News

Cubs Visit to UCT

Published on 12/06/2012 under Cubs

CUBS VISIT TO UCT
by Saskia
Thursday 12th of June 2012

Lara, Amy, Kai, and I went to UCT today to talk to Zoologist Charlie Griffiths as part of our scientist badge. Gilly Smith, our scientist tour guide, lead us to Charlie’s study where he gave us a very long (but interesting) talk on what he does at UCT. He has found over 100 new species that he calls after his children and girlfriends (well some of them). He also showed us some things he has found during the past few years including a shark tooth. We spoke to some Ph.D. students about their research for example bats. Next we were taken to a huge room; this is where they keep a few marine animals. They us let us hold two of the starfish I immediately named them Sunset (who is orange) and Spikester (who is spiky, duh).

And finally what we have all been waiting for which they would only let us do if we were good (Dun dun dar) A TRIP TO THE MOLE-RAT ROOM!!! We had to be very quiet. The room was warm because mole rats do not have any fur. They live underground so UCT has built a maze of plastic tunnels. And now here is something interesting: mole rats are like bees. They have one mole rat (the queen) who has all the babies. We were lucky enough to spot her. