Object of the Week – 25/04/13

Who has a beak like this?


Did you know what last week’s object of the week was?

Ichthyosaur head

The name Ichthyosaur translates literally as ‘fish lizard’. They were marine reptiles alive during the time of the dinosaurs, that on the outside appeared very much like a dolphin. The same streamlined shape that made the Ichthyosaurs so successful arose again in Dolphins and is an excellent example of convergent evolution.

The first complete Ichthyosaur fossil was found by 12 year old Mary Anning of Lyme Regis. She famously spent her life hunting for fossils on the coast of Dorset; she came from a poor family and the money they earned from selling fossils made up most of their income. 

Object of the Week – 18/04/13

This marine reptile has quite the stoney gaze. Do you know what it is? 

Look into my eye...


Did you know what last week’s object of the week was?

Snakeskin shoes

The photo last week was a close-up of our snakeskin shoes. It is one of many objects that were donated to the museum by the UK Border Agency.

Customs officers confiscate plants and animals that are illegally imported into the UK. These species are listed in the CITES appendices which you can search here.

Many people buy things like shoes and handbags on holiday without realising that their goods will be seized when they return home. Buying these goods means that poachers will continue to take endangered animals from the wild which could lead to their extinction.

Object of the Week – 11/04/13

You can find our object of the week on the table in Huxley’s study. Do you think you know what it is? (Hint: Image not shown to scale)


Did you know what last week’s object of the week was?

Sea mouse (Aphrodita aculeata)


Our photo last week was a close-up of the spines, or setae, of our sea mouse (Aphrodita aculeata). It is a marine worm in the class Polychaeta (=many bristles).

Although the sea mouse is generally brown in colour, the spines are iridescent and reflect light back in a rainbow of colours.

Scientists are studying the sea mouse because their spines are better at reflecting light than man-made optical fibres. Nature thinks of everything first! 

Click here to read more about this research.


Side view of the sea mouse


Object of the Week – 04/04/13

Our object this week is a marine animal that lives on the sea floor. On initial inspection it appears quite plain, but just wait until it catches the light …


Did you know what last week’s object of the week was?

Ostrich egg (looking a bit yellow here)

 Well done if you knew or guessed our object last week was an Ostrich egg. Ostriches (Struthio camelus) are the largest living birds on the planet and also lay the largest egg of any living bird (although it is not the largest in relation to body size).

Ostrich eggs on average are about 15cm long – you could just about hold it in one of your hands. Dominant males have a harem of females that lay their eggs together in a communal nest. There will be about twenty eggs in the nest and the male and females take it in turns to incubate them.