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The spirit collections of Thomas Davidson

Thomas Davidson
specimen bottle

Thomas Davidson wrote the scientific report on the brachiopods bought back by the Challenger Expedition. He was a talented artist and he drew and made notes on the material he received; these then formed the basis of his published descriptions.

Lingula lives in a vertical mucus-lined burrow in soft sediments like sand. Its long pedicle (a fleshy 'stalk') anchors it to the bottom of the burrow and the shell is slightly beneath the sediment surface. Brachiopods have been in existence for millions of years: rotate the fossil brachiopod in the Virtual Gallery.

click for larger image - Lingula anatina drawing by Davidson

The Museum has over a million glass jars of animals and plants in its Spirit Collection. These collections are now publicly accessible in the Darwin Centre.

Pen and ink drawings of Lingula anatina made by Thomas Davidson; these drawings were reproduced in the plates he made for his Challenger report. The drawings are based on the specimens in the jar in the Virtual Gallery.


Brachiopods in our picture library.
More on the Challenger exhibition in Voyages of Discovery.