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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Specimen of the Week 323: The harp seal

By Nadine Gabriel, on 29 December 2017

It’s Nadine Gabriel with a Christmas dose of Specimen of the Week! As it’s only a few days after Christmas, I decided to choose a somewhat festive specimen for this week’s blog, so here’s an animal from (near) the North Pole – the harp seal!

Skull and mandible of a juvenile Pagophilus groenlandicus, LDUCZ-Z304


Specimen of the Week: Week 108

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 4 November 2013

There is a lot to celebrate around this time of year. Halloween was just a few days ago, bonfire night is tomorrow, and there were plenty of sparklers and fireworks over the weekend (my hamster wasn’t impressed). Plus there is the changing of the seasons, the onset of brown and orange leaves, and it’s reaching the time to dig out the very thick jumpers rather than the medium thick jumpers I’ve been wearing for the last month. It is tempting to write a blog about a species connected to any one of these festive events, so many creatures could be both realistically and tenuously linked to such times as this. But I’m not going to do any of that. This week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

Specimen of the Week: One Year Anniversary!

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 8 October 2012

Scary MonkeyThere was a variety of pun-tastic ideas and directions of literary genius that I could have gone in with this first anniversary blog. Closest to the word anniversary is Anniceris which is a type of grasshopper. Pretty cool, but not extraordinary. There is of course the ANNUALaria, which is a genus of mollusc. But we don’t have one. So that’s rubbish. I could have been etymological- the word annual comes from the Latin Annus meaning yearly, but I feel that is uncomfortably close to the word anus, of which we had enough references last week. A change in direction led me to search for species that included the word blog, and subsequently learnt of the existence of Blogiascopora. However it was a biological fail for the search engine as Blogiascopora is a fungus which therefore couldn’t be used for the blog as a) we are a museum of ZOOlogy and b) we (subsequently) don’t have one. So giving up on this idea I decided to choose simply the most elegant, sophisticate, admired and respected specimen in the Museum. 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…)