World's Rarest Skeleton To Be Preserved At Grant Museum

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 42 months ago
World's Rarest Skeleton To Be Preserved At Grant Museum
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Skeleton 1
Skeleton 2
Skeleton 2
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Skeleton 6

Did you know that a small London museum is home to the rarest skeleton in the world? The bones of the beast in question belong to the now-extinct quagga. It's part of a new preservation project, along with 38 other rare and unique animal skeletons at the Grant Museum of Zoology on Gower Street.

The Museum has launched Bone Idols: Protecting our iconic skeletons, its first ever individual fundraising project, which involves deep cleaning and repairing bones, re-casing specimens and remounting huge skeletons.

Much of the work will be taken on by the museum's own specialist team and where possible it will be undertaken in the gallery to give the public an insight into what goes on behind the scenes. Specialist 'skeleton preparators' (cool job title much?) will be commissioned to work on the larger skeletons.

The quagga takes centre stage in the project: the Grant Museum's specimen is one of only seven quagga skeletons in the world and since the species became extinct in 1883 it's no wonder a little TLC is necessary to keep it in shape. Other skeletons there include an endangered gorilla, Siamese crocodile, Javan rhino, endangered tiger, chimpanzee, orang-utan and Ganges river dolphin.

Test out your skeleton knowledge - which animals do you think are represented in the photos above? (Answers below)

You can donate to the Bone Idols project by visiting UCL's online giving page. Take a look at this video for an introduction to the project and the dismantling of the one-horned rhino.

Grant Museum of Zoology is open to the public Monday- Saturday, 1pm-5pm. Admission is free.

Images: Grant Museum at UCL

Skeleton Answers:

1) Tiger

2) Siamese Crocodile

3) Python

4) Infant Orang-utan

5) Indian Rhino

6) Quagga

Did you know, the only known photo of a quagga was taken at London Zoo in Regent's Park. Take a look at our map of animal bone finds in London, including mammoths and wolves.

Last Updated 26 November 2014