Odds and quads

October 18, 2012



Credit: UCL/Grant Museum of Zoology/Matt Clayton


This jar of moles is one of the most popular items owned by University College London's Grant Museum of Zoology and took pride of place near the entrance when the museum reopened after its relocation in 2011.

No one knows for sure where the moles come from or how they ended up in a sweet jar, although they may have been collected for a dissection class and never used.

Moles make excellent animals for this purpose because they possess a typical vertebrate skeleton and organs (apart from the beautifully adapted limbs they use for digging), and are in abundant supply, given that gardeners all over the country consider them vermin.

So these could well have been a donation from a farmer or landowner struggling with a local mole problem.

When not on permanent display, the moles are used in public-engagement activities, such as competitions to guess how many there are in the jar.

They even have their own Twitter account, @GlassJarOfMoles, although it is not affiliated with the museum.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz @tsleducation.com.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Senior Lecturer in Human Genetics LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY
Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY
Lecturer in Biochemistry LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY
Professor in Marketing UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW

Most Commented

Social media icons

Gabriel Egan laments the narcissistic craving for others’ approval brought on, he says, by the use of social networking websites

Elly Walton illustration (25 August 2016)

Treating students as consumers has precipitated a rush to the bottom to give them exactly what they want, says John Warren

Superhero costumes hanging on a washing line

Senior management do not recognise support staff’s pivotal role in achieving positive student outcomes, administrators say

Man photocopying a book

Students think it ‘unfair’ to be punished for unintentional plagiarism

to write students’ assessed essays in return for cash

Vic Boyd was on the lookout for academic writing opportunities. What she found was somewhat less appetising...