Earth Collections: Holocene database

The Holocene embraces the last 10,000 years of Earth's history to the present day.

The Museum's holdings of Holocene material comprise approximately 550 items. The chief reason for the small size of the collection is that, strictly speaking, the Holocene does not include any fossils as properly defined, so acquisition has been patchy at best, as it properly falls within archaeological and zoological remits.

Holocene faunas are very little different to those living today. Climate has continued to fluctuate, but not so severely as in the Pleistocene, so the chief driving force behind major faunal upheavals is less active. However in the last few hundred years exponential growth of Human populations and their reckless abuse of habitat and resources is, arguably, pushing the biospehere towards what may be one of its greatest ever crises. Certainly mass-extinction of vulnerable flora and fauna is taking place, and there is compelling evidence that significant climatic change is underway.

The Holocene collections are volumetrically dominated by modern comparative collections - chiefly invertebrate - acquired by major palaeontological collectors to aid in their studies. Probably the most significant subfossil collections are those of Donald Baden-Powell, which includes an important collection from the Black and Caspian seas donated by Weber, plus irreplaceable material from Scottish and Spitsberegen raised beaches; and the Kennedy collection from the World Heritage Site of Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles - another site now effectively unavailable for collection.

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