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  • Specimen of the Week 286: The Notebook Models

    By Tannis Davidson, on 7 April 2017

    Practical Zoology Notebook

    Student Notebook 1911

    As is often the case, it is difficult to choose a single specimen to highlight in this blog. The Grant Museum has 68,000 specimens and each one has a story to tell. Sometimes the stories are connected and link specimens together in unexpected ways, which is why this week’s focus is on a quartet of specimens, rather than one.

    At first glance the four specimens may not appear to have much in common. One is a glass jellyfish, two are wax models of different parasitic worms and the other no longer exists. What they do share is a common history of use, artistic beauty and legacy. This week’s Specimens of the Week are…
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    Underwhelming Fossil Fish of the Month March 2017

    By Mark Carnall, on 31 March 2017

    It’s the end of March which means only one thing. Well it means many things but in the specific context of this monthly series that explores the underwhelmingest of fossil fish, which to be honest is most fossil fish, from the collection at the Grant Museum of Zoology it means its time for a new one.

    But don’t confuse this perfunctory progress of the seconds, minutes, hours, days and months as an excuse for any kind of celebration. That’s not what we’re here for. Instead we are here to review a not-very-interesting fossil fish, unloved by all but the most…. no, just unloved by all. Why might we do this? Well as the French say, “C’est la fin des haricots”.

    So without further ado, as the Germans say, “Wer weiß, warum die Gänse barfuß gehen”.

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    Specimen of the Week 285: The Pig Skull

    By Will J Richard, on 31 March 2017

    Hello internet-folk. Will Richard here blogging a blog again. And for this blog I’ve chosen a specimen that nobody bothers with. We’ve got loads and they’re not exactly hard to find: flat-nosed, famously greedy and surprisingly intelligent it’s the…

    LDUCZ-Z1089 domestic pig skull

    LDUCZ-Z1089 Domestic pig skull

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    Specimen of the Week 284: Horse Bot Fly Larvae

    By Hannah Cornish, on 24 March 2017

    As the newest member of the Grant Museum team I wanted my first specimen of the week to be a corker, so I chose something special from behind the scenes. If you are of a nervous disposition you may wish to look away now because this week’s specimen is…

    Bot fly on stomach lining (Gasterophilus sp.) LDUCZ-L3311

    Bot fly on stomach lining (Gasterophilus sp.) LDUCZ-L3311

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    Specimen of the Week 283: The Eastern Quoll

    By Jack Ashby, on 17 March 2017

    Eastern quoll. LDUCZ-Z2307

    Eastern quoll. LDUCZ-Z2307

    Mongooses, ferrets, shrews, meerkats, otters, weasels and cats: These are animals that most people will be familiar with.

    Planigales, ningauis, kalutas, dunnarts, mulgaras and quolls: Not so much.

    Despite all being small mammals, strangely named, absurdly cute (the second set even more so than the first), objectively interesting in many ecological, behavioural and evolutionary ways, there seems to be a difference in the level of attention between these groups of animal. The latter are all Australian marsupials, and for undoubtedly complicated political, colonial and egotistical reasons embedded in the western psyche, they don’t get their fair share of the limelight*. This week’s Specimen of the Week is a tiny step in addressing that, with…

     

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    Specimen of the Week 282: Badger Skeleton

    By Dean W Veall, on 10 March 2017

    Eurasian badger (Meles meles) skeleton LDUCZ Z372

    Eurasian badger (Meles meles) skeleton LDUCZ Z372

    Hello Specimen of the Week fans, Dean Veall here. Belonging to the mammal family called mustelids, which includes polecats, otters and wolverines, this week’s Specimen of the Week this week is the…

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    Specimen of the Week 281: The Ancient Whale Skull

    By Rowan J J Tinker, on 3 March 2017

    The evolution of whales is truly a strange story, and relatively little was known about their ancestry until the early 1990s when palaeontologists unearthed a series of fossils from the Eocene of India and Pakistan that shed light on the transition of the group from water to land.

    Model of Protocetus atavus skull. Ventral side. LDUCZ-Z3265

    Model of Protocetus atavus skull. Ventral side. LDUCZ-Z3265

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    Splicing Time. Rome and the Roman Campagna at UCL Art Museum

    By Martine Rouleau, on 2 March 2017

    Blog post written by Liz Rideal, Leverhume artist in residence at UCL Art Museum and Reader in Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art. She also lectures and writes educational material for the National Portrait Gallery.

    Being invited to take up the role of artist in residence at UCL Art Museum was an unexpected outcome of Splicing Time, Rome and the Roman Campagna, my 2016-17 Leverhulme Fellowship.

    Liz Rideal, Splicing Time: Rome and the Roman Campagna, 2016

    Liz Rideal, Splicing Time: Rome and the Roman Campagna, 2016

    One theme was to study Claude Lorraine’s Liber Veritatis drawings, in the British Museum’s collection and attempt to plot their contemporary locations, to study his concept of real, imagined and invented landscape and relate this imagery to my own work in the Roman Campagna today. However, it occurred to me that UCL Art Museum might also be a fruitful venue for my quest and I decided to approach curator Andrea Fredericksen to investigate this further. Coincidentally the museum’s upcoming Legacy exhibition was to concentrate on Richard Cooper Jnr, eighteenth century Grand Tour printmaker, an artist who followed the footsteps of Claude Lorraine and who was thus perfectly suited to my own theme. So, in this synchronous and surprising manner I started to consider Cooper Jnr’s work.

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    Underwhelming Fossil Fish of the Month February 2017

    By Mark Carnall, on 1 March 2017

    Pinch, punch first (and only) of the underwhelming fossil fish of the month! For those who have made good life choices, until now, underwhelming fossil fish of the month is a monthly rummage through the drawers of the Grant Museum of Zoology, taking a look at life through the lens of an underwhelming fossil fish. Most you’ll have never heard of. Even more of them you wish you hadn’t. But someone, somewhere, sometime thought it would be important to collect, label and archive these underwhelming fossils for perpetuity.

    This series questions if that was a useful thing to do. It also answers that: it probably wasn’t.

    This month, we’ve got a particularly deceptive underwhelming fossil fish of the month for in all images of it, it looks much like an A-Level art student’s still life painting. We’ve been photographing it from almost every angle and the result is always the same. But don’t just take my word for it, famine your eyes on this… Read the rest of this entry »

    Specimen of the Week 280: Preserved Gharial

    By Tannis Davidson, on 24 February 2017

    Over the past year, UCL Culture’s conservation team has been undertaking work on a project to conserve many of the Grant Museum’s specimens which are preserved in fluid (read more about ‘Project Pickle’ here). During the ongoing work, specimens have been re-hydrated, remounted, rehoused and re-identified.

    Along the way there have also been some new discoveries of specimens that we didn’t know were in the collection. Some of the jars were full of fluid so discoloured that it was impossible to see the animal inside and it was only when the specimen was taken out that the identification could be made. One jar had an astounding 11 different animals inside including this week’s Specimen of the Week…

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