Sir David Attenborough launched the new Centre for Biodiversity and Sustainable Development at the School of Natural Sciences
Dec 18, 2008
Sir David Attenborough launched the new Centre for Biodiversity and Sustainable Development at the School of Natural Sciences and met with students of the MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation. The renowned broadcaster and naturalist was also shown a number of specimens in the Museum Building by the Museum curator and senior lecturer in Geology, Dr Patrick Wyse Jackson and Dr Martyn Linnie of the Department of Zoology, which included the two giant Irish Deer skeletons which became extinct just over 10,000 years ago.
Of particular interest and the focus of the geological specimens was the newly restored skeleton of the marine reptile Attenborosaurus conybeari (Sollas, 1881). The Trinity specimen is a plaster cast of the original collected in 1880 from Charmouth. It was destroyed during the Blitz in Bristol in 1940. In 1950 the specimen was removed from the Museum Building during renovations and badly damaged. For nearly sixty years it has been stored in pieces in the basement of the building, but during the last three months it has been restored and it will go on permanent display shortly. The genus Attenborosaurus was named in Sir David's honour in 1993 and is a 150 million year old plesiosaur that is characterised by having a long neck and large skull. Sir David was able to examine the skeleton at close quarters.