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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Bits of animals that are surprisingly the same size – Vol. 1

By Jack Ashby, on 2 March 2016

The other day, two skulls were next to each other on the trolley – a capybara and a hyena. One is the world’s largest rodent, from the wetlands of South America, the other is a large carnivore from Sub-Saharan Africa, and as such are not often found together in museums.

Capybara and spotted hyena skulls, which are surprisingly the same size. (LDUCZ-Z180 and LDUCZ-Z2589)

Capybara and spotted hyena skulls, which are surprisingly the same size. (LDUCZ-Z180 and LDUCZ-Z2589)

I was amazed that they were the same size. This inspired me to find other bits of animals that are surprisingly the same size… (more…)

How To: Find Your Head

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 10 July 2013

Do you having any burning desires to have something explained by someone on the inside? This blog series is a How To Guide for the museological musings of a Museum Assistant. The second along this (hopefully) long and happy blogging path is…


How To: Find Your Head

There are a number of reasons, you may have been concerned about this, as to why at the Grant Museum you could have come to lose your head. When the collection was in its embryological state, over 180 years ago, it first came in to being as a cohesive group of objects under the guise of being a teaching collection. This is still a focus of the collection today (hence our ‘weird’ opening hours) and subsequently no specimen is safe (except a very select few) from the threat of being handled by keen, and reluctant, students alike. Several of these teaching practicals require specimens to be de-taxonomised (stripped of identification) which has led to all sorts of potential for human re-taxonomising errors over the years. This open access extends to researchers and academics who also wish from time to time to don the nitrile gloves of handling. Plenty of scope for your head being put back in the wrong box or your label being reattached to the wrong specimen. (NEVER by the current Museum Assistant). (more…)

Specimen of the Week: Week Seventeen

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 6 February 2012

Scary Monkey: Week SeventeenA week ago, the Grant Museum had a special family activities day called ‘Humanimals’, part of our exciting, and ongoing, Humanimals season which is investigating the influence that humans and animals have on each other. Our activities gave our visitors hands-on fun with furry, scaly, and boney specimens. One of the activities was a table covered in a jumble of bones from a real skeleton not too dissimilar to ours. The cunning idea behind the slyly educational activity was for our visitors to re-build the skeleton. We had our replica human skeleton standing next to the table for anatomical inspiration. It was so popular that it inspired this week’s specimen. The specimen of the week therefore is: (more…)