It was time to say ‘Croeso i Gymru’ as the National Museum of Wales welcomed a very special visitor – Fossil Hunter Lottie! Lottie spent the day with Dr Lucy McCobb and made friends with fellow museum palaeontologists Dr Caroline Buttler and Cindy Howells. She met a stalk-eyed trilobite, an impressive ammonite, a baby ichthyosaur and a friendly dinosaur along the way…
Lucy is a Senior Curator of Palaeontology at the National Museum of Wales, who works on fossil trilobites. Her research looks at how different trilobites are related to each other, and how they can be used to help us date rocks and to figure out what the ancient map of the world looked like. She has studied trilobites from Greenland and Canada, and at the moment, she is working on some fossils from Kazakhstan and some from a bit closer to home – Carmarthenshire, Wales.
Caroline is Head of Palaeontology at the National Museum of Wales. She works on fossil bryozoans, looking at how these colonial animals lived, how they are related to each other, and what they can tell us about the world in the past. She is also an expert on geological conservation, with lots of useful knowledge about how to stop fossils falling apart and how to fix them if they do.
Cindy is a Palaeontology Curator and Palaeontology Collections Manager at the National Museum of Wales. Her favourite fossils are vertebrates, especially early mammals, and she has also discovered a new species of fossil crinoid from Wales.
As well as their research and curation work, Lucy, Caroline and Cindy are involved in lots of outreach events and putting together new museum exhibitions.
Here’s how Lottie’s day went…
After unpacking, it’s time for a quick cuppa in Lucy’s office, before the work begins…
Lottie checks out a Carboniferous fossil fern that was part of the National Museum of Wales display at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Caerphilly this week.
Lottie meets museum palaeontologists Caroline Buttler, Lucy McCobb and Cindy Howells in the large fossil store.
Lottie studies a Welsh trilobite down Lucy’s microscope. We have to look closely to identify the exact species.
Lottie discovers a big example of her favourite fossil in the store – an Asteroceras ammonite from Dorset.
Lottie explores Caroline’s favourite fossils – bryozoans – in the fossil store.
Lottie comes face to face with a stalk-eyed trilobite, Asaphus (Neoasaphus) from Russia. They may have lived buried in mud on the sea bed, with the eyes above the mud to look around…
Lottie is excited to find a baby ichthyosaur in the Evolution of Wales gallery. Mary Anning would be impressed!
Lucy and Lottie admire old microscope slides in the I Spy…Nature exhibition, in matching hats!
Lottie takes a closer look at historic microscope slides in the I Spy…Nature exhibition.
Lottie gets down on the gallery floor to investigate a Welsh dinosaur footprint in the I Spy…Nature exhibition.
Lottie finds a new friend in the fossil store, a model of the dinosaur Coelophysis. It may be a meat eater, but we think Lottie would like it as her new pet!
Wales was Lottie’s final stop on her whirlwind #RealFossilHunter UK tour! She got to meet lots of awesome scientists and learn about new fossils and research. As she makes her way back to the Natural History Museum, we’re still accepting submissions to our #realfossilhunter competition until the end of the month. (The prize: your very own Fossil Hunter Lottie!) We hope you’ve enjoyed following Lottie as much as we have! As of writing, she’s sold out at most online venues, but expected to be back in stock in mid-June.
This post was written by Lucy McCobb. All photos (c) Lucy McCobb.