As of February 2016, after 416 posts, and over six and a half years of blogging, I'm taking a break.
I've explained why here. There's plenty of past posts to read, though - hope you enjoy them !
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Archived posts: The following articles are from the month or year requested:

The Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL


The Grant Museum is a brilliant museum. When I was planning my trip to London I knew it was definitely one of the places I wanted to visit. It's not the biggest museum in the world. It doesn't have huge moving dinosaurs. It's not the best museum for toddlers (I know because I went with my baby brothers Sam and Harry). But if you are the tiniest bit interested in bones, or maybe just interested in cool or gross stuff you should definitely go.

Whoever picked the exhibits (or even just Robert Edmond Grant who set up the museum 170 years ago) seems to have a good idea of what's cool and what's not. Their jar of moles probably doesn't teach scientists anything but it's cool. (I bet more people go away talking about that than the tiger or quagga skeletons.) The micrarium (that's it at the top) is tiny but deeply cool. You could spend all day in there. Even the walrus baculum is cool, (but also slightly gross and weird to tell your mum about). Here's some of the other cool stuff:

Comparing two very different museums in London


I spent all of last week in London, and there were so many amazing things that happened that it is difficult to know how to arrange them. For this post I want to think about what museums actually do, by comparing two pretty amazing museums that are actually completely different, the Natural History Museum and the Grant Museum of Zoology. I'm going to write two more posts about what is in each one (UPDATE: I've written about the Grant Museum here) but the main thing this post is about is comparing how they display and present things.

The first thing to say is that they are both very brilliant but completely different. The Grant Museum is a small specialised museum, like the D'Arcy Thompson museum in Dundee, or the Bell Pettigrew museum in St Andrews. The Natural History Museum is the biggest museum I have ever been in ever. This is what both of them are like to visit:

Visiting the Horniman Museum's stores


This week has been a very special week because I am down in London with my family doing lots of trips and visits. There are three or four different things I want to write about, but to start off with I'm going to write about a very special visit I was really looking forward to where I was going to meet Paolo Viscardi who writes the Zygoma blog and who is a museum curator at the Horniman Museum in south London.

Paolo invited me to visit the Horniman Museum's Study Collections Centre which is like a secret warehouse hidden away in another part of London. I'm not allowed to say where it is because it contains valuable exhibits, and it's not open to the public, so it was very special I was allowed in.

An hour in the woods


Last Saturday, dad and I got early and went out into a local wood to sit for an hour to see what we could see. It was the first time I had been in the woods since I broke my leg. Even though my cast is off, I am still walking with crutches, and I cannot walk very far at all, but where we sat wasn't too far from the road, even though the wood is quite isolated. I call the wood The Mortuary since that is where I leave dead animals to rot down (the badger and the buzzard are there at the moment).

Most of the wood has mature pine trees with no grass or vegetation on the ground, but at the end where we were there were gaps in the trees, bracken and grass on the floor, and a small pond. A lot of the trees had been blown over in the storms of 2012 which is actually good for some wildlife. The plan was to see how much wildlife I could see in an hour by sitting and being quiet, and was inspired by the current series of BBC Springwatch. Anyway, here's what I saw !

Why mums are brilliant


On Friday my dad went out to see if the roe deer had had their babies yet. He walked quietly around the edge of Quoiggs wood, staying clear of the bracken because roe mothers keep their babies hidden in long grass or foliage for the first few weeks, until they are strong enough to stay with their families and run from predators.

He had seen a few deer when he heard a doe ( a female roe) startle in the wood, and start barking. Deer usually bark to alert the rest of the herd to run away from danger, and this doe moved away a bit. Dad thought the wood would be clear now so he walked in and watched for birds. Then something strange happened.

The Treasures of the Earth museum in Fort William


I have been meaning to write this post for ages, but I didn't get round to doing it at the time. It happened on the way back from my holiday on the Isle of Skye last year where there was a place I really wanted to go to at Fort William called Treasures of The Earth.

The reason I really loved going there was it was completely different from usual museums. It wasn't huge, it didn't have a huge amount of exhibits, but it was really great for kids.

Today is a very bad day for badgers


Today is a very bad day for badgers. It is the start of a pilot badger cull in England, which means the government are doing a test to see whether shooting badgers stops TB (a lung disease) in cattle. That means that over 5,000 of the most shy and wonderful animals in Britain will be shot.

Badgers are highly protected animals. They even have their own law, the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 which protects them and their setts (burrows) from badger-baiters and others who would want to hurt them - but not stupid governments.

Cows that have TB cannot be sold or moved. They usually have to be killed. This costs £500m a year, and costs farmers money. But are badgers to blame ?  A ten year study into bovine TB in the UK said not. It said: "culling Badgers would have no meaningful effect on bovine TB in cattle". Even the government department involved that wants the cull says "the relationship between bovine TB in badgers and in cattle is highly complex". 

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