Natural History Museum displays University of Bath research

The Natural History Museum has included Dr Jonathan Cox’s research into the hammerhead shark’s unique sense of smell in its latest exhibition.

The permanent display is part of the museum’s new ‘Images of Nature’ gallery.

Dr Cox, from the Department of Chemistry, uses the latest technology in his research to find out how hammerhead sharks are able to sniff out their prey.

Working with researchers from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Bath, the University of Cambridge, Simpleware and the Natural History Museum in London, Dr Cox’s research involved testing a life-sized model of a hammerhead shark in a flow tank to determine how water flows around the nasal cavity of its flattened head.

An animation showing a water molecule’s journey through the shark’s nasal cavity forms the centre-piece of the display.

This is the first time a detailed model of a hammerhead shark’s head has been made to study the creature’s amazing sense of smell.

Developing a thorough understanding of sharks’ keen sense of smell could, in the future, be used to design chemical sensors for underwater exploration, medicine and counter-terrorism.

Being involved in the Images of Nature exhibition gives the research team an opportunity to raise the profile of their work and share their research with the public.

Each work on display in the exhibition has huge scientific importance and provides intriguing insight into the biodiversity of our planet.

The exhibition features works by some of the most eminent environmental artists, including the prolific bird illustrator John Gerrard Keulemans and lifelike botanical paintings by Georg Ehret.

Images of Nature is a permanent exhibition and is free to visit. Opening hours can be found on the Natural History Museum website.

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