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UCL events news and reviews


Grant Museum Show’n’Tell: Soda Lakes

By ycrnf01, on 29 October 2014

Cichlid fish. Image courtesy of  Dean Veall and Antonia Ford

Cichlid fish. Image courtesy of
Dean Veall and Antonia Ford

The Grant Museum of Zoology is just one of UCL’s many interesting and engaging museums, conveniently located almost directly opposite the Quad, and so, perfect for a fly-by lunchtime visit.

The museum hosts plenty of events throughout the year including its exciting Show’n’Tell series. I took the opportunity to go along to an edition and hosted on Wednesday 22 October.

Home to no less than 68,000 fascinating objects, the museum’s collection covers everything from the Tasmanian tiger and Dodo to brain matter and skeletons from species right across the animal kingdom. I heard from a UCL researcher who was asked to showcase just one object from the vast options on offer and tasked with sharing all they know about it to a keen and inquisitive audience.

It was certainly a unique experience to be surrounded by thousands of specimens as the talk took place at the heart of the museum among the many exhibitions. The event began with a short welcome and introduction to the museum, including an overview of its 170-year history, by our host for the hour, Dean Veall (Grant Museum, Learning and Access Officer) who then introduced PhD student Antonia Ford (UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment).


How to get a head. Or, what your skull is saying about you.

By Katherine Aitchison, on 30 November 2011

Can you read a skull? Did you know that the human is actually a fish? Can you tell your synapsids from your diapsids? Well read on to learn all the skull can tell us about life and evolution.

The UCL Grant Museum of Zoology has been a teaching collection for more than two decades, but last night it opened its collection for a public workshop for the first time, and I was one of the lucky souls who bagged a ticket and went along looking forward to getting my hands on some bones.

To begin, we took a seat at tables displaying a range of notably different skulls. We were then asked to take a look at the specimens in front of us and identify a number of key features that would help tell us more about what animal the skull had come from.


Zoology and Mythology: Looking at Angels, Fairies and Dragons

By Ben Stevens H P Stevens, on 23 November 2011

From a very young age, each of us learns about winged creatures such as angels, dragons and fairies. But how many of us stop to ask exactly how these creatures are able to fly in the first place?

This was precisely the question that Professor Roger Wotton (UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment) sought to answer in his witty, playful lecture, Zoology and Mythology: Looking at Angels, Fairies and Dragons, on 16 November.

Saint George and the Dragon by Paolo Uccello

Paolo Uccello, Saint George and the Dragon, about 1470 © The National Gallery


Finding and saving the world’s rarest primates

By Lara J Carim, on 3 June 2011

The Hainan gibbon, a small Chinese ape, is the world’s rarest primate. Lottie Davis describes the discussion about its survival at the UCL Grant Museum of Zoology on 24 May, the International Day for Biological Diversity.

The ‘Journey to find and save the world’s rarest primates’ event provided an opportunity for people from all backgrounds to come together and celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity, as well as the International Year of Forests. Organised by gibbonologist Helen Chatterjee (UCL Genetics, Evolution and the Environment), the evening sought to raise the profile of the Hainan gibbon, the world’s rarest primate.

The Hainan Gibbon. Copyright Jessica Bryant 2011.The evening was extremely thought provoking and provided a means to highlight the crises facing many relatively unknown species. With several people within the audience admitting to not knowing that the gibbon, a small ape living in China, was the most endangered ape, Helen Thirlway, the Director at International Primate Protection League (UK), reported that there are still many people who do not even know what a gibbon is.