A recent article in The Atlantic highlights the important role of natural history collections as a place of discovery. “Natural History Museums Are Teeming With Undiscovered Species” features the tales of researchers who have identified new species using specimens that were previously collected.
Dr. Evon Hekkala collected DNA from museum specimens of Nile crocodiles to discover that the species was actually two distinct species.
“I’m trying to create an army of young scientists who want to work with collections, and who will go through material like this,” says Hekkala. “I love that people are going on expeditions but we can do that in the drawers of museums.”
The article captures the wonder of what may be lurking under our noses and the valuable of this information. “Museum collections, then, are windows not just into the hidden diversity of today, but the lost diversity of yesterday.”