May 17, 2022

UK: Natural History Museum Digitises Darwin’s Lost Megatherium Specimen to Mark the 159th Anniversary of the Publication of “On the Origin of Species”

From The Natural History Museum:

Museum scientists have re-discovered and digitised a fragment of one of Charles Darwin’s Megatherium fossils.

Unaccounted for since 1845, the team have digitally re-united it with its corresponding piece, piecing back together this part of the sloth’s cranium for the first time since Darwin discovered it on a beach in Argentina in September 1832.

The Megatherium was a giant ground sloth native to South America. Growing to the size of an elephant, they were some of the largest land animals roaming the landscape when they lived until some 10,000 years ago.

The data will be released to the public via the Museum’s Data Portal on Friday 23 November to commemorate the 159th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, first published on 24 November 1859. Models will also be released onto the 3D platform

As part of a wider project digitising Darwin’s entire collection of fossil mammals, scientists at the Museum set about researching the Megatherium specimens, important discoveries for the young naturalist. Today, the Museum holds three specimens of Megatherium. The final piece of this collection was a specimen that was in two parts. One fragment is held by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) and the other resides at Down House, the home of Darwin.

Learn More About the Megatherium Specimens, Direct to Complete Announcement

Direct to Digitising Darwin’s Fossil Mammals
View Digitised Megatherium Fossil

Direct to 3D Models (via SketchFab)

Direct to Natural History Museum Data Portal

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.