Brachiopod hard parts have excellent preservation potential. As a result, a large collection exists at the Natural History Museum which is estimated to contain over 300,000 specimens, including 10,000 type and figured specimens.
Uniquely, this Palaeontology Department collection includes the Museum’s Recent (non-fossil) collection of dry and preserved specimens, in addition to fossil material.
The value of the collection is enhanced by a specialist library.
The full geological range of each subphylum of brachiopod is represented in our collection:
The collection is representative of all continents, including Antarctica and oceanic islands.
The Museum cares for many important collections linked to major characters in the history of palaeontology. Find out about key historic collections containing brachiopod specimens.
Discover what facilities are available in the Palaeontology Department for research visitors to the brachiopod collection.
The fossil brachiopod collection is primarily arranged
The systematic arrangement follows the Treatise on Invertebrate Palaeontology.
There are separate historic and Recent collections. The non-fossil specimens are arranged systematically.
Fossil material is kept in drawer units:
Non-fossil specimens are housed in steel cupboards:
Each drawer has a label which identifies the content to familial, generic and often specific level.
Most the collection is well provenanced:
Type specimens are indicated by pink spots, figured by green.
The brachiopod collection is based across 3 locations in London: