Dr Duncan Murdock

Role summary

Duncan is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Museum’s mineralogy and petrology collections, and parts of the invertebrate palaeontology collections.

This includes:

  • Storage, conservation and rationalisation of collections
  • Documentation, digitisation and imaging
  • Developing the collections through new acquisitions
  • Answering enquiries and facilitating research visits and loans
  • Developing new exhibitions and displays
  • Public engagement
  • Collections-based research


His research interests are focused on: using the fossil record to understand the early evolution of animals, in particular their skeletons; how decay and preservation bias our understanding of exceptionally preserved fossils; and, the anatomy and evolution of the first vertebrates.


Duncan has an MGeol in Geology with Palaeobiology from the University of Leicester, and completed a PhD at the University of Bristol using pioneering Synchrotron Radiation X-Ray Tomographic Microscopy to reveal the internal structure of the first vertebrate and brachiopod skeletons.

Since his PhD Duncan has held a number of postdoctoral research positions, most recently as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Museum of Natural History and Junior Research Fellow at Linacre College, co-funded by the John Fell Fund.

Duncan is a Fellow of the Geological Society of London, and a member of The Palaeontological Association.

Featured publications

  • The apparatus composition and architecture of Erismodus quadridactylus and the implications for element homology in prioniodinin conodonts

    Dhanda, R, MURDOCK, D, Repetski, JE, Donoghue, PCJ, SMITH, P
  • Experimental analysis of soft-tissue fossilization: opening the black box

    Purnell, MA, Donoghue, PJC, Gabbott, SE, McNamara, ME, Murdock, DJE, Sansom, RS
  • The impact of taphonomic data on phylogenetic resolution: Helenodora inopinata (Carboniferous, Mazon Creek Lagerstätte) and the onychophoran stem lineage.

    Murdock, DJE, Gabbott, SE, Purnell, MA
  • Decay of velvet worms (Onychophora), and bias in the fossil record of lobopodians.

    Murdock, DJ, Gabbott, SE, Mayer, G, Purnell, MA
  • Functional adaptation underpinned the evolutionary assembly of the earliest vertebrate skeleton.

    Murdock, DJE, Rayfield, EJ, Donoghue, PCJ
  • More