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  • Specimen of the Week 344: The mata mata skeleton

    By Hannah Cornish, on 25 May 2018

    This week we are meeting one of the weirder-looking species at the Grant Museum, and that’s really saying something. In life it had a nose like a snorkel, a shell like tree bark and a neck longer than its body. Specimen of the week is…

    Mata mata skeleton Chelus fimbriata LDUCZ X186

    Mata mata skeleton Chelus fimbriata LDUCZ-X187

     

    **The mata mata skeleton**

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    Specimen of the Week 343: The brain coral

    By Nadine Gabriel, on 18 May 2018

    Jack Ashby, our former museum manager who left a few days ago to work at the Cambridge Zoology Museum, often talks about how natural history museums are biased towards certain animals. As I looked through the list of animals featured in our Specimen of the Week blog, I noticed that corals have only featured once in the past six and a half years! So today I would like to dedicate this blog post to Jack and make sure corals get the representation they deserve!

    Dry specimen of a brain coral, Diploria labyrinthiformis LDUCZ-C1439

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    Specimen of the Week 342: Alizarin stained sole

    By Christopher J Wearden, on 11 May 2018

    Happy Friday to all Specimen of the Week readers. For my first specimen of the week post I decided to get started with an animal that could be considered ‘exotic’ due to its distribution (tropical Australia and New Guinea) and relatively unknown status (most people will tell you couscous is a food, not an animal). For my second post I’ve chosen a well-known animal which can be found much closer to home, it’s the…

    Our Alizarin stained sole. LDUCZ – V393

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    Specimen of the Week 341: The Bark Scorpion

    By Jack Ashby, on 4 May 2018

    The bark scoprion, Centruroides edwardsii. LDUCZ-J46

    The bark scoprion, Centruroides edwardsii. LDUCZ-J46

    This week’s Specimen of the Week is a guest edition by Front of House Volunteer and UCL Student of History and Philosophy of Science, Leah Christian.

    As a native of Texas, this week’s Specimen of the Week is one that is always near and dear to my heart and occasionally in my shoes. And my sheets. And my hair. This week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week 340: The Gross, the Bad and the Ugly Part II

    By Tannis Davidson, on 27 April 2018

    Disposal?

    Disposal?

    Back by somewhat popular demand, this week’s Specimen of the Week says goodbye to another batch of fluid specimens which were beyond salvation. Last time the disposed specimens were equal parts sludge, rot and mould. This second batch of disposals also has plenty of murky fluid, active decay and rotting carcasses for your viewing displeasure as well as several less-queasy ‘phantom’ specimens that had already made their final journey into oblivion. Please join us to pay our respects to…

     

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    Specimen of the week 339: The St Kilda mice

    By Hannah Cornish, on 20 April 2018

    Our specimens this week might be small, but they are giants of their species because of the peculiar effects of living on an island. They are…

    St Kilda mice LDUCZ-Z1528

    St Kilda mice LDUCZ-Z1528

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    Specimen of the Week 338: a tour of the Platypus Skeleton

    By Jack Ashby, on 13 April 2018

    Anyone who tells you that the platypus isn’t the best animal in the world is a liar. This is my conclusion after nearly fourteen years working in the museum that [probably] has more platypuses on display than any museum in the world*. My first ever Grant Museum Specimen of the Week was a taxidermy platypus, and here I return to this exceptional beast to explore the platypus stripped bare.

    A platypus skeleton. LDUCZ-Z26

    A platypus skeleton. LDUCZ-Z26

    The beauty of skeletons is that every lump and bump tells a story. Bone is shaped by the muscles, tendons and ligaments that pull on it, so we can trace the lives of animals as well as their evolutionary histories by asking why skeletons are shaped the way they are.

    Allow me to take you on a tour of… (more…)

    Specimen of the Week 337: The Mussett Collection

    By Nadine Gabriel, on 6 April 2018

    To celebrate 100 years since some women were first given the right to vote in the UK, UCL are running a number of events and exhibitions. Here at the Grant Museum, our Specimen of the Week blogs have focused on women in natural history.

    The Grant Museum is home to many sub-collections which were either donated by other museums and collections or by previous curators such as Ray Lankester, D. M. S. Watson and James Peter Hill [1]. This Specimen of the Week is about the Mussett Collection, which was collected and donated by Dr. Frances Mussett, a palaeontologist and researcher at UCL. (more…)

    Specimen of the Week 336: The Common Spotted Cuscus Skeleton

    By Christopher J Wearden, on 30 March 2018

    Good afternoon to all Specimen of the Week lovers. Before I get started with my inaugural blog I’ll take this opportunity to introduce myself. I’m Chris – museum enthusiast/cyclist/zoologist-in-training. I’m also the new Visitor Services Assistant at the Grant Museum. I’ve taken time over my first couple of weeks familiarising myself with the wonderful collections we have on display, and after careful consideration I’ve decided on a specimen that is very close to the heart of our museum manager. It’s the…

    Our common spotted cuscus skeleton. LDUCZ-Z75

    Our common spotted cuscus skeleton. LDUCZ-Z75

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    Specimen of the Week 335: The Chinstrap Penguin skull

    By Jack Ashby, on 23 March 2018

    This week’s Specimen of the Week is a guest edition by Front of House Volunteer and UCL Student of History and Philosophy of Science, Leah Christian.

    A couple of weeks ago we gave you a skull from the flamingo, a bird that prefers the warmer climes. Now, let’s look at a bird that would feel right at home in the United Kingdom this week…

     

    A chinstrap penguind skull. LDUCZ-Y1577

    A chinstrap penguind skull. LDUCZ-Y1577

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