes us. Are big cats living wild in Britain? Why do whales strand? And just how closely related are we to other apes?

  • Brown long-eared bat, Plecotus auritus
    Identify mammals

    From voles to badgers to bats, Britain is home to a variety of mammals. Post your photos and ask Museum experts for help identifying UK species.

  • The head and upper body of Ida, teh fossilised early primate that lived 47 million years ago
    Ida - the clue to primate evolution?

    Ida is the best-preserved fossil primate ever to have been found. Find out about the rainforest world she lived in and what she can tell us about our own ancestry.

  • Oil painting of a famous meeting on 11 August 1913 at the Royal College of Surgeons
    Piltdown Man - the greatest hoax in the history of science?

    Follow the story of Piltdown Man, once hailed as our early human ancestor but exposed as a shocking scientific fraud 40 years later. Who did it and why?

  • Beast of Bodmin Moor skull
    The Beast of Bodmin Moor

    Examine the fanged skull found on Bodmin Moor and determine for yourself whether it is proof that there really are great cats roaming the UK countryside.

  • Virtual Specimen – The Two Faced Sheep Skull
    Virtual Specimen - The Two Faced Sheep Skull

    View our virtual mutant, a sheep skull with two faces.

  • A model of common porpoises, Phocoena phocoena, swimming underwater.
    Threats to whales, dolphins and porpoises

    Cetaceans face many pressures as our exploitation of their ocean home escalates. Sarah Lazarus, author of the book Troubled Waters, gives 5 reasons why they are in trouble.

  • A whale leaping out of the water
    Top tips for watching whales

    If you are thinking of going on a whale-watching trip, Trevor Day, author of the Whale Watcher book, has some tips to help make it a success.

  • The tail of a humpback whale
    Animal migration

    Why do animals migrate, how do they find the way, and how do they survive the journey?

  • People trying to help a beached whale
    UK whale and dolphin strandings

    The mysteries surrounding whale strandings have been challenging the Museum’s scientists for almost 100 years. Find out about their invaluable discoveries.

  • Flying bat
    The secret life of bats

    Popularly known for fluttering in the shadows, few realise that there is much more than their movements that is lost in the darkness.

  • CT scan of a mummified cat
    Mummified cat CT scan

    Take a look at the cutting-edge technology that allows scientists to see inside specimens, like this mummifed cat, without having to dissect or damage them.

Piltdown Man hoax

Men studying the Piltdown skull, painting by John Cooke, 1915 © Geological Society of London

Once believed to be the 'missing link' between apes and humans, Piltdown Man was exposed as an audacious fraud.

Find out about the key suspects and research that could finally reveal the truth.

Investigate the hoax and suspects

Read news on the research

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