The Palaeobiology collections are housed in a modern purpose-built environmentally-controlled store, and comprise around 250,000 specimens, of which two per cent are very important type or figured specimens. The collection covers all the major groups of fossil invertebrates, vertebrates, plants and trace fossils.


Many of the specimens were collected from around the world from the early nineteenth century onwards, but particularly from important Scottish Palaeozoic localities. Many of the specimens are historically important and were collected by early pioneers of Scottish Palaeontology such as Hugh Miller and Charles Peach.  The collections continue to be studied by the Palaeobiology team and visiting researchers.  They are also being enhanced by field collection, as well as acquisitions from private collectors, to fuel further research or for exhibition purposes.

Scotland’s Palaeozoic rocks represent important windows through which crucial stages in the early evolution of life on Earth can be viewed.  In particular, our collections are renowned worldwide for specimens of eurypterids and plants, and our fossil fish and early tetrapod collections are among the largest and most diverse in the world.  A recent acquisition of fossil vertebrates, invertebrates and plants is currently helping to answer long-standing questions about the early evolution of terrestrial animals during ‘Romer’s Gap’, a time during the earliest Carboniferous (360-345 million years ago) when very little is known about life on land. This is part of a major collaborative research programme with five partner organizations: TWeed (Tetrapod World: early evolution and diversity) paleobiology research project.


Dr Andrew Ross: Principal Curator, Palaeobiology

Andrew RossSpecific responsibility: Curation and development of the fossil collections.
Research interest/expertise: Fossil arthropods, particularly the taxonomy, biodiversity and palaeoecology of insects.

You can find out more about Dr Andrew Ross here.

Dr Stig Walsh: Senior Curator, Vertebrate Palaeobiology

Stig WalshSpecific responsibility: Curation of fossil vertebrate collections, especially Palaeozoic fish and early tetrapods.
Research interest/expertise: Vertebrate palaeoneurology (especially birds), avian palaeontology and evolution, vertebrate taphonomy, micro-CT techniques and quantitative approaches for investigating vertebrate skeletal shape variation.

You can find out more about Dr Stig Walsh here.

Dr Yves Candela: Curator, Invertebrate Palaeobiology

Yves CandelaSpecific responsibility: Curation of fossil invertebrate and plant collections with particular responsibilities for fossil Brachiopoda.
Research interest/expertise: Brachiopoda taxonomy; biodiversification and biogeography of the Ordovician marine faunas; Cladistical analysis of the Strophomenida brachiopods.

You can find out more about Dr Yves Candela here.

Dr Sarah Stewart: Assistant Curator, Palaeobiology

Sarah StewartSpecific responsibility: Curation of fossil invertebrate and plant collections with particular responsibilities for fossil mollusca.
Research interest/expertise: Geology, stratigraphy and palaeontology of the Girvan district, Scotland. 'Neglected' and/or problematic fossil taxa (groups).


You can find out more about Dr Sarah Stewart here.

Vicen Carrió-Lluesma ACR: Geology Conservator

Vicen CarrioSpecific responsibility: Conservation and preparation of the collections within geology, including documentation.
Research interest/expertise: Anoxic environments techniques to improve the life of the collections. Also Silurian gastropods.

You can find out more about Vicen Carrió here.

Research associates

Dr Stephen Brussate

Research interests/expertise: Anatomy, systematics, and macroevolution of fossil vertebrates, particularly dinosaurs and Triassic archosaurs.

Professor Jennifer Clack

Research interests/expertise: The origin, phylogeny and radiation of early tetrapods and their relatives among the lobe-finned fish. She has worked extensively on the collections of NMS and also leads the TWeed collaboration with NMS, BGS and the universities of Leicester, Southampton and Cambridge.

Professor Michael Coates

Research interests/expertise: Early vertebrate diversity and evolution, the reconstruction of evolutionary pattern and process, and uses of fossils and systematic methods in evolutionary developmental biology.

Dr David Grimaldi

Research interests/expertise: Primary interest is the very diverse order Diptera, or true flies but research ranges from species of Drosophila fruit flies to the entire 400-million-year history of insect evolution.

Dr Jeff Liston

Research interest/expertise: Pachycormid bony fish and the evolution of large suspension-feeding vertebrates; the Jurassic Oxford Clay ecosystem; Scottish dinosaurs; dinosaur eggs and reproductive strategies; interpretation of growth rates from the fossil record; the history of palaeontology within philosophy and culture.

Dr Olivier Rieppel

Research interests/expertise: Currently undertaking a global revision of the Triassic stem-group Sauropterygia, marine reptiles that later gave rise to the more widely known plesiosaurs, pliosaurs and elasmosaurs of the Jurassic and Cretaceous.   

Dr Michael Taylor

Research interest/expertise: Palaeobiology and evolution of marine tetrapods, especially Mesozoic marine reptiles such as plesiosaurs; the history of palaeontology and museums, especially the collector Hugh Miller (1802-1856).

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