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This collection of biological materials examines the ways that humans have collaborated with, exploited and been inspired by plants, animals, bacteria and fungi.

Featured materials include the actual stuff of the human body (our Directors’ teeth, hair and nails) as well as bioactive glass scaffolds that encourage and support the body to repair itself. Malleable, thermoplastic cow horn that can be moulded into spoons sits alongside early cotton-based plastic celluloid, demonstrating the biological origins of synthetic polymers. This selection also includes alternative leathers and packaging made from fungi, hundreds of tiny cochineal beetles that are powdered and boiled into vibrant red and purple dyes, and a beautifully intricate and architecturally inspiring wasps’ nest.