Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy
The Grant Museum of Zoology is the only remaining university zoological museum in London. It houses around 67,000 specimens, covering the whole Animal Kingdom. Founded in 1828 as a teaching collection.
The Museum is packed full of skeletons, mounted animals and specimens preserved in fluid. Many of the species are now endangered or extinct including the Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine, the Quagga, and the Dodo.
It was founded in 1828 as a teaching collection, named after Robert Grant (1793-1874) — the first Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy in England. His collection remains the basis of the museum, along with exhibits donated by Thomas Henry Huxley. The somewhat macabre collection includes a plethora of skeletons, mounted animals and specimens preserved in fluid, many of which are now extinct or endangered.
The dodo is a major draw, although the museum doesn't have a complete dodo skeleton (none exist anywhere), just a selection of bones from Mauritius where the birds lived until becoming extinct around 1700. There is, however, a complete skeleton of the quagga, a type of zebra from South Africa with fewer stripes than a 'standard' zebra, which was hunted to extinction by the 1870s, and a complete set of bones of the thylacine, a large marsupial carnivore which once inhabited Australia and New Guinea.
The Grant Museum is also home to a large number of insects, the most abundant group of animals in the world, with around lm species. Other exhibits, including a stuffed gorilla, the skeleton of a 5m-long anaconda and a collection of bisected animals' heads all add to the pleasant sensation of having landed in a mad scientist's lair.
The Grant Museum has a healthy air of the Victorian collector about it; it's how museums used to be, with the emphasis on exhibits in cases rather than interactive displays, soundscapes and other such recent innovations.