Friday mystery object #451

Happy New Year!

2023 has started off with a bit of a bang. The Dead Zoo has been given the go-ahead for the next phase of a major redevelopment project, and yesterday I signed an employment contract accepting the position of Keeper of Natural History at the National Museum of Ireland, so it looks like I have a busy few years ahead!

But that has nothing much to do with the mystery object, so here’s the specimen I have for you to identify:

It’s probably a bit on the easy side for anyone with an interest in ornithology, so if you know what this is, please keep your answer cryptic to give everyone else a chance. If not, I hope you enjoy the challenge!

Friday mystery object #307

The last few months have been particularly busy for me as I’ve been working on a lighting project in the Irish Room of the Dead Zoo in Dublin, so I’ve not had much opportunity to dig out mystery objects and get good images for you to identify.

However, I have moved pretty much every specimen in the gallery and if you want to see how much stuff that entails there’s a 3D interactive map of the space available here (if you want to have a virtual tour of the whole museum check this out). All this moving means I’ve seen a lot of specimens, so here’s one of them for you to have a go at identifying:


For a some of you this will be way too easy, so let’s have your best cryptic clues, hints and riddles as to what this is.

Have fun!


Today is #MuseumSelfie day as part of #MuseumWeek, so here are few selfies of me trying to recreate the look of specimens from the Horniman’s natural history gallery.






Utterly ridiculous, but fun nonetheless. If you have some similar selfies why not link to them below in the comments section? After all, I don’t want to be the only one looking silly!


Friday mystery object #105

Well, it’s the second anniversary of the Friday Mystery Object – how time flies! Speaking of flying, I’ve decided to give you a bird skeleton to identify this week. Any idea what this is:

Comments below as usual – I’m sure that some of you will work it out straight-away, so please drop hints rather than give-away the answer to those less familiar with the anatomy of our feathered friends.

Best of luck!

Friday mystery object #42 answer

On Friday I was at the NatSCA conference, hosted by the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery. The conference was excellent (thanks Jan and Helen) and I really enjoyed the natural history collections on display – particularly this piece of partially made taxidermy:

I asked you to identify what species of bird this mannequin is intended to represent. The only actual bits of the bird are the legs, head and wings, so these are the bits you should have concentrated on.

I was a bit surprised that no-one managed to get this. Most people went down the line of thinking that it was a fairly long-legged and long-necked bird, but that is without taking into account that the feathers are missing! Feathers considerably alter the shape of a bird, smoothing the contours of the neck (which has a strong curvature in life which shortens it) and providing a substantial amount of insulation. Feathers also layer quite densely on top of one another, with a stiff rachis down the middle of each, which provides structural support, changing the outline.

In the end there was one person who came close – Neil, who correctly identified that it was a corvid of some description and his suggestion was supported by Bob O’H. It is in fact a Continue reading