Friday, 28 March 2014

What is kept in Museum Cellars?

  • A dog-sized dinosaur with a 5 foot tail from the Middle Triassic Period, in other words, one of the world’s earliest dinosaurs has just been described.  The specimen was found in Tanzania 80 years ago and has been in the Natural History Museum, London,  ever since.

  • A fossil turtle that has been lost for 150 years has been found in the National Museum of Wales, where it has been in secret residence since 1933.  It was found in the Purbeck area of Dorset and described by Richard Owen, founder of the Natural History Museum, in 1841.  It was donated to Bristolmuseum in 1915 from a private collection, but lent to the Cardiff museum in 1933 and forgotten.  Much of Bristol’s fossil collection was destroyed during a German bombing raid in 1940 and nobody remembered that the turtle had not been in Bristol during the fatal raid.

  • A partial skeleton found in the Oxford Clay in Peterborough in the early 1900s has finally been named and described at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow.  Tyrannoneustes Lythrodectikos means blood-biting tyrant swimmer.  It is a new genus, part crocodile, part shark, part dolphin – and all charm!  Up to 9 meters long with four paddles for speed and big jaws with serrated teeth, suggesting it could take on and devour animals as big as itself!