Mr Mark Graham

Mark Graham, Preparator.
  • Preparator
  • Science Facilities department
  • Conservation Centre
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road
London
SW7 5BD

Biography

As an antidote to the stresses of a successful career in marketing management and consultancy, I commenced volunteering at the museum in 2006, which led to a dramatic change in career path, when my passion for palaeontology became a full time job as the Museum’s fossil preparator.

Role

I am based in the Conservation Centre laboratory and work in the area dedicated to the preparation of fossils for scientific research or display purposes. My role involves the removal of the surrounding rock (matrix) from specimens in order to reveal their morphological details. 

The techniques employed are determined by the type of matrix, and the size, composition and condition of the fossil material. Mechanical preparation incorporates a variety of hand tools, ranging from fine steel pins used under microscopy to power driven cutters and pneumatic chisels. For some types of material, chemical preparation involving the use of acids is employed. 

My role also includes conducting commercial work for the museum and the  replication of specimens (making moulds, casts and peels). I also participate in fieldwork and attend trade exhibitions to obtain new specimens for the museum collections.

Interests

My interest in palaeontology is very broad based, with my main area of interest in the reptiles of the Mesozoic era. I am an active and founding  member of a research group ‘the Oxford Clay Working Group’ and regularly undertake fieldwork in the Callovian stage deposits of Peterborough, UK.

Publications

Farke, A A, Ryan, M J, Barrett, P M, Tanke, D H, Braman D R, Loewen. M A & Graham, M R. A new centrosaurine from the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, Canada, and the evolution of parietal ornamentation in horned dinosaurs. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 56 (4), 2011: 691-702 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4202/app.2010.0121

Friedman, M, Johanson, Z, Harrington, R C, Near, T J & Graham, M R. The oldest fossil sharksucker reveals evolutionary origin of the remora adhesion disc. Proceedings of the Royal Society (B): biological sciences.

Graham, M R. The conservation and mounting of a large skull of the ichthyosaur Temnodontosaurus platyodon from the Jurassic coast of England,UK. Abstracts 6th Annual Fossil Preparation & Collections Symposium at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, April 20-22, 2013

Upcoming publications

Graham M R and Allington-Jones, L. Challenges encountered during the preparation by acid-resin transfer of fossil fishes from Monte Bolca, Italy.

Graham, M R & Tanke, D H. The results of survey in 2014 to gauge awareness amongst fossil preparators of the condition ‘Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome’ (HAVS), which is caused by prolonged exposure to vibrating tools and specifically air scribes.

Additionally there are two further papers in draft on which I am credited:

  • The skulls of the Permian amphibian Endothiodon ruhuhuensis 
  • A titanosaurian sauropod from the Isle of Wight