Nigel R. Larkin

Nigel R. Larkin
University of Reading · School of Biological Sciences

MSc

About

70
Publications
17,453
Reads
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831
Citations
Citations since 2016
28 Research Items
471 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220204060
20162017201820192020202120220204060
Additional affiliations
June 2000 - April 2008
Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service
Position
  • Curator of Geology.
August 1999 - May 2000
British Antarctic Survey
Position
  • Research Assistant
October 1996 - August 1999
Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service
Position
  • Project Manager, The West Runton Mammoth Conservation Project
Education
September 2009 - July 2012
University of East London
Field of study
  • Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies
September 1992 - June 1994
University College London
Field of study
  • Vertebrate Palaeontology

Publications

Publications (70)
Article
A ~60-70% complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known as ‘Stan’ recently sold for 31.8 million US dollars to an unknown buyer (announced in March 2022 as the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi), pushing up the price of all such skeletons way beyond the budget of most museums. Wealthy private individuals who purchase expensive fossil specimens sometimes...
Poster
Stan', a ~70% complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, recently sold for 31.8 million US dollars to an unknown buyer, pushing up the price of all such skeletons way beyond the budget of most museums. Wealthy private individuals are purchasing such specimens and sometimes putting them on public display but leaving them in an intellectual limbo, unable t...
Poster
In 2017, a dinosaur limb bone was discovered in intertidal deposits on the Isle of Eigg, Scotland dating to the Bathonian (Middle Jurassic) – a time period for which dinosaur body fossils are rare worldwide. In addition, this was the first dinosaur bone to be found in Scotland outside the Isle of Skye. However, the bone had been exposed to weatheri...
Article
Dinosaur body fossilmaterial is rare in Scotland, previously known almost exclusively from the Great Estuarine Group on the Isle of Skye. We report the first unequivocal dinosaur fossil from the Isle of Eigg, belonging to a Bathonian (Middle Jurassic) taxon of uncertain affinity. The limb bone NMS G.2020.10.1 is incomplete, but through a combinatio...
Article
Terrestrial vertebrate trace fossils are relatively abundant in mid-to-late Triassic and early Jurassic deposits in the British Isles but to date none at all have been recorded from the Rhaetian, the final stage of the Triassic. This represents a persistent gap in the terrestrial ichnological record. We present the first Rhaetian track to be recogn...
Poster
The Rebbachisauridae is a widespread family of Cretaceous (Hauterivian-Coniacian) basal diplodocid sauropods known from South America, Africa and Europe but their remains are rare. In the UK, only three specimens have formally been described, recorded from the Early Cretaceous (late Barremian – early Aptian) Wessex Formation on the Isle of Wight. H...
Article
You may discover a specimen in your collection that is suffering from pyrite decay and it may already appear to be too late to save it. However, a pile of ash-like substance in a card tray might look like it is destined only for the bin but careful cleaning and simple stabilisation techniques may reveal a useful specimen underneath. If so, record i...
Article
Pyrite oxidation (or pyrite decay) has been a problem in museum collections for many years. The damage to specimens can include total loss of the object and its label. There is no cure: the changes cannot be reversed but the process can be halted. Preventing pyrite oxidation in the first place is obviously preferable but maintaining the appropriate...
Article
Full-text available
Ichthyosaur fossils are abundant in Lower Jurassic sediments with nine genera found in the UK. In this paper, we describe the partial skeleton of a large ichthyosaur from the Lower Jurassic (lower Sinemurian) of Warwickshire, England, which was conserved and rearticulated to form the centrepiece of a new permanent gallery at the Thinktank, Birmingh...
Poster
Abstract: The skeleton of a sub-adult fin whale that died in 2014 and washed up on the Cumbrian coast was recently installed in the Tullie House Museum in Carlisle. The project to collect, clean, curate, conserve, mount and install the 12m-long specimen required numerous processes and skills, some quite unusual. Due to unavoidable delays in the car...
Poster
Abstract: The type specimen of Pliosaurus carpenteri from Westbury in Wiltshire, UK, is the most complete skeleton known of this extinct genus, with an estimated body length of 8m. The whole skeleton needed to be mounted for display at Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery in 2017 for the first time since its excavation in 1994. All of the bones were s...
Article
