Mike’s research follows several parallel strands. His formal palaeontological work is in the functional anatomy, palaeobiology and evolution of marine tetrapods, especially plesiosaurs. However, this has also led to work in the history of vertebrate palaeontology and of collectors and museums, and their wider intellectual and social significance. This has major implications for modern curation and research, for instance in establishing provenances of specimens and tracing lost type and figured specimens, especially the Jurassic marine reptiles of southwestern England, for instance from Street in Somerset. Mike is particularly interested in 19th century collectors, currently Mary Anning the younger (1799-1847) of Lyme Regis in Dorset, Thomas Hawkins (1810-1889) of Street in Somerset, and Hugh Miller (1802-1856) of Cromarty and Edinburgh in Scotland. Other recent work has included the naturalist and geologist Charles W. Peach (1800-1886), the poet Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) and the bibliographer Charles Davies Sherborn (1861–1942) and his book Where is the – Collection? He is also interested in the ‘Tank Bank’ fundraising tours of the Great War in Scotland especially, and the redundant tanks distributed to the towns involved and the implications for perceptions of memorials and heritage.

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