Cretaceous dinosaur material

The dinosaur collection at the Natural History Museum contains a variety of Cretaceous material gathered from around the world through expeditions, donations and other acquisitions.

Mantell Collections 

The collection was founded on Gideon Mantell’s collections, which are rich in material from the Lower Cretaceous (Wealden) in Sussex.

Mantell’s collections include two of the three taxa for which Richard Owen coined the name ‘Dinosauria’ in 1841:

  • Iguanodon
  • Hylaeosaurus

Hulke, Hooley and Fox Collections 

Material from the Lower Cretaceous of the Isle of Wight includes the Hulke, Hooley and Fox collections of:

  • sauropods
  • Iguanodon and Hypsilophodon. Both of these ornithopods have mounted skeletons on display in the Dinosaur Gallery

These collections date from the late 1800s to early 1900s.

Nopcsa Collection 

The Nopcsa Collection dating from 1906 contains fossils from the late Cretaceous island locality in Romania:

  • small iguanodontians
  • hadrosaurs
  • sauropods

Sternberg Collections 

The Natural History Museum commissioned 2 collections from Charles H Sternberg:

  1. In 1909, from the Maastrichtian Lance/Hell Creek Formation. This includes a skull of the horned dinosaur Triceratops, which is on display in the Dinosaur gallery.
  2. In 1916, from the Campanian Oldman Formation in Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta. Part of this shipment was lost at sea in 1917 when the SS Mount Temple was sunk by a German Torpedo

W E Cutler Collections 

Material collected by W E Cutler from Mexico Ranch, in Dinosaur Provincial Park was purchased in 1916. It includes:

  • representative material of the same groups as the Sternberg Collections
  • a skull of the horned dinosaur Centrosaurus, which is on display in the Dinosaur Gallery 

Other Cretaceous material 

Sauropods from the latest Cretaceous in India were acquired in the late 1800s to 1900s.

Large collections of Late Cretaceous North American material were purchased in the early 20th century including:

  • hadrosaurs
  • ceratopsians
  • theropods
  • ankylosaurs

More sauropods resulted from a joint 1988 expedition to the early Cretaceous of Niger involving the Natural History Museum and the University of Kingston.

The holotype of the spinosaur, Baryonyx walkeri, was collected from the Barremian in Surrey in 1983.

A small ornithopod, not yet fully described, was collected from Vega Island in the Antarctic Peninsula in 1989.

Other recent acquisitions include part of the holotype of the allosauroid Neovenator from the Lower Cretaceous of the Isle of Wight.