For an introduction to conodonts and links to other conodont related material, see Mark Purnell's online article (www.le.ac.uk), or The Micropalaeontological Society website (www.tmsoc.org) under Microvertebrates.
Until recently, conodonts made up a relatively minor proportion of the Micropalaeontology Division's collections. However, following the donation of Ronald Austin's research and reprint collection, and collecting activities by Museum staff, the size of the collection has more than doubled in the last ten years.
The oldest collection is the type and figured material of Hinde (1879), but it was not until Higgins' material arrived (published in the 1960s) that the Museum's collection expanded. The backbone of the collection is the type and figured material from the Carboniferous of Britain published by Rhodes, Austin & Druce (1969), but the addition of Austin's research collection in 1994 maintained the British and Irish Lower Carboniferous bias to the collection. However, Silurian workers such as Aldridge (and co-workers including Männik, Mabillard and Miller) have also been major donors to the collection. Recent collecting by Miller and Märss has also expanded the Silurian part of the collection, as well as strengthening Ordovician and Devonian representation with collections from Estonia and the Urals, both in the Former Soviet Union. Austin's research collection also contains minor material from the Devonian and Ordovician of the USA, Germany and the Pyrenees. At present, the Cambrian, Permian and Triassic are under-represented.
Countries represented in the collection by smaller sub-collections include:Australia, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Latvia, New Zealand Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Turkey.