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Live from the Labs

Friday, April 06, 2018

After an amazing 10 years of prep to complete approximately 10% of ‘Cooper’, the ENHM fossil technicians have signed off on their final prep notes. All bones but the right pubis and ischium of ‘Cooper’s’ pelvis have been completed and are now kept in the temperature-controlled holotype collection room in the ENHM gallery. What an awesome effort by all who participated to make the completion of ‘Cooper’s’ specimen possible.



Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Holotype?

A holotype is a valuable original specimen that describes a new species.  It is a term used to describe a specimen that is the first known of its kind anywhere in the world.  A holotype can be any type of fossil, and it serves as the name-bearer of the species.  Even if a better specimen is found, the holotype is not superseded.  These are rare and exciting discoveries, which help fill important gaps in the fossil record. 

Every animal and plant that is scientifically described is represented by a holotype.  If a scientist wishes to study the unique traits of a species, it is usually the holotype specimen they study.  The holotypes are the crown jewels of any museum collection.  These priceless specimens need to be stored and conserved at standards that meet the Code of International Zoological Nomenclature.


 
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