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  • Specimen of the Week: Week 145

    By Jack Ashby, on 21 July 2014

    Scary MonkeyLike all professional zoologists, I own several sets of novelty animal-based playing cards. One such set is “Dangerous Australian Animals”. This is a particularly good set as in addition to the usual playing card graphics (hearts, diamonds, etc), not only do you get a lovely picture of a Dangerous Australian Animal on each card, but you get a star rating, out of five, of exactly how Dangerous it is.

    The manufacturers would have had to work pretty hard to narrow it down to just 52 Dangerous Australian Animals, given that most lifeforms in Australia are Dangerous.

    Alongside the snakes, crocodiles, spiders, jellyfish, scorpions and paralysis ticks, there is a single bird Dangerous enough to get its own card. With a Dangerous rating of 0.5 stars out of five, this week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week 124

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 24 February 2014

    Nestled between, and rather physically dwarfed by, a cuckoo and a sparrowhawk, this specimen sits is our ‘Taking Flight’ case. That doesn’t mean it’s a bird though, as there are many other types of animals that fly to varying degrees of definitions of the word. Bats, colugos, frogs, squirrels, etc, etc. It’s a beautiful animal and I feel the need to bring it out of the shadows. This week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

    If I were a woodlouse

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 28 January 2014

     

    If I were a woodlouse, I would stick to wood,

    And I would only go, where I know a woodlouse should,

    I wouldn’t stick my head, into a bird’s leg-bone,

    I wouldn’t use just anything, in which to make a home,

    ‘Cause the problem you might find, once you’ve wriggled in,

    Is that over time you grew larger, and the bone becomes too thin,

    So even if you turn around, and head back whence you came,

    You may find that,

    You’ve grown too fat,

    And have to die of shame.

     

    Emma-Louise Nicholls is the Curatorial Assistant at the Grant Museum of Zoology

     

    Specimen of the Week: Week Ninety-Nine

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 2 September 2013

    Scary MonkeyThis is it- the runner up in the top ten specimens at the Grant Museum, and one blog away from the big 1-0-0! In the run up to the 100th blog I have brought you the top ten specimens at the Grant Museum, as voted for by…. me. I employed strict criteria with which to segregate the top ten from the other 67,990 specimens that we have in our care…

    1) It must not be on permanent display, giving you a little behind-the-scenes magic, if you will, as the specimen will then go on display for the week of which it has been named ‘Specimen’. Oh yes. That’s almost as good as our exhibition It Came From The Stores. Almost.

    2) It must have at some point in the past made me say ‘woooo’ out loud (given my childlike disposition for expressing wonderment at the world at large, this is not necessarily a hard qualification for the specimen to achieve)

    3) I must know (at least in a vague sort of a way) what species the specimen is, as SotW is researched and written within a strict one hour time frame.

    With that in mind, the runner up at Number Two, this week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Ninety-Five

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 5 August 2013

    Five blogs away from the big 1-0-0! In the run up to the 100th blog I am going to bring to you the top ten specimens at the Grant Museum, as voted for by…. me. I have employed strict criteria with which to segregate the top ten from the other 67,990 specimens that we have in our care…

    1) It must not be on permanent display, giving you a little behind-the-scenes magic, if you will, as the specimen will then go on display for the week of which it has been named ‘Specimen’. Oh yes. That’s almost as good as our exhibition It Came From The Stores. Almost.

    2) It must have at some point in the past made me say ‘woooo’ out loud (given my childlike disposition for expressing wonderment at the world at large, this is not necessarily a hard qualification for the specimen to achieve)

    3) I must know (at least in a vague sort of a way) what species the specimen is, as SotW is researched and written within a strict one hour time frame.

    With that in mind, at Number Six, this week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Fifty-Nine

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 26 November 2012

    Scary Monkey WeekI heard on a number of occasions during the Olympics that winners of Bronze medals were happier than those who won silver, due to the irritance of only just being pipped to the face-on-a-stamp and postbox-painted-gold in your honour. True or not, when palaeontology finally becomes a sport and I thus swoop into the Olympic Village of wherever it is at the time, I can unequivocally say that I will be ecstatic with any colour of medal. The species featured in Specimen of the Week today not only comes an agonising second in the tallest of its group competition, but also suffers the inconvenience of having a smaller South American cousin that looks similar enough to be regularly mistaken for it and thus further ruining its street cred. The specimen chosen for this week’s blog is one of silver medal stature, and almost has a face to match (in terms of colour, not looks). They’re big (but not the biggest), they’re bad tempered, and they (would) talk with an Australian accent, this week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Fifty-Seven

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 12 November 2012

    Scary Monkey proudly displaying his poppyThe guns of the First World War fell silent on the Western Front after over four years of continuous warfare. It was the 11th November 1918 and at 11am on this day the Armistice was signed, officially declaring the Great War to be at an end. The true number of people killed during the First World War will never really be known but current estimates vary greatly from 9 million to 15 million. Either way, it was a tragic loss of life. However, it was not just humans that were involved in the fighting, many species of animal also played their parts. This week for Specimen of the Week, we are commemorating one of the many species of animal that were invaluable to the forces during the Great War and who’s acts saved lives on the Western Front. This week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Thirty-Two

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 21 May 2012

    Scary MonkeyBurrowing around in a drawer last week, I discovered a fantastic looking skull with a curious labeling issue. Taxonomy of species changes all the time and some of our specimens go back at least to 1827. Ergo- not our fault. Is my point there. Anywho- it had the common name of one species, and the scientific name of another. I immediately embarked on a daring quest of skull comparative anatomy in a bid to uncover its true identity. So pleased am I by this fantastic specimen that I am immediately promoting it to SofW status (now with plaque), and telling you all about it so it will get lots of visitors and make lots of new friends. Accidentally carrying on the scavenging theme from last week’s Specimen of the Week, we are shifting from mammals to a different group within the animal kingdom. It’s big, it’s (very) bold, it’s (to some people) beautiful, this week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)