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Image caption: Yellow banded dart frog.

 

A group of scientists and policy makers have published a report this week warning how international goals to reduce poverty are being weakened by the increasing rates of biodiviersity loss.

 

I don't think the report got a huge amount of press coverage but it highlighted an important fact: that a lot of the causes of poverty and biodiversity loss are often the same.

 

Natural History Museum plant expert Dr Sandra Knapp was part of the research team and says there needs to be more research into these links. She also mentioned how the Darwin Centre will be a good place where experts can get together and discuss these big issues. Read more in this article.

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Ancient humans in the news

Posted by Yvonne Oct 8, 2009

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Image caption: A scene of ancient Britain with early Neanderthals hunting in Swanscombe, Kent.

 

The last 7 days has seemed to me to be all about ancient humans here at the Museum.

 

Last Thurday evening, an amazing human-like creature was revealed to the world. Named Ardipithecus ramidus, or Ardi, the female is 4.4 million years old and gives us important clues about early human evolution. The international team of scientists worked for 17 years on Ardi and other finds from the same site, and published 11 papers altogether.

 

And this week, another team of scientists including those at the Natural History Museum, got funding for the 3rd phase of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project (AHOB). They have found evidence for human occupation in Britain as far back as 700,000 years.

 

These two projects, are examples of research that bring the fascinating story of human evolution to life. From the relatively recent snapshot of ancient humans in Britain to a possible human ancestor close to the time the human evolutionary branch separated from the common ancestor we share with chimpanzees.

 

Find out what Chris Stringer, our human origins expert, has to say in the Ardi article and the AHOB article.

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This week saw the launch of our spectacular new Darwin Centre, with Prince William and Sir David Attenborough. Like no other museum so far, the landmark building with its impressive cocoon structure brings our science, scientists and specimens live and direct to the public.

Not quite as exciting, but hopefully sure to be just as interesting, is the launch of this new Natural History Museum Nature News Blog. I'm hoping to bring news and updates about the work of the Museum's scientists and other nature news - the shorter bits that can or can't be made into full news articles in the website's News section.

I thought I'd begin with some of the science happening in the new Darwin Centre, but there is so much there that I will have to focus on topics, bit by bit, over the next few blogs.

But, the biggest news from the Museum this week is definitely the glittering Darwin Centre grand opening celebrations, with its butterfly confetti, mid-air dancing human butterfly, tarantula close encounter with a royal prince and natural history royalty himself, Sir David Attenborough, all which can be seen in the collection of videos we have on our site.

I leave you with a snippet of Prince William's speech:

'The Natural History Museum is one of our great institutions. Its collections, and what it achieves in the areas of research and education make it - quite simply - the envy of the world. This magnificent new wing will further enhance the museum’s peerless reputation.’

Come back soon for more nature news.



Yvonne

Yvonne

Member since: Aug 27, 2009

This Nature News Blog will bring you snippets of news about the work of Museum scientists and other science and nature news.

View Yvonne's profile