Welcome to the February installment of our new monthly format of the NatSCA Digital Digest. This will give your lovely blog editors much more time to write about cool stuff between digests, which can only be a good thing – right?
Conferences and Workshops
It is the 14th Coleopterist Day at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History this Saturday. Do come along if you can, it’s free and no sign up is required.
Early word from the world of Darren and John suggests a likely November date for Tetzoocon 2016. If you haven’t been to a Tetzoocon yet, do go – they’re great fun with lots of informative speakers including several NatSCA members.
News from the Museums
The Grant Museum is hosting a Valentine’s event this year – do check it out – it looks like it’s going to be lots of fun.
I went to visit the new Anthropology exhibition at the Natural History Museum, London at the end of last week. Those of you who visited the old one will notice some differences: Gone are the spinning skull casts worn smooth like the statue of a church Saint. Gone is the disproportionate emphasis on genus Homo and the appearance of agriculture. Instead what you have is a walk-through gallery outlining the entire hominid line, featuring footprints, skeletons, and tools – including a rather impressively preserved 420,000 year-old wooden spear. Beside each of the better-preserved skulls sits a fetching artist’s reconstruction of the individual. The cases are right up-to-date with specimens found as recently as last year. Sure the handling specimens will wear smooth and the taxonomy will need revising in another 30 years but, for now, it’s a beautiful place to visit and I can’t wait to see what they’re doing to the dinosaur gallery.
If you missed Mark Carnall’s BBC Radio 4 talk about underwhelming fossil fish, fear not: you can catch it all on Inside Science. We are reminded in segments like these that the fossil record is no trophy room and nature will keep many specimens that we might otherwise throw back.
We often hear from London and Oxford Museums but today I have a small treat for you: did you know that the Doncaster Museum has a hybrid quagga foal? Neither did I until last month. You can read about it here. I suspect we’re going to be hearing a lot more from the Doncaster Museum in the near future – more on that story later.