Science news

  • April 2021

    The Royal Museum for Central Africa has joined 200 other world institutions in an international campaign to raise awareness of the need to protect our natural environment, ahead of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) 15 meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2021.

  • March 2021

    The debate about restitution of African heritage has recently received broad political and public attention. However, the debate mostly involves actors in Europe. What do Africans in Africa think about the issue? The debate so far shows little concern for their wishes and priorities.

  • February 2021

    Anthropologist Hannelore Vandenbergen is investigating the Hutereau collection, from the perspective of the Congolese chief Maroka. This collection was collected by a Belgian expedition leader in Belgian Congo for the Tervuren museum. The aim is to shed new light on early twentieth-century colonial collecting practices.

  • February 2021

    A new study published in the journal Science Advances shows that Bantu-speaking communities in the Congo rainforest underwent a major population collapse from 1600 to 1400 years ago, probably due to a prolonged disease epidemic, and that significant resettlement did not restart until around 1000 years ago. These findings revise the population history of no less than seven present-day African countries and challenge the commonly held belief that the settlement of Central Africa by Bantu-speaking communities was a continuous process from about 4000 years ago until the start of the transatlantic slave trade.

  • February 2021

    Afrormosia is among the most exploited timber species from the Congolese rainforest. However, as the trees suffer from regeneration problems, overexploitation may jeopardise the survival of the species. To develop a more sustainable management, researchers are trying to understand the tree's growth pattern through experimental plantations.

  • January 2021

    The new Virtual Access programme aims to digitise the natural history collections of many European museums. The aim is to digitise, as a priority, those collections for which there is a high demand within the scientific community. The Royal Museum for Central Africa is participating in two projects. The first is to digitise some 2,400 aquatic insects in support of environmental research. The second focuses on bat collections, to provide data in the fight against coronaviruses.

  • December 2020

    In collaboration with six other museums and universities, the RMCA launched the HOME project to thoroughly evaluate the historical, scientific, and ethical background of human remains in Belgian collections. The aim is to inform policy and stakeholders about their possible final destinations.

  • November 2020

    Geographer Elise Monsieurs (RMCA) studies the rainfalls that trigger landslides in tropical Africa. For this, she was awarded a prize by the American Geophysical Union, the largest international network of researchers in the field of geosciences.

  • November 2020

    A team of scientists led by the RMCA advocates for the use of citizen science to better control infectious diseases in Africa. Involving citizen scientists offers great potential for collecting data, valorising local knowledge, and building sustainable partnerships between communities and scientists.

  • October 2020

    In the conflict region of north-east Congo, a revival of historically-rooted political traditions is accompanied by a growing interest in the past. Many of the material testimonies of this past came to the museum during the colonial period. Can a restored connection with this cultural heritage be a catalyst for peacebuilding processes in the region?