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  • Archive for September, 2012

    Specimen of the Week: Week Forty-Nine

    By Naomi Asantewa-Sechereh, on 17 September 2012

    Scary MonkeyEmma is away this week, and in her absence I have volunteered to write Specimen of the Week as the now not-so-very-new newbie (I started two months ago…). The specimen I have chosen was brought to my attention when a visitor came into the Museum to make an adoption. After much deliberation they chose the said specimen. The words ‘pink’ and ‘fairy’ make up part of its common name, which I feel is enough justification on its own. Did I mention it’s pink? And it has a furry belly, so what’s not to like?


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

    Specimen of the Week: Week Forty-Eight

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 10 September 2012

    Scary MonkeyEvery Monday I chose my Specimen of the Week with the care and attention of a model kit expert applying the last decal. We have 4000+ specimens on display and every week I get to draw your attention to just one. The specimen may be chosen for its unusual preservation state, because it represents an intriguing species hanging off the branch of little heard of creatures on the evolutionary tree, or because the specimen featured in my life recently for some reason and endeared itself to me. The last in the list has been the most popular reason to date. This week I was perusing the shelves for specimens to use in a student practical and keeping a sharp eye for the subject of the next Specimen of the Week, when a friend popped in to say ‘hello and how do you do’ to his adopted flying frog. Having exhausted conversation with the largely inanimate amphibian he turned his attention to me and my Specimen of the Week. The subsequent random tangents of conversation resulted in him standing straight, with one arm out pointing, his eyes closed, and spinning in circles as small children ducked out of the way whilst he waited for me to shout ‘STOP’. The next Specimen of the Week lay beyond his finger in the direction to which he pointed. We immediately embarked on a journey of discovery. The first specimen we came across was the dugong, at which point it was decided by unanimous vote that his finger had in fact been pointing over that specimen. Next in line of sight was the whale case, comprising multiple bits and bobs of various parts of the anatomy of several whale species. As we edged closer, wondering what the SotW would turn out to be, we saw it. On the same table as the dugong, in front of the whale case, and clearly what the finger had been trying to tell us it lay unassuming it it’s perspex box. ‘Ah haaaaaaaaa’ I declared aloud, ‘this week’s Specimen of the Week is…’ (more…)

    Happy 76th Thylacine day

    By Jack Ashby, on 7 September 2012

    Another year has passed since the last known thylacine – one of the greatest icons of extinction – died of exposure. That makes 76 years today.

    Thylacine at ZSL

    Thylacine: A species that was alive within living memory

    We have celebrated the thylacine here at the Grant Museum for some time. We have some fantastic specimens – including one of the only fluid preserved adults (with the added bonus of having been dissected by Victorian evolutionary giant Thomas Henry Huxley), and skeleton from the early 1800s, which belonged to Grant himself. The only recent thylacine-based activity that happened at the Museum was for all our thylacine-geek colleagues to watch The Hunter together, a film about a bounty-hunter hired to collect the last individual for an evil bio-tech company. It was brilliant.

    Here on this blog we have told tales of thylacine apparitions, potentially new specimens, the lessons of extinction and the thylacine’s own story, which ended so tragically on 7th September 1936. On 2012’s thylacine day I’m going to spread the net a little further. (more…)

    A picture paints a thousand worms

    By Jack Ashby, on 6 September 2012

    Getty images in the mailKeen-eyed media-hungry readers may well have been seeing a lot of beautiful pictures of the Grant Museum on news websites this week. On Tuesday a photographer – Peter Macdiarmid – visited from Getty Images to shoot our collection, displays and store rooms in all their glory.

    That very same day news sites started publishing the gallery of images across the world (strangely a large number of outlets in Washington and Texas seemed to love it). Closer to home the Telegraph, Daily Mail and Huffington Post published the full gallery, containing some of the best images I’ve seen of our beautiful specimens. Click on any of those links to take a peek, choosing your preferred purveyor of information. My favourite is the Huffington Post, which gives the best info about the Grant.

    The Guardian and Wired also featured a pic in their respective Picture of the Day offerings.

    Do have a look as they really are stunning. It will come as no surprise that the beloved moles feature, and the best looking worms I ever saw.

    Specimen of the Week: Week Forty-Seven

    By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 3 September 2012

    Scary Monkey WeekA while back I went to a pub quiz with my parents. I think that they, and their fellow team members, were under the impression that I and my four degrees would bring a dose of omniscience to the table. Four degrees I do have, but they are not four degrees in general knowledge. Sadly, for my team. Rather, they are in a niche area getting more and more specialised as you travel up the qualification scale. If you want to know the average length of a sand tiger shark’s right clasper, give me a shout and a gold medal. But otherwise I’m sadly lacking in value when it comes to providing an answer. You can imagine my delight therefore, when my moment came to shine and prove my worth, as the compere asked a question on zoology. So elated was I that in a fit of new found confidence I shouted ‘Can we have a bonus point if we know the scientific name?’ to which the lady surprisingly and inconveniently agreed. I say inconveniently because I knew that I knew but in that moment, under the self-imposed pressure of the situation, could I remember that flinging flanging scientific name? You bet your snub-nosed monkey I couldn’t. Curses. So in an effort to prevent you my dear reader from ever suffering the same humiliation, I am now going to use it several times in this blog so that it becomes firmly implanted in all our memories. This week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)