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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


I found this… Mexican Plateau Horned Lizard

By Naomi Asantewa-Sechereh, on 17 October 2012

I found this… is a new mini-installation by the entrance to the Museum. In each of the six cabinets one member of our team has selected one object which they have uncovered something new about. Today…

Mexican Plateau Horned LizardMexican Plateau Horned Lizard

Part of my role involves looking after the adoption scheme, which means that I get to research the specimens in order to prepare their adoption certificates. Just today I used some of my adoption knowledge when a visitor asked about the pink fairy armadillo.

I enjoy the opportunity this gives to learn more about each specimen, especially when I come across the most bizarre facts that I could never have imagined. Take the Mexican Plateau Horned Lizard, it may appear cute and feeble, but it has the ability to squirt foul-tasting blood from its eyes forcing its canine and feline predators to drop it. Facts like these are guaranteed to make it into an adoption certificate!

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…)

Win an adoption with our birthday quiz

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 13 March 2012

New entrance to the Grant Museum of ZoologyRemember that horrifically dark period of your life when the Grant Museum was closed and you were inconsolable for eight long and agonising months? It was a year ago this week that the Museum reopened its doors in University Street to crowds cheering, clapping and weeping tears of joy.

The new location has many exciting elements including walls that allow for specimen cramming (one of our favourite activities), a balcony which means four great ape skeletons can stare down on you from above, and most of all- you can now find the Museum without enlisting military personal armed with the latest GPS equipment and satellite communication devices.

Stan the skeleton ready to partyTo celebrate the completion of our first year in this snazzy new site, we are holding a week long extravaganza in which you are all most warmly invited. We have devised an animal-tastic trail for all ages to follow around the museum, solving clues to locate specimens and form an anagram. Oh the genius of it all. Solve the anagram for a chance to win the prize of a specimen adoption. Oh yes my friend- life could be THAT good.

Come and sign our birthday card and test your knowledge on our trail for the chance to become a specimen foster parent. Running all this week, 1pm-5pm, for all ages and for freeeeeeeeeeeeee!!


Specimen of the Week: Week Twenty-One

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 5 March 2012

Scary Monkey; Specimen of the Week: Week Twenty-OneThere was evidently a lot of love in the Grant Museum over the half-term period as specimen adoptions went through the roof. The number of new adoptive parents numbered well into double figures. It was a particularly superb week for one particular primate, with three of our five specimens of the species now no longer orphans. To celebrate, they asked me to make them animal of the week. When I informed them that the blog was called Specimen of the week, they elected a representative. Such excellent teamwork skills for such a mini-mammal. So, by popular tiny primate demand, this week’s specimen of the week is: (more…)

Specimen of the Week: Week Twelve

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 2 January 2012

Scary Monkey: Week TwelveWELCOME TO 2012! Happy New Year to one and all from everyone here at the Grant Museum. We are going to kick the year off with a request from one of our readers. This week’s specimen of the week, the first for the new year, is a mammal but it has large scales. This week’s specimen of the week is… (more…)

Specimen of the Week: Week Eleven

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 26 December 2011

Scary MonkeyWelcome to the final specimen of the week of the year 2011! I hope you that you had a fantastically wonderful weekend, whether it was full of Christmassy activities or alternate entertainment. I for one ate too much Christmas pudding (as I do every year) and spent the afternoon playing with my hamster’s new toys. It was his first Christmas and he was very excited to open his own presents. Whether Christmas is celebrated in your household or not, this time of year is certainly one thing for everybody (at least in this country) and that- is COLD! So this week’s specimen of the week is a creature from a cold climate and one that is as at home on land as it is in the sea. This week’s Specimen of the Week is: (more…)

Specimen of the Week: Week Ten

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 19 December 2011

Scary MonkeyFreshly back from abroad (got in last night), and not just a little jet-lagged, I bring to you on this quite frankly-freezing-compared-to-Mexico morning a mammalian specimen of the week that was inspired by the beautiful jungles through which I have been trotting for the last two weeks. I hope you are already trying to guess what it is based upon the two surreptitious pieces of information I have just given you; geographical location and habitat. This week’s specimen of the week is… (more…)

Specimen of the Week: Week Nine

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 12 December 2011

Scary MonkeyWell now my dedicated and trusted readers (I choose to believe that you exist in this format), I am currently in sunny Mexico trampling across Mayan and Aztec ruins, filling my brain with more knowledge than its natural capacity, and hopefully chasing a spider monkey troop or two.


I do not want you to feel as though I have abandoned you in a capricious bout of neglect and so I have found a most genius way to make you feel as though you are still with me. Our specimen of the week is a Mexican species and I promise that if I should be lucky enough to see one, I will take a snapshot for you and post it here upon my return for your much sought approval. This week’s specimen of the week is: (more…)

Specimen of the Week: Week Seven

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 28 November 2011

Scary MonkeyI am pretty excited about this week’s specimen as it is our first specimen suggestion that has come from a reader (who I don’t know personally.) (That is unless it’s someone I know acting under a pseudonym?) (But that’s probably improbable.)


It is an animal of Hollywood acclaim, is famed for its crazy antics, is thought by many to be the second most venomous vertebrate in the world, and two individuals of unknown species once saved the life of our museum assistant. The specimen of the week is… (more…)

Specimen of the Week: Week Six

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 21 November 2011

Scary MonkeyThis week’s specimen is beautiful but deadly, squishy but complex, and not entirely what it seems. This week’s specimen of the week is… (more…)