Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Dry Storeroom No. 1

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Dry Storeroom No. 1

The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum

by Richard Fortey

Dry Storeroom No. 1
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2008, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2009, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Karen Rigby

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Beyond the Book

Entomology: Did You Know?

Entomology is the scientific study of insects. Defining characteristics of insects are: three main body parts (head, thorax and abdomen), an exoskeleton and no more than 6 legs in their adult form.

"The geneticist J.B.S. Haldane remarked, when questioned by a cleric about the putative properties of God, that one sure characteristic of the Almighty would be "an inordinate fondness for beetles". Of the 1.3 million known species, about two-thirds are insects and one-fifth are beetles.

"There are an estimated twenty-eight million insect specimens in the Natural History Museum, including about a quarter of a million type specimens." (A type specimen being the definitive example of a species against which other specimens are compared).

A popular beetle amongst biologists is the Dermestid beetle, which is used to clean skeletons. They are especially useful on very small specimens with delicate bones (the larvae are capable of ...

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