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  • Specimen of the Week: Week 147

    By Jack Ashby, on 4 August 2014

    Scary monkeyMuseums are full of mysteries (particularly when you are as cursed with historically challenging documentation, as many university museums are). For example, why do we have a plum in a jar? Why does our dugong only have seven neck vertebrae (it is one of the few mammal species that should have eight)? Why don’t we have a wolf, one of the world’s most widespread mammals? Who ate our Galapagos tortoise? Why do we only have the heart and rectum of a dwarf cassowary? Why is scary monkey (pictured) so scary?

    Not to mention, why did we put all those moles in that jar?

    After ten years of working here, I am confident that there is no greater mystery in the Grant Museum than this one: why would you stick a battery in a dead animal?

    This week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week 112

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 2 December 2013

    In a life changing move of progressionism, I have decided to do something a little different this week. I know, I know, “Noooo Emma, don’t do it, continuity is key!” I hear you cry. But do not fear my loyal follower (Mum) and other people who have come across this blog by accident, I promise you this is going to. rock. your. world. Rather than look at a single species, we are going to go on a journey of poisonings, lies, and masters of subterfuge. This week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Seventy-Seven

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 2 April 2013

    I love it when Specimen of the Week lands on an interesting date. The 1st April is known for a few things, most obviously it is April Fool’s Day. Perhaps less obviously, it is the 31st anniversary of the birth of one of our staff members. An internet search of the date introduced me to the world of housing benefit changes, the new tax year, an Easter egg hunt (which I subsequently signed up for) and the fact that if you want cheaper tickets to some music festival or other, you should have booked before today’s date. What it doesn’t mention however, not even by page 4 or 5, is an article on howler monkeys that was written with the help of information gleaned from several reference resources including an online encyclopedia of animals that to write the aforementioned article was accessed at 15:23 GMT on the 1st April 2009. That reference to the 1st April is shockingly lacking from more high profile spots in the search engine results. In a small and questionable effort to correct this oversight, this week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Forty

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 16 July 2012

    Scary Monkey Week FortyThe specimen I have chosen this week is complex. Not so much in terms of biology, or morphology, but in terms of behaviour. Yes our specimens exhibit behaviour. The colugo for example, is very naughty, as I have mentioned to people before. Our woolly monkey (see image left) is now famous for scaring people, despite his dashing smile. This week’s specimen is enigmatic. If you look at him from the right, you’d think he was sleeping peacefully. If you look at him from the left, he fixes you with an ‘I dare you to come any closer’ expression as his dark pupil stares out from a narrow slit between his eyelids. This week’s Specimen of the Week is…

    (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Twenty-Three

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 19 March 2012

    Scary Monkey Week Twenty-ThreeIt was the edge of the Amazon rainforest, and I was working at a sanctuary for injured animals. In the dead of night, the entire room lit up as lightening streaked across the sky and thunder boomed down the corridor. In the morning we discovered that a rescued ocelot had escaped from its enclosure and gone on a rampage, killing several birds and seriously wounding a monkey nicknamed Lucia.

    The nearest vet was a six hour drive away. With serious gashes all over her tiny body, the manager and I rushed her to the nearest hospital and literally begged the staff for help. We went through three doctors before we found one who would perform surgery. As Lucia’s screaming quietened and her eyes began to close, the doctor started to carefully stitch up her wounds. Although she should now by rights be called Scarface, she healed and recovered. Although a free ranging monkey, Lucia is now a regular visitor to the sanctuary. In her honour, this week’s specimen of the week is… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week: Week Fourteen

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 16 January 2012

    Scary MonkeyThere has been lots to discover at the museum this week due to a renovation project that saw us decanting nearly a thousand specimens from the wall cabinets and making a mosaic carpet of organisms on the floor in the middle of the museum. (Read more here).

     

    The new scenery was a welcome change for most specimens, however there was one left bitter by the whole affair. Normally he enjoys a view of the museum from a high shelf, shared with no-one. Until he was put on the floor. Now I assure you he was placed there with delicate loving care. However, what we neglected to do was face him in the right direction. So instead of a sea of both new and familiar animal faces to amuse him, he had a brown cupboard door, about an inch away from his nose. For two weeks. Whoops.

     

    Feeling bad about this oversight (or subsequent undersight… as it were) I placated him by making him specimen of the week. The specimen of the week therefore is…  (more…)