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Specimen of the Week 326: elephant bird egg

Will JRichard19 January 2018

Hello e-readers! Will Richard here, once again choosing a specimen for you. And to say good bye (I am soon off to pastures new) I’ve gone for a giant. The biggest in its Class….

LDUCZ-Y1 elephant bird egg cast

LDUCZ-Y1 elephant bird egg cast

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Specimen of the Week 320: the wolffish head

Will JRichard8 December 2017

Hello e-readers! Will Richard here bringing you an almost festive Specimen of the Week. Though, if I’m honest, there is absolutely nothing festive about half a fish head.

LDUCZ-V1464 wolffish head

LDUCZ-V1464 wolffish head

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Specimen of the Week 314: the Asian water monitor hatchling

Will JRichard27 October 2017

Hello folks! Will Richard here choosing another specimen for you. And this blog I’ve gone for a good all-rounder. A lizard that seems to be the second best at almost everything it does. The reptile equivalent of “and Garfunkel”…

LDUCZ-X116 Asian water monitor

LDUCZ-X116 Asian water monitor

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Specimen of the Week 308: the geckos

Will JRichard15 September 2017

Hello! Will Richard here, picking another specimen for you. And this week I’ve chosen a slick, little lizard that actually lives up to its name: there are lots of them and they live in buildings. That’s right folks it’s not the rare and only found outside gecko, it’s the…

LDUCZ-X161 common house geckos

LDUCZ-X161 preserved common house geckos

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Specimen of the Week 303: the olm

Will JRichard4 August 2017

Hello! Will Richard here, finishing the week with another specimen. For this blog I’ve chosen an extraordinary little animal that you really can’t believe actually exists. But hey… that’s evolution. Readers… I give you the olm.

LDUCZ-W4 preserved olm

LDUCZ-W4 preserved olm

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Specimen of the Week 297: the Giraffe Heart

Will JRichard23 June 2017

Hello e-folks! Will Richard here bringing you another specimen of the week. A tall story with a lot of heart. That’s right folks it’s the…

Wild giraffes in Niger

Wild giraffes in Niger. Image by Clémence Delmas via Wikimedia Commons; CC BY 3.0

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Specimen of the week 292: the horned lizard

Will JRichard19 May 2017

LDUCZ-X86 horned lizard

LDUCZ-X86 horned lizard

The Mexican plateau horned lizard (Phrynosoma orbiculare) is a small reptile native to the high plateau of Central Mexico. They are almost spherical, about the size of a 50p coin, and have two characteristic horn-like projections on their snout. They seem pretty harmless… THIS IS NOT THE CASE. As a last resort the tiny lizards can shoot streams of pressurised blood from the corners of their eyes, spraying predators over a metre and half away. At first this seemed the single grimmest thing I’ve ever read about any animal but it got me looking at other disgusting ways species choose to defend themselves. These are a few of my “favourites”…

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How did it get like that?

Will JRichard26 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 285: The Pig Skull

Will JRichard31 March 2017

Hello internet-folk. Will Richard here blogging a blog again. And for this blog I’ve chosen a specimen that nobody bothers with. We’ve got loads and they’re not exactly hard to find: flat-nosed, famously greedy and surprisingly intelligent it’s the…

LDUCZ-Z1089 domestic pig skull

LDUCZ-Z1089 Domestic pig skull

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Specimen of the week 279: Jar of mole (crickets)

Will JRichard17 February 2017

Hello! Will Richard here, blogging again for you all. And this time I’ve chosen a specimen that I can’t believe isn’t better known. Everybody loves a jar of moles… so how about a jar of mole crickets?

LDUCZ-L45 European mole cricket

LDUCZ-L45 European mole cricket

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