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What's new at the Museum

2 Posts tagged with the mary_anning tag

Last night, Radio 4's Robin Ince kicked off this year's Lyme Regis Fossil Festival to the sound of scientific laughter. The festival, now in its 9th year, runs from 2-4 May over the bank holiday. Today is for schools, with all the public events happening on Saturday and Sunday.



From fossil collecting to stone carving and rock pooling, the May bank holiday festival is awash with beachcombing fun for fossil fans, young and old.


As usual, a team of Museum scientists and learning educators will be showing off amazing specimens and answering fossil enquiries. Many are already there on the beach welcoming hoardes of schoolchildren. Others are busy stuffing rare objects (carefully) into their cars in readiness for the Jurassic adventures ahead. Can't make it to Lyme? Here at the Museum we'll be following our scientists there live in our free daily Fossil hunters talks.


Lil Stevens, plant fossils expert at the Museum, joins our festival possé for the first time.


'This year we will be bringing anthropologist Margaret Clegg to talk about ancient humans and our Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story exhbiition. And palaeontologists Pip Brewer and Jerry Hooker will showcase some very ancient mammals.


'You can sieve for sharks teeth with fish curator Emma Bernard and expert David Ward. If you can find them you can take them home with you! They will also show you how to use shark jaws and teeth to estimate the body size of some of the largest sharks ever to have lived.



Sifting for sharks teeth at the Natural History Museum display in the Grand Marquee's Fossil Fair.


'Zoe Hughes, our cephalopod and brachiopod curator and I will be explaining how palaeontologists reconstruct fossils to work out how the animals looked when they were alive. Test your palaeo-skills with our drawing challenge! Palaeontologists Martin Munt and Noel Morris are Lyme veterans and will be on hand to answer all your most technical paleontological questions - so you'd better think of some.


'Those mysterious Museum mineralogists are planning a sparkling surprise so come down to the beach and see some very special pebbles...'


The weather forecast is erratic for the weekend, so dress for both sun and rain if you're going but, as always at this popular family event, there will be tonnes to see and do outdoors and inside the grand marquee and other venues.



Horace, the Pliosaur (l) with the cinematic walk-in belly returns by popular demand.
Homo heidelbegensis (r) is new on the scene, arriving with our palaeontogolists and on show with their other ancient human exhibits.


Citizen science is this year's Fossil Festival theme and special treats include the return of Horace the Travelling Pliosaur, the Dinosaur Runway and MarineLife's whale and dolphin research ... as well as our own fantastic displays and fossil identification services of course.


The festival is free to attend, but some of the events are ticketed.



At the heart of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site is Dorset's Lyme Regis. One of the most famous fossil collecting sites in the world and the home to the famous fossil hunter, Mary Anning. And this bank holiday weekend, it hosts the popular annual Fossil Festival.


Lyme Regis Fossil Festival, 29 April to 1 May, on the seaside town's celebrated Jurassic Coast hosts another colourful festival parade, right, like past years.

This year's 3-day bank holiday festival is themed Marine Parade and focuses on the undersea world on our doorsteps.




Our Museum experts will be there in force setting up in the free Grand Marquee, with displays of fossils and other natural history exhibits (pictured right). Among their offerings willl be the chance to sieve for shark's teeth, pan for gold, and have a go extracting some DNA from fruit. (DNA extraction at last year's event, pictured left)


I managed to catch Martin Munt, one of palaeontologists attending, just as he was just arriving yesterday. He told me: 'We've just arrived in a sunny and welcoming Lyme Regis, the marquees are up and I'm looking forward to another fine year at the fossil festival. Colleagues from across the Museum should start arriving tomorrow. I plan to visit Monomouth Beach at dawn, to look for some fresh finds for our table of fossils.'


Martin adds: 'We're very pleased to be showing our new model of the dinosaur Baryonyx for the first time. And visitors can also discover sea life collected from the shores this morning.and learn all about earthworms.'


Martin joins other eminent Museum scientists including Professor Chris Stringer on Saturday, 30 April, for additional talks.


The free fossil festival offers plenty of fossil walks, rock pooling, and nature walks that get you out onto Lyme's famous beaches, and the Fossil Fair, as well as a programme of talks and performances in the Marine Theatre. It's a great family event for all ages and especially for fossil fans.


Looking at bugs with Alessandro Giusti, Museum entomologist, at last year's festival

Have a look at the Museum's fossil festival event page.

Read our latest news story about the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival over May bank holiday weekend


Find out the full programme of what's going on over the weekend at the main Fossil Festival website

Fossil wonders at the Museum and online

If you're in London, visiting the Museum, you can join in our Family Earth Lab morning sessions for hands-on fossil action. Or visit the just-opened Age of the Dinosaur exhibition for some of the biggest fossils around.


Find out more about fossils online on our website and enjoy the new pages: the Fossil hunting guide, Fantastic fossils, How to be a Palaeontologist. And examine the extinct Coelophysis in augmented reality


There's also a great article by Martin Munt on the Jurassic Coast and the festival in our latest copy of Evolve magazine which you can buy in the Museum or online.