International Council of Museums Natural History Committee *

ICOM NATHIST is the organisation of natural history museums around the world who are members of ICOM.

ICOM NATHIST considers evolution as the best current explanation for how the diversity of life around us came to exist. It remains the only compelling scientifically rigorous account of how life evolved on our planet for which a great deal of empirical evidence has been accumulated in natural history collections.

ICOM NATHIST endorses the study of evolution from past, present and developing natural history collections and supports evolution being presented in public engagement activities.



The participants of the ICOM-NATHIST annual conference in Moscow discussed at length "evolution" and its importance for the role and mission of natural history museums, represented by the International Committee for museums and collections of natural history (NATHIST) within ICOM.

It was a common opinion and understanding that Evolution is a Fact and a Theory:

  • Evolution is a continuous process since life began on earth, still ongoing today, and is well documented by fossils in museums and collections and today's biodiversity is a result of this process.
  • The interpretation of the mechanisms of evolution — the evolution theory — has been subject to a continuous development in the past and keeps on developing continuously.


In 2009 there are two important anniversaries celebrating evolution:

  • 200th anniversary of "Philosophie zoologique, ou Exposition des considérations relatives à l'histoire naturelle des animaux." [vol 1-3] 1809 by Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarck
  • 150th anniversary of "On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life." 1859 by Charles Darwin


The participants reached a consensus on evolution and this position statement was the conclusion.

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