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Specimen of the Week 391: The Domestic Cat Skeleton

Katie Davenport-Mackey17 January 2020

This blog was written by UCL Culture volunteer Jingyuan Zou.

The Grant Museum not only has many fascinating specimens in its collection such as the subfossils of extinct giant deer and dodo bones, skeletons of lions and dugongs, but also many common domestic animals that we may see in everyday life. Many people may be familiar with the appearance of an extinct animal such as saber-toothed cat, however often the skeletons of more common animals are the most unfamiliar specimens viewed from a museum. This week’s Specimen of the Week features one such ‘common’ animal that looks quite different in its Grant Museum guise…

**The Domestic Cat Skeleton**

 

LDUCZ-Z2602 Felis silvestris catus Domestic cat skeleton

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Specimen of the Week 385: UCL skulls

ucwehlc12 July 2019

This blog was written by Lily Garnett, volunteer at the UCL Pathology Museum

UCL.16.009 and UCL.16.018 are skulls. Like any human face, although they have the same features, they look different. They have both been processed for medical teaching, with cuts and hooks to reveal the inner workings of the cranium.

In terms of provenance, the history of these two individuals remains a mystery. The UCL prefix to their number indicates that they were found within the collection and their history prior to this is unknown. Before accurate plastic models became available in the 1990s, real human bones were used for teaching.

But where do you get a skeleton from?

Skulls UCL.16.009 and UCL.16.018

Skulls UCL.16.009 and UCL.16.018

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Specimen of the Week 338: a tour of the Platypus Skeleton

Jack Ashby13 April 2018

Anyone who tells you that the platypus isn’t the best animal in the world is a liar. This is my conclusion after nearly fourteen years working in the museum that [probably] has more platypuses on display than any museum in the world*. My first ever Grant Museum Specimen of the Week was a taxidermy platypus, and here I return to this exceptional beast to explore the platypus stripped bare.

A platypus skeleton. LDUCZ-Z26

A platypus skeleton. LDUCZ-Z26

The beauty of skeletons is that every lump and bump tells a story. Bone is shaped by the muscles, tendons and ligaments that pull on it, so we can trace the lives of animals as well as their evolutionary histories by asking why skeletons are shaped the way they are.

Allow me to take you on a tour of… (more…)

How did it get like that?

Will J Richard26 April 2017

Grant Museum Visitor Services Volunteer Nicole Barber answers a question often put to her by the museum’s visitors…

How did it get like that?

Surrounded by the Grant Museum’s many exciting specimens, it’s not often you think of the painstaking preparation that went into each one before they were put on display. (Or at least I don’t, I’m usually far more interested in what’s in the case rather than how it got there.) The process of preparing zoological specimens is a lengthy one, involving some complicated and often quite gory techniques. The specimens in our collection have been pickled, taxidermied, pinned, stained, disarticulated, and re-articulated to make them educational and interesting to both researchers and the general public. We’ve previously explored some of the more unusual display techniques such as staining with red alizarin, or (and don’t pretend you don’t know which specimen this is) cramming things into jars, but what about our more traditional skeletal specimens?

LDUCZ-Z2701 baboon skeleton

LDUCZ-Z2701 baboon skeleton

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Specimen of the week 269: the dogfish

Will J Richard9 December 2016

Hello people of the internet. Will Richard here blogging away about a favourite of mine from the Grant Museum’s collection. This week I’ve chosen a specimen that’s a little bit of everything: dog, fish, cat and shark. That’s right folks, so good they named it twice, it’s the…

LDUCZ-V1081 lesser-spotted dogfish

LDUCZ-V1081 lesser-spotted dogfish

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Specimen of the Week 262: Little spotted kiwi

ucwepwv21 October 2016

Welcome zoology fans, it’s another installation of the Specimen of the Week and this time we have something I like to call the Badger bird. I call it that not because it has black and white stripes on its face (it doesn’t), but because it’s the closest the bird world has managed to get to a myopic, snuffling, nocturnal, earthworm-devouring, somewhat stinky, mammal. That’s right, it’s the

LDUCZ-Y1575 Apteryx owenii

LDUCZ-Y1575 Apteryx owenii skeleton

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Specimen of the Week 241 – White-rumped ocean-runner

ucwepwv27 May 2016

This Friday I have a specimen for you that I picked simply because I like it:

LDUCZ-Y1540_IMG33 - Oceanodromus_leucorhoa-skeleton

LDUCZ-Y1540 Oceanodromus leucorhoa skeleton

This is the skeleton of a white-rumped ocean-runner (a literal translation of the scientific name Oceanodroma leucorhoa), but it’s more commonly known as: (more…)

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

Jack Ashby2 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…)

Specimen of the Week 213: The Enigmatic Gibbon

tcrnrh19 November 2015

Hello Grant Museum blog readers and zoology enthusiasts, it’s Rachel Bray here. You may be wondering who I am, unless you saw a Specimen of the Week blog by me back in May when I temporarily joined the Museum for my MA placement. I am very lucky to be back at the Grant until Christmas to work with the Museum’s wonderful learning and events programme. As part of my return I’m pleased to be getting back into the Specimen of the Week swing of things by researching this week’s candidate which is…

Photograph of the grey gibbon specimen

LDUCZ-Z475 Hylobates sp.

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Specimen of the Week 201: The African bullfrog

Tannis Davidson17 August 2015

This week’s Specimen of the Week was chosen from the thousands of possible contenders in a method designed to faciliate a more efficent decision-making process.  Rather than highlighting a personal favourite or an unsung hero, the selection was left entirely to fate – regardless of the consequences.  As it is Week 201 of this blog, why not (roll the dice) choose specimen W201 and see what happens? Will it be fluid or skeletal? Part or a whole? Cute or monstrous? As it turns out, W201 is all of these and more.  This week’s Specimen of the Week is…

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