Nature on film

Neanderthals and us

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Prof Chris Stringer, human origins expert at the Museum, explains how recent genetic discoveries have altered our understanding of the relationship between Neanderthals and modern humans.

More Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story films are available on YouTube.

Watch our films in HD on YouTube

New film

Part of a fossil rhinoceros pelvis found at Eccles-on-Sea, Norfolk
Clues to Britain’s own ancient Atlantis

A significant bounty of fossils found on a UK beach could point scientists to the oldest undersea archaeological site in the world.

More than 300 scientists work at the Natural History Museum carrying out vital research into the natural world. Take a look at some of their work in this film archive.

  • CT scan of a porpoise foetus
    Pictures worth a thousand words

    Museum scientist Sandy Knapp and curator Andrea Hart discuss the value and evolution of scientific imaging, and Molly Clery has a porpoise foetus CT scanned.

  • Hairy anglerfish specimen in the Natural History Museum collection
    Hairy anglerfish's last meal revealed

    Watch the video of a 3D scan revealing the contents of the mysterious anglerfish's huge stomach, something that has puzzled scientists for years.

  • Ancient human footprints discovered at Happisburgh, Norfolk
    Discovering the earliest pioneers

    Follow the research into exciting new traces of the earliest known humans in Britain.

  • Fungi growing in the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Garden, Marasmius species
    Fungi: undervalued jewels of the urban jungle

    Museum fungi expert Mark Spencer reveals striking examples of fungi that flourish in towns and cities.

  • Museum scientists carrying out fieldwork on the Isles of Scilly.
    Collecting in the Isles of Scilly

    Join Museum scientists on a field trip to the Isles of Scilly and find out why this is such an interesting location in which to collect specimens.

  • Bill Bailey with one of his cockatoos
    Bill Bailey on Wallace

    Comedian Bill Bailey chats with Dr George Beccaloni about his great admiration for Alfred Russel Wallace.

  • Bee orchid, Ophrys apifera
    Bee orchids and insect mimicry

    Discover the impressive strategy the deceitful bee orchid and some other wild orchids have evolved to encourage insects to pollinate them.

  • Peat swamp fish species, Paedocypris carbunculus
    Fishing for new life

    Meet some of the strange life forms Museum fish researchers are uncovering in the peat swamps of Southeast Asia. Over half of these unique ecosystems have already been destroyed.

  • Flat-backed (Polydesmida) millipede in Borneo
    Borneo biodiversity count

    Just what extraordinary creatures are living in the Borneo rainforests? Join a Museum team on location as they survey the incredible diversity of insects and other invertebrates.

  • Cycads are one of the world's most threatened plant groups
    Plants under pressure

    Find out how scientists discovered that 1 in 5 of the world’s plants is threatened with extinction. Where are they most at risk?

  • Orchid, Dendrobium species, watercolour, 1848
    Art of India: Empire and the natural world

    The stunning diversity of India’s flora and fauna is captured in over 30,000 artworks at the Museum dating from the 1750s to the 20th century. Find out more about the collection and its legacy in this video.

  • Close-up of part of a delicate Blaschka glass model
    Blaschka glass models

    Rudolph and Leonard Blaschka created intricate glass models of sea creatures in the 19th century. Find out how Museum research and conservation work is keeping these beautiful, irreplaceable objects safe.

  • Flesh-eating beetles preparing a scarlet macaw skeleton to go in the Museum's collection
    Secret life of beetles

    Watch a time-lapse video of flesh-eating beetles preparing a bird skeleton for the Museum’s collections.

  • Impressive antler-like jaws of a stag beetle, Lucanus cervus
    Stag beetle

    Meet the magnificent stag beetle, Lucanus cervus. Stuart Hine, Manager of the Museum’s Identification and Advisory Service, describes what to look out for, and when and where you are most likely to find them.

  • Adélie penguin and chick. Photo taken by George Levick.
    Penguin sex habits study rediscovered at Museum

    A study on the sex lives of Adélie penguins, suppressed 100 years ago for being too explicit, has finally been published. Museum bird curator Douglas Russell comments on the research.

  • The world's smallest mammoth may have looked like a dwarf version of this full-size mammoth
    World's smallest mini mammoth

    Museum scientists have identified the smallest mammoth ever known to have existed. Adults were only about 1m tall, and once roamed the island of Crete. Join fossil mammal expert Victoria Herridge to find out more.

  • Pasque flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris
    The rare pasque flower

    Let us introduce you to the beautiful and rare Easter blooming pasque flower, which grows in Britain's chalk grasslands.

  • Fossilised leaf of Glossopteris indica collected by Scott’s polar party.
    Scott’s Glossopteris specimen

    Glossopteris, an extinct fossilised plant, was first collected in Antarctica by Captain Scott’s Polar Party. Find out why this discovery has helped us understand how the modern Earth formed.

  • Illustration showing how the dinosaur Scelidosaurus may have looked
    Story of Scelidosaurus, a British dinosaur discovery

    In this video, Museum dinosaur expert Dr Paul Barrett tells us the story of Scelidosaurus. The discovery of this Jurassic dinosaur revealed important new evidence about how dinosaurs looked and walked.

