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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Specimen of the Week: Week 161

Tannis Davidson10 November 2014

Scary Monkey proudly displaying his poppyLast week, my colleague Jack Ashby wrote in effort to promote the under-promoted in the animal kingdom –the non-superstars that do not, at first glance, appear to be particularly special or worthy of fame and fortune. This week I would like to advance this theme by highlighting an animal that is often overlooked as not only a superstar but a veritable animal superhero.

This week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

Specimen of the Week: Week 154

Dean W Veall22 September 2014

Scary Monkey Hello new readers, occasional fans and dedicated followers of Specimen of the Week. Dean Veall here. My other specimens here have been all about the underdog, the specimens that do not get much attention because they are of the invertebrate persuasion or are stuffed away in a drawer. But this week I am breaking away from this and going all out popular with a specimen that features heavily in our promotional material and one loved by our visitors, selling out, some might suggest. To those people I say no. No, I am staying true to my beliefs with this week’s specimen. This specimen although popular is very much a minority within our collection it’s  just one of only 73 taxidermy specimens we have in a collection of 68,000 and it is one that represents a group that has been terribly misunderstood taxonomically.

 This week’s Specimen of the Week is…


Specimen of the Week: Week Thirty-Nine

Emma-Louise Nicholls9 July 2012

Scary Monkey: Week Thirty-NineOn occasion we get people phoning us at the Grant Museum of Zoology to ask what kind of museum we are. To some, a sarcastic response may spring to mind in a witty yet placating explanation of the word ‘zoology’, but on closer inspection of the question, one realises that what they are actually asking, is what kind of zoological things we have here. I explain that we are an apple pie of fluid specimens with a generous helping of skeleton flavoured ice-cream, topped with just a sprinkle of taxidermy hundreds and thousands (as in the small chocolatey things, we don’t actually have hundreds and thousands of taxidermy specimens). Taxidermy specimens provide an excellent foray into history and the local zoological knowledge at the time of the ‘stuffing’. I have seen many a specimen in which the taxidermist clearly had no idea of what the animal his/her current empty skin project was supposed to look like. But they form a part of history in themselves. And for ‘good’ taxidermy, they at the very least, provide an aesthetic exhibit. So I’d like to introduce you to one. This week’s specimen of the week is… (more…)