Among the moles at the Grant Museum

My short piece about the recently reopened Grant Museum of Zoology appears in today’s Independent.

If you haven’t been to the Grant Museum in either its old or new guises, do go and check it out one lunch break. This is the only museum in the country where you can see 18 baby moles stuffed in a sweet jar.

It also has one of only seven quagga skeletons that are known to exist in the world. The discovery of the quagga says much about the delightful way the Grant goes about its business.

The museum had two zebra skeletons, but curators were convinced that one was actually a quagga, so in the 1970s they got an expert to make the requisite calculations.  To their delight it turned out that one of the zebras was indeed a quagga, and this was unveiled to great publicity. However, less happily, it seemed that the other zebra was actually a donkey. Both are now displayed in the new museum, the quagga in pride of place near the entrance, the donkey out of sight on the first-floor balcony. But zebras, there are none.

Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL, Rockefeller Building, 21 University Street, WC1E 6DE. Open Mon-Fri, 1-5pm.

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