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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Archive for January, 2013

Specimen of the Week: Week Sixty-Five

Emma-Louise Nicholls7 January 2013

Scary Monkey WeekOne of my most favourite animal experiences was in a breeding facility. That sounds weird… let me start again. I went to a facility that had this particular species, which I was more or less obsessed with at the time (pretty much still am actually), and pulled my ‘I’m a scientist’ card and asked to speak with the resident specialist on this animal. Not only was I permitted to speak with her, but she let me into the actual enclosure with the species. BETTER YET, as I bent down to get a close up of one individual, another jumped on to my back. OH YEAH! We have two fully articulated skeletons of this species at the Museum (not as a result of my visit). This week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

Underwhelming Fossil Fish of The Month: January

Mark Carnall4 January 2013

Image of a fossil of the very plain looking Aspidorhynchus. There's not much to see here. Move along now.

It is a lovely preparation. Look at those corners. Nice and square.

It’s the time of year for reflection upon what’s past and anticipation of what is to come. Fortunately, for the first time ever in January 2013 both of those time periods include Underwhelming Fossil Fish of The Month. Last year, brought us the unremarkable Brookvalia and instantly forgettable Diplacanthus. But against the odds some people were audibly whelmed by these ex-fish. It was with some trepidation that I watched all those end of year list shows over the holiday period but thankfully UFFoTM didn’t make any of them. So I’m taking that to mean a job well done. Maybe in some far flung future we’ll see Z-list celebrities and comedians you’ve never heard of discussing UFFoTM in “Top 50 Jurassic Fish of 2055” or “We love the Eifelian“. For now though it’s just you, me and an underwhelming fossil fish every month. (more…)

When Ain’t An Anaconda An Anaconda?

Mark Carnall3 January 2013

Image of the Grant Museum 'Anaconda skeleton'Apologies for the use of the awful contraction ‘ain’t’ but the International Standards for Science Communication (ISSC) demand awful alliteration at almost all opportunities.

If you are reading this post then it is possible that you know of the Grant Museum and if you’ve visited then you’ve no doubt been impressed by our rather lovely articulated anaconda skeleton pictured here on the left. It’s a beautiful skeleton that grabs the attention and brings to mind questions like “How many ribs?” and “Who had the job of putting together what is surely one of the world’s most difficult jigsaws?”. It’s one of the specimens we list in our top ten objects you must see on a fleeting visit, it features in Kingdom in A Cabinet our guide to the Grant Museum and an image of this specimen was chosen for our postcard selection (available now from the Grant Museum).

Also, it umm, isn’t actually an anaconda… (more…)