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A natural history museum is a museum with exhibits about natural history, including such topics as animals, plants, ecosystems, geology, paleontology, and climatology. Some museums feature natural-history collections in addition to other collections, such as ones related to history, art and science. Nature centers often include natural history exhibits.Renaissance cabinets of curiosities were private collections that typically included exotic specimens of natural history, sometimes faked, along with other types of object. The first natural history museum was possibly was that of Swiss scholar Conrad Gessner, established in Zurich in the mid 16th century. The Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, established in Paris in 1635, was the first natural history museum to take the form that would be recognized as a natural history museum today. Early natural history museums offered limited accessibility, as they were generally private collections or holdings of scientific societies. The Ashmolean Museum, opened in 1683, was the first natural history museum to grant admission to the general public. Wikipedia.


Knapp S.,Natural History Museum in London
Science | Year: 2013

Alfred Russel Wallace's science of distribution provided the foundation of biogeography. Source


Modelling has been underdeveloped with respect to constructing palaeobiodiversity curves, but it offers an additional tool for removing sampling from their estimation. Here, an alternative to subsampling approaches, which often require large sample sizes, is explored by the extension and refinement of a pre-existing modelling technique that uses a geological proxy for sampling. Application of the model to the three main clades of dinosaurs suggests that much of their diversity fluctuations cannot be explained by sampling alone. Furthermore, there is new support for a long-term decline in their diversity leading up to the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction event. At present, use of this method with data that includes either Lagerstätten or 'Pull of the Recent' biases is inappropriate, although partial solutions are offered. © 2011 The Royal Society. Source


Barrett P.M.,Natural History Museum in London
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences | Year: 2014

Herbivorous dinosaurs were abundant, species-rich components of Late Triassic-Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems. Obligate high-fiber herbivory evolved independently on several occasions within Dinosauria, through the intermediary step of omnivory. Anatomical character complexes associated with this diet exhibit high levels of convergence and morphological disparity, and may have evolved by correlated progression. Dinosaur faunas changed markedly during the Mesozoic, from early faunas dominated by taxa with simple, uniform feeding mechanics to Cretaceous biomes including diverse sophisticated sympatric herbivores; the environmental and biological drivers causing these changes remain unclear. Isotopic, taphonomic, and anatomical evidence implies that niche partitioning reduced competition between sympatric herbivores, via morphological differentiation, dietary preferences, and habitat selection. Large body size in dinosaur herbivores is associated with low plant productivity, and gave these animals prominent roles as ecosystem engineers. Although dinosaur herbivores lived through several major events in floral evolution, there is currently no evidence for plant-dinosaur coevolutionary interactions. © 2014 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved. Source


Stringer C.,Natural History Museum in London
Trends in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2014

Recent revelations that human genomes contain DNA introgressed through interbreeding with archaic populations outside of Africa have led to reassessments of models for the origins of our species. The fact that small portions of the DNA of recent Homo sapiens derive from ancient populations in more than one region of the world makes our origins 'multiregional', but does that mean that the multiregional model of modern human origins has been proved correct? The extent of archaic assimilation in living humans remains modest, and fossil evidence outside of Africa shows little sign of the long-term morphological continuity through to recent humans expected from the multiregional model. Thus, rather than multiregionalism, a recent African origin (RAO) model for modern humans is still supported by the data. © 2014. Source


Hopkins M.J.,American Museum of Natural History | Smith A.B.,Natural History Museum in London
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

How ecological and morphological diversity accrues over geological time has been much debated by paleobiologists. Evidence from the fossil record suggests that many clades reach maximal diversity early in their evolutionary history, followed by a decline in evolutionary rates as ecological space fills or due to internal constraints. Here, we apply recently developed methods for estimating rates of morphological evolution during the post-Paleozoic history of a major invertebrate clade, the Echinoidea. Contrary to expectation, rates of evolution were lowest during the initial phase of diversification following the Permo-Triassic mass extinction and increased over time. Furthermore, although several subclades show high initial rates and net decreases in rates of evolution, consistent with "early bursts" of morphological diversification, at more inclusive taxonomic levels, these bursts appear as episodic peaks. Peak rates coincided with major shifts in ecological morphology, primarily associated with innovations in feeding strategies. Despite having similar numbers of species in today's oceans, regular echinoids have accrued far less morphological diversity than irregular echinoids due to lower intrinsic rates of morphological evolution and less morphological innovation, the latter indicative of constrained or bounded evolution. These results indicate that rates of evolution are extremely heterogenous through time and their interpretation depends on the temporal and taxonomic scale of analysis. © 2015, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Source

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