Cambridge University Museum of Zoology underwent refurbishment between 2013 and 2017 as part of a wider redevelopment project. As well as cleaning and conserving the specimens that were already on display, the opportunity was taken to conserve, remount and re-display some specimens from the collections that had been in storage for years. The most s...
Article
A 12-metre long juvenile fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus (Linnaeus 1758)) skeleton, named Driggsby, was installed in the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in January 2018. The specimen was washed up on the West Cumbrian coast in February 2014. It represents a very rare find for the area and is also significant in terms of its near completeness,...
Preprint
Numerous specimens of Ichthyosaurus are known, but only very few small examples (total body length of < 1 m) have been assigned beyond Ichthyosaurus sp. Here, we report on a very small specimen (preflexural length of 560 mm) that can be unequivocally assigned to Ichthyosaurus communis due to possessing a unique combination of diagnostic skull and p...
Article
Numerous specimens of Ichthyosaurus are known, but only very few small examples (total length of <1 m) have been assigned beyond Ichthyosaurus sp. Here, we report on a very small specimen (preflexural length of 560 mm) that can be unequivocally assigned to Ichthyosaurus communis due to possessing a unique combination of diagnostic skull and postcra...
Poster
Full-text available
There are many different ways to record the three-dimensional morphology of a specimen in detail. Most techniques rely on expensive, cumbersome and delicate equipment requiring a power supply. However, if a very large and heavy fossil or geological feature in the field cannot easily be removed to a museum or is in danger of imminent loss it would b...
Conference Paper
The type specimen of Pliosaurus carpenteri from Westbury in Wiltshire is the most complete skeleton of its genus known, with an estimated body length of 8m. The whole skeleton was mounted for display at Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery in 2017 for the first time since its excavation in 1994. However, the skull is 1.8 m long, very heavy and consist...
Article
In 2004 a large and exceptionally well preserved 300 million year old fossilised giant clubmoss plant was discovered in a newly exposed fossil forest site near Wrexham, north Wales. The location, a former steelworks that had operated for over 100 years, was being redeveloped as a heritage site and was subsequently designated as a SSSI so there was...
Article
Specimens of extinct animals are among the most precious items in a museum’s collection. They are vital for research and education, especially those that have become extinct relatively recently due to human activity. Only seven skeletons of the extinct subspecies of plains zebra Equus quagga quagga are known to exist in museum collections worldwide...
Article
Full-text available
Earth Heritage 43 highlighted the importance and geotourism potential of Brymbo Fossil Forest, near Wrexham, North Wales. The star specimen of the former steelworks site is an exceptionally well preserved 300 million-year-old fossilised giant clubmoss comprising a large trunk and its broad Stigmaria ‘root’ structure found in 2004. However, conservi...
Article
A flint erratic slab bearing a shell of the large inoceramid bivalve Volviceramus involutus (J. de C. Sowerby), with the valves oriented in a post-mortem 'butterfly' association, was collected from glacial float in an area of superficial deposits at Crimplesham, west Norfolk. This mollusc is typical of the Chalk and may be confined to the Coniacian...
Article
Mounted skeletons in museums need to be moved occasionally for a variety of reasons. Sometimes within the museum site, but sometimes extensive road travel is required. In all instances it is best to at least partly disassemble the skeleton but all bones should be cleaned, labelled and photographed first in situ and extensive notes should be made as...
Article
Specimens of extinct animals are among the most precious items in a museum’s collection. They are vital for research and education, especially those that have become extinct relatively recently due to human activity. Only seven skeletons of the extinct subspecies of plains zebra Equus quagga quagga are known to exist in museum collections worldwide...
Article
Full-text available
An ichthyosaur specimen (DONMG:1983.98) in the palaeontology collection of Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery, England, comprises a nearly complete skeleton. Although the museum deliberately purchased the fossil as genuine in 1983 it was later mistaken for a plaster cast and used as such before being re-identified as real. Furthermore, it was recentl...
Article
Late Quaternary reflooding of the Persian Gulf climaxed with the mid-Holocene highstand previously variously dated between 6 and 3.4 ka. Examination of the stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental context of a mid-Holocene whale beaching allows us to accurately constrain the timing of the transgressive, highstand and regressive phases of the mid- to la...
