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Dr Emma-Louise Nicholls

Emma has been the Deputy Keeper: Natural History at the Horniman Museum and Gardens since July 2016. Specifically, Emma is the curator responsible for the palaeontology, mineralogy, and osteology collections. Her role is very varied, but a normal week includes 2-3 days of collections management, in which she works on the development, documentation, access, and preventative conservation aspects of the geology collections, as well as researching the Bennett Collection (ca. 175,000 fossil specimens), and managing a number of volunteers who work with her on this material.

Emma also provides subject specialist expertise to support other departments at the Horniman (such  as our social media presence, and new exhibitions), answers enquiries from external researchers and the public, and gives tours, talks, demonstrations and hands on sessions for our diverse public outreach programme, that includes family activities, school clubs, and adult events.

Her research interests are ankylosaur dinosaurs and Mesozoic marine reptiles. Emma’s MSci thesis looked at the palaeoecology of dinosaurs at Hornsleasow in the Cotswolds, whilst her MSc thesis researched the phylogenetics of fossil and modern crocodilians. Her PhD was a slight tangent away from reptiles, in which she looked at the palaeoecology of elasmobranches. Post-PhD she reverted to reptiles, her true passion and academic interest, and is on the organising committee of the Marine Reptile Conference, due to take place at the Etches Collection in Dorset, 5-7 May 2020.

Emma is on the committee for the Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, and the Geological Curators’ Group for which she is Newsletter Editor and Blog Editor, as well as a member. Emma is also a member of the Palaeontological Association, the Palaeontographical Society, and the Natural Sciences Collections Association.

Her hobbies include ‘busman’s’ holidays to other museums and places of palaeontological interest, watching monster movies, and knitting animal toys to raise money for Save the Rhino, of which she is a long-term and passionate supporter. Emma is a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan, with a particular love of Star Trek (the original television series), Lord of the Rings, and the Predator film franchise.