The Natural History Museum has a substantial collection of fossil sponges. It contains an estimated 71,000 specimens, including over 200 type and figured specimens.
Specimens of the related phyla Archaeocyatha and Stromatopoidea are stored in the same area as the sponges.
The collection is supported by a specialist library.
Each class within the Porifera is represented across its full geological range:
The collection is representative of all continents.
The Museum cares for many important collections connected with major characters in the history of palaeontology. Find out some of the highlights containing fossil sponge specimens.
Discover what facilities are available in the Palaeontology Department for research visitors to the fossil sponge collection.
The collection is primarily arranged:
The systematic arrangement follows the Treatise on Invertebrate Palaeontology.
Historic collections are separate.
Each drawer has a label which identifies the content to familial, generic and often specific level.
Most of the collection is well provenanced:
Type specimens are indicated by pink spots, figured by green.
The fossil sponge collection is based across 3 locations in London: