Origins: From Jungle to Lab.  The Story of Life's Complexity
Picture: Pinned Insect
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Founded by the Natural History Museum in London, Las Cuevas is a field research station in the Central American country of Belize. The station is tucked away in a remote part of Belize, in the largest remaining rainforest in Central America. The jungle surrounding Las Cuevas is home to scarlet macaws, jaguars, pumas, tarantulas, bats, leaf-cutter ants, and a host of other creatures and plants.

The Natural History Museum in London has 70 million specimens, from plants and rocks to bugs and boas. This “library of life” houses not just vast collections of organisms, but also an international community of scientists dedicated to studying them. Many specimens collected at Las Cuevas are sent to the Natural History Museum for further study using state-of-the-art equipment. Some of these specimens eventually become part of the National History Museum’s permanent collection, while others are sent to museums worldwide.

As different as these two places are, they are connected by the research they support, which explores the nature and diversity of life.

“The Natural History Museum works in something like sixty countries all over the world. But Belize is specifically important because it still retains an awful lot of its natural forest cover, unlike many other countries in Central America that have cleared the forest for agricultural and building purposes.” —Chris Minty, Manager, Las Cuevas Research Station


Origins: Exploratorium: From Jungle to Lab

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Origins From Jungle to Lab: The Story of Life's Complexity Origins Exploratorium From Jungle to Lab Las Cuevas Research Station, Belize Natural History Museum, London