  • Museum scientist Dr Caroline Smith holds the Tissint Martian meteorite
    Mighty Martian meteorite lands at Natural History Museum

    A rare meteorite has been added to the Museum's collections. Museum meteorite expert Caroline Smith explains the importance of the Tissint meteorite and how we know it's from Mars.

  • An enlarged image of cyanobacteria, an extremely successful group of microorganisms.
    Extreme survival of cyanobacteria

    Join Museum scientist Anne Jungblut to investigate how cyanobacteria survive in Antarctica’s lakes and how these important organisms have helped shape life as we know it.

  • Dr Adrian Glover examining a giant scale-worm from the Antarctic deep sea
    Marine life in Antarctica

    Museum marine biologist Adrian Glover reveals the diversity of life in the Antarctic deep sea and explains why it might be changing.

  • Claw bone of the Baryonyx dinosaur
    Baryonyx - discovery of an unusual dinosaur

    The discovery of Baryonyx began a whole area of research on specialised fish-eating dinosaurs called spinosaurs. Watch the video to find out more about Baryonx and its significance.

  • The Goliath bird-eating spider rarely eats birds but certainly is goliath in size.
    World’s heaviest spider title challenged at Museum

    When the Hercules baboon spider took on the Goliath bird-eating spider for a heavy-weight title challenge, which emerged the champion?

  • Waterlilies in the Museum's Wildlife Garden pond
    Freshwater ponds

    Explore some of the aquatic life thriving in the Wildlife Garden and discover what you might find in your own garden pond.

  • Cockchafer beetle, Melolontha melolontha 
    Cockchafer or May bug

    Join Stuart Hine, Manager of the Museum’s Identification and Advisory Service, as he introduces the cockchafer beetle, Melolontha melolontha, and gives tips on how to identify them.

  • Human skull-cup
    Earliest human skull-cups made in the UK

    Museum palaeoanthropologists Chris Stringer and Silvia Bello reveal what 14,700-year-old human skulls excavated from Gough’s Cave in Somerset can tell us about the practices of ice age Britons.

  • Aldabra giant tortoise
    Restoring the Mauritian ecosystem

    Habitat destruction almost certainly caused the extinction of the dodo and the giant tortoises. Could the ecosystem be restored by bringing similar species back?

  • Dodo skeleton reconstruction
    Reconstructing the dodo

    What did the dodo really look like? The first reconstruction, made 200 years after the bird's extinction, cemented its public image. But was it right?

  • Museum botanist Sandy Knapp discusses the John Reeves collection
    Nature in demand

    The John Reeves collection is one of the Museum’s most important artwork collections. Botanist Sandy Knapp discusses the role it played in documenting the natural world in the early 19th century.

  • Needles of a coniferous tree
    Learn to identify trees

    Get tips on how to identify trees from botanist and tree expert Bob Press, and find out how you can help scientists learn about the UK's trees.

  • Sandy Knapp, Museum botanist, on a field trip in Panama
    Into the wild video diaries

    From battling typhoons in Taiwan to surviving long dark nights deep in the jungle, watch videos of Museum scientists on recent expeditions and find out what life is really like out in the field.

  • Scanning electron microscope image of the head and proboscis of a female mosquito.
    Museum's DNA projects video shorts

    Watch these videos to discover some of the Museum's molecular projects and how the results are used across the world.

  • HMS Challenger
    HMS Challenger expedition

    Find out about the voyage of HMS Challenger, which started the science of oceanography and proved that life existed on the deep sea bed.

  • Bluebell - Hyacinthoides non-scripta
    Exploring British Wildlife: Bluebells

    Do you have native or Spanish bluebells growing in your local area? How do you tell the difference? And are bluebells flowering earlier because of climate change? Watch the video to find out.

  • Xanthoria parietina, golden shield lichen
    Lichens and air pollution

    Watch the video to find out what the golden shield lichen, and others, can tell us about the air quality in our local areas.

  • A coral reef near the Seychelles
    Fate of coral reefs

    Watch the video to find out why carbon dioxide emission levels need to be limited if we are to avoid the extinction of tropical coral reefs.

  • Wheat sheaf
    Why conserve biodiversity?

    Biodiversity is a fundamental part of the Earth's life support system, without it we would not be able to survive.

  • Ida, Darwinius masillae, the 47 million-year-old fossil of an early primate.
    What is Ida's significance?

    Ida is the most complete fossil primate ever discovered.  So what can we learn from her?

  • Illustration of a placoderm, an extinct group of armoured fish
    Fish knew first about sex

    Fossilised pregnant fish was one of the first animals to have sex. Read more and watch a video.

  • Derek Frampton preparing specimens for Gallery 6 at Tring
    Taxidermy at Tring

    Derek Frampton talks about how he became a taxidermist and the secrets of his craft.  Watch the video.

  • Mockingbird, San Cristobal © Zoological Museum of the University of Zurich
    Darwin's mockingbirds knock finches off perch

    Watch the video to find out how mockingbirds from the Galapagos Islands, not finches, gave Charles Darwin his ideas about evolution.