Article
A very dirty skull and mandible of a rough-toothed dolphin with two scrimshaw images engraved on its surfaces needed to be cleaned so that the artwork could be properly assessed. A suitable and effective method of cleaning the bones was required which would not damage the artwork and, in particular, would not adversely affect the pigment used in th...
Article
Full-text available
Fluvial sediments (Cromer Forest-bed Formation) at Sidestrand, northeast Norfolk, have yielded the most extensive preglacial early Middle Pleistocene cold (arctic) stage beetle assemblage known from Britain. The assemblage is composed of 59 taxa indicating severely cold and continental climatic conditions. Mutual Climatic Range reconstructions sugg...
Article
A new fossil-bearing, Upper Carboniferous (lower Westphalian) locality in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, UK, is reported and an account of the fossils is presented. The diverse flora and fauna consists of plants, bivalves, arthropods (primarily xiphosurans), tentaculitids (microconchids), fish scales, shark egg capsules and coprolites. Fossils are pre...
Article
This article summarises the history of palaeontology collections at Doncaster Museum, their uses, and the collectors and curators associated with them. It begins by outlining the general national context, then details Doncaster Museum's specific story, including the quantity and type of materials collected, collection care (or lack of it), exhibiti...
Article
Full-text available
As natural history collections often contain specimens that require quite different environmental conditions from one another it makes sense to try to understand the sometimes subtle differences in conditions provided within the storage and display areas concerned so that the specimens can be arranged accordingly to better suit their particular nee...
Conference Paper
During the SVPCA meeting in Lyme Regis in 2011 a large slab of Jurassic marine sediment (Shales with Beef) appearing to contain some fossilised fish bones was collected on the Spittles slip east of the town. As the contents seemed unusual, associated material was searched for and preliminary preparation of all the pieces has revealed a curious asso...
Conference Paper
Geology and palaeontology collections often contain specimens that require quite different environmental conditions from one another. Therefore the environmental conditions of museum stores are generally kept in the middle ground as far as practically possible. It would make sense to try to understand the subtle differences in conditions provided w...
Article
Clear polyethylene and polypropylene containers with securely fitting lids provide not only usefully sturdy and stackable storage media for museum specimens but can also provide some buffering to changes in external environmental conditions. However, a range of containers used in museums analysed in the 1990s were found to be releasing volatile org...
Article
Full-text available
Whale remains (a left and right mandible, scapula, humerus and fragmentary radius and ulna as well as parts of the cranium and rostrum) belonging to a probable humpback whale (Megaptera cf. novaeangliae) were found in the well-described sabkha sequence exposed in the Musaffah Industrial Channel, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. More precisely, the...
Article
Full-text available
Pyrite (FeS2) is a common mineral found in igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks; it may be present in petrology, mineral and palaeontological collections. Pyrite decay, or pyrite oxidation, has been recorded since the 19th century and various methods have been devised over the years to prevent or ’cure’ it with varying degrees of success. Met...
Article
Erratic clasts with a mass of up to 15 kg are described from preglacial shallow marine and coastal deposits (Wroxham Crag Formation) in northeast Norfolk. Detailed examination of their petrology has enabled them to be provenanced to northern Britain and southern Norway. Their clustered occurrence in coastal sediments in Norfolk is believed to be th...
Article
Near-complete collagen (I) sequences are proposed for elephantid and mammutid taxa, based upon available African elephant genomic data and supported with LC–MALDI-MS/MS and LC–ESI-MS/MS analyses of collagen digests from proboscidean bone. Collagen sequence coverage was investigated from several specimens of two extinct mammoths (Mammuthus trogonthe...
Article
The skeleton of the West Runton Mammoth is one of only a very few Mammuthus trogontherii skeletons known globally. It is the most complete skeleton of this species known, was excavated in primary context, is well preserved and represents an important stage in mammoth evolution. Therefore this skeleton and the associated specimens from the 1995 exca...
Article
A substantially complete skeleton of a huge male mammoth Mammuthus trogontherii (estimated weight in life 9 tonnes) was excavated from the West Runton Freshwater Bed (the Cromerian stratotype) at West Runton on the North Sea coast of Norfolk, UK, over the period 1990–1995. The high standard of excavation of the skeleton and subsequent careful prepa...
