The Booth Museum Stars in a New Fossil Project!

The fossil collections at the Booth Museum are currently getting some attention they deserve! Two scientists from the British Geological Survey (BGS) are spending a week with us photographing some of our most important specimens.

Dr Michaela Contessi and Simon Harris
Dr Michaela Contessi and Simon Harris

International science codes require that every species or subspecies of organism, whether living or fossil, should have a type or reference specimen to define its characteristic features. These specimens are held in museums and collections around the world and must be available for study. The Booth’s collection of fossil type specimens are available to scientists all over the world through a catalogue.

Many of the UK fossil species were defined over a century ago, and with time, the type specimens may have deteriorated or been lost, causing major problems.

The GB/3D type fossils online project, funded through the BGS by JISC (the Joint Information Science Committee), aims to develop a single database of the type specimens held in British collections, of fossil species and subspecies found in the UK, including links to photographs and a selection of 3D digital models.

The BGS is partnered by:

  • National Museum Cardiff
  • Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences
  • Oxford University Museum of Natural History
  • Geological Curators’ Group

Together they will develop a collaborative database of British type specimens.

The results will be made available through a single searchable web database. It will include links to view or download high quality images, stereo pairs (anaglyphs) and digital models.

This week Dr Michaela Contessi and Simon Harris are working on the fossils held at the Booth Museum, and they are writing a blog of their work which can be seen here

John Cooper, Keeper of Natural Sciences

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