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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Specimen of the Week: Week Fifty-Nine

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 26 November 2012

Scary Monkey WeekI heard on a number of occasions during the Olympics that winners of Bronze medals were happier than those who won silver, due to the irritance of only just being pipped to the face-on-a-stamp and postbox-painted-gold in your honour. True or not, when palaeontology finally becomes a sport and I thus swoop into the Olympic Village of wherever it is at the time, I can unequivocally say that I will be ecstatic with any colour of medal. The species featured in Specimen of the Week today not only comes an agonising second in the tallest of its group competition, but also suffers the inconvenience of having a smaller South American cousin that looks similar enough to be regularly mistaken for it and thus further ruining its street cred. The specimen chosen for this week’s blog is one of silver medal stature, and almost has a face to match (in terms of colour, not looks). They’re big (but not the biggest), they’re bad tempered, and they (would) talk with an Australian accent, this week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

Specimen of the Week: Week Forty-Three

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 6 August 2012

Scary Monkey: Week Forty-ThreeEveryone is so excited about the Olympics that it was tempting to choose something obvious for Specimen of the Week such as the bronze-winged jacana, the silver brush-tailed possum, or the golden mole. Instead however, I decided to go for something equally (tenuously) related to the Olympics but just a little less prosaic. Instead of focusing on the medals (because as we know it’s only really about the taking part), I thought I’d introduce you to the tools of the Olympian trade. Or some of the trades. Items similar to the Specimen of the Week are used in tennis, football, basketball, ping-pong and shot put. Any ideas? (I said it was tenuous.) This week’s specimen of the week is… (more…)

Animal record breaking

By Jack Ashby, on 28 June 2012

So far I’ve been very good at not linking activities at the Grant Museum to the Olympics. While I’m out here on ecological fieldwork in the remote northwest savannahs of northwest Australia, The Games have been very far from my mind. However, the phrase “new record” has been bandied about quite a lot here this month, and now I find myself writing a post that has nothing to do with the Olympics, but I’ve now already mentioned them three times. I appear to have jumped on the bandwagon of making a spurious link – something that everyone seems to be doing these days. Apologies.

I’m currently working with a small team of ecologists catching animals on wildlife sanctuaries and cattle stations to monitor the effects of cattle and fire management on the ecosystem. This year we’ve caught a fair few animals in areas in which they’ve never been seen before. The excitement of being part of these new records is definitely personally valuable, but I’ve also been thinking about how these single pieces of data are potentially more valuable than all of the other single animals we catch.


Fit Bodies: Student Competition

By Debbie J Challis, on 11 June 2012

Impact by Graham Isted

A few months ago the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology ran a student competition asking for photographic and graphic entries on the theme of Fit Bodies: Statues, Athletics and Power. We asked for original responses to the idea

Greek Women resting at Olympia by Mara Gold

of ‘What is a Fit Body?’ These engaging responses are now on display in UCL North Cloisters (the main Wilkins Building) and the Petrie Museum as well as on this blog.

Rash by Arthur Kay

Do come and have a look at the entries in the flesh. The display in the Petrie Museum considers the importance of physical prowess in ancient Egypt and Greece, as well as the legacy of those ideas today, intercut with the student responses.

The exhibition of entries in the North Cloisters as accompanied by the viewpoints of various people that challenge cliches and assumptions about ‘What is a Fit Body?’; whether cosmetic surgery, the female body and body building, playing sport or the damaged body.

With thanks to all the students for their entries!

Untitled by Emma Wong


Modern Student in Ancient Olympian attire by Awat Rahimi

Romulus and Remus I by Sophie Blagden









Still Running by Antonia Clare Grant