Latest version published by Biodiversity Data Journal on 25 July 2022 Biodiversity Data Journal

This dataset presents the NHM Fossil Lithistida Collection in the Natural History Museum, London. This collection started to be built with the first fossil sponges from the Cretaceous of Wiltshire, collected by William Smith in 1816 and 1818 for the first geological map of England. The latest specimen to enter in the collection was collected from the Permo-Carboniferous of Norway by Angela Milner, a researcher at the Museum. Although they are mostly from the Cretaceous of England, lithistids are represented from the Cambrian to Cenozoic of England. This makes this collection key for studying this group.

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Checklist Fossil Lithistida Collection Stratigraphic range Geographic range Taxonomic identification Natural History Museum Specimen donor Publication Type status; Inventorythematic


Who created the resource:

Andrew Tucker
Assistant Curator
Natural History Museum, London
Cromwell Road
SW75BD London

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Consuelo Sendino
Senior Curator
Natural History Museum (United Kingdom)
Cromwell Road
SW75BD London

Who filled in the metadata:

Consuelo Sendino

Who else was associated with the resource:

Consuelo Sendino
Natural History Museum, London
Cromwell Road
SW75BD London
Geographic Coverage

Most of the Collection comes from the UK (61%), mainly from England. Regarding continents most come from Europe and North America.

Bounding Coordinates South West [-90, -180], North East [90, 180]
Taxonomic Coverage

This collection includes 406 taxa, of which there are 338 species and 15 varieties that are distributed mainly between tetralithistids, monalithistids, megalithistids, orchocladinids and spirosclerophorids. Tetralithistids are the most common, 44% of the collection, with representation in Central Europe, Ukraine, India, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and mainly in UK-England. The next most common are the monalithistids (32%) with representation in Central Europe and UK-England as well. In lesser proportion megalithistids (12%) represented in Central Europe, Libya, UK-England and USA. Orchocladids (8%) have been collected in Europe, UK and USA. Finally, the spirosclerophorids (1%) have been found in Europe and UK-Wales. 4% of the collection has not been possible to include in an order.

Phylum  Porifera (sponges)
Subclass  Lithistida (lithistids)
Order  Tetralithistida (tetralithistids),  Monalithistida (monalithistids),  Megalithistida (megalithistids),  Orchocladina (orchocladinids),  Spirosclerophorida (spirosclerophorids)
Temporal Coverage
Start Date / End Date 1816-01-01 / 2000-08-02
Project Data

Digitise and curate more than 5000 specimens, making the Lithistida Collection ready for research projects.

Title Digitisation of the Lithistida Collection
Identifier NHM Department Investment Funds bid number 490
Funding NHM Department Investment Funds
Study Area Description Fossil lithistids (sponges)

The personnel involved in the project:

Content Provider
Andrew Tucker
Sampling Methods

Locating and organising specimens in the Porifera Collection

Study Extent NHM Fossil Lithistida Collection
Quality Control Quality control and assurance procedures were implemented at all project stages to avoid errors and repeating them.

Method step description:

  1. Digitisation of the collection data Reorganisation of the specimens Curation: changing the specimen trays by acid free one and use of plastazote Data cleansing: standardize data
Additional Metadata