Conference Paper
Occasionally, fossils can be extremely big, very heavy, or horribly fragile. Sometimes they may present all three problems at once – the most problematic of which is fragile - and getting them from the field to the lab can be a challenging process. Polyeurathane foam jackets are a quick but messy solution and should no longer be used on health and...
Article
Full-text available
The dispersal of early humans from Africa by 1.75 Myr ago led to a marked expansion of their range, from the island of Flores in the east to the Iberian peninsula in the west. This range encompassed tropical forest, savannah and Mediterranean habitats, but has hitherto not been demonstrated beyond 45 degrees N. Until recently, early colonization in...
Article
Dinosaur reconstructions have been exhibited in public for over a hundred years. During that time, scientific and public understanding of these extinct animals has changed considerably. Changes in perception have influenced and been influenced by the three-dimensional reconstructions mounted in museums and galleries, and these in turn have been inf...
Article
This paper is one in a series on recent projects researching and documenting the geology collections of Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service. It describes three years of work databasing the P. E. P. Norton Collection, formed between 1961 and 1978 whilst researching the East Anglian early Pleistocene Mollusca and those of associated sites, with c...
Article
The 'Collard Plesiosaur', found in 2003 in Bridgwater Bay on the Somerset coast is the only complete and fully articulated plesiosaur skeleton to have been found in Britain for over 100 years. The 1.5 metre long specimen was preserved in the finegrained and thinly laminated Lower Liassic Kilve Shales. This lithology is susceptible to fluctuations i...
Article
1. Introduction 2. Hyaena faecal pellet morphology and identification 3. Metrical analysis of hyaena coprolites 4. Discussion and conclusion Acknowledgements References
Conference Paper
Depending on the material requiring remedial conservation, the methacrylate co-polymer Paraloid B72 can be a very good choice. Not just because it has proven stability and great reversibility but because of its versatility. It can be used straight from the tube as an adhesive, or mixed to the exact consistency required for use as an adhesive or con...
Article
Optically stimulated luminescence age estimates for the Pleistocene beach at Morston, north Norfolk, UK, obtained by the single-aliquot regenerative-dose protocol, indicate a Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 7–6 transition date. The view that the beach is of Ipswichian (MIS 5e) age, held virtually unanimously for the last 75 years, may now be discarded....
Article
The glacial erratic collection at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery consists of approximately 1600 individual specimens or groups of related erratics. It contains a number of items of considerable geological interest, as well as several collections that were assembled by amateur geologists who were at the forefront of the development of the subje...
Book
This book examines the principal ways by which artists have explored the fascination and meaning of stone. At times a belief in the sacred has informed artists’ desire to make art, often making symbols for worship. Today artists are among those inspired to explore form and meaning in ways that invite a contemplative and sometimes explicit spiritual...
Article
Coprolites (fossilized droppings) found during the excavation of the West Runton Elephant in 1992 and 1995 were studied and attributed to the spotted hyaena (Crocuta crocuta) on the basis of their distinctive morphology and content. Recent droppings of captive spotted hyaenas were compared with the coprolites in terms of size, morphology and conten...
Article
Many UK museums store their more sensitive archaeological metalwork and palaeontological material in air‐tight polyethylene containers to stabilise the relative humidity surrounding the specimen, but several manufacturers have recently changed their container material to polypropylene. In this investigation, the air inside a number of empty polypro...
Article
Full-text available
Often when conserving mechanically weak sub-fossil bone material, an inert volumising filler for a chosen adhesive (e.g. Paraloid B72) is needed to create a gap-filling substance to strengthen some bone, so as to reduce the potential of damage to some of the more fragile specimens. Although a frequent method, little is in print on this subject. Tes...
Article
A few years ago the Stewart Company changed the design and material of a range of plastic containers long favoured by museum staff for preventive conservation storage tasks, in particular for their ability to provide a barrier to extreme changes in relative humidity. Practitioners have found that the new containers compare unfavourably to the old s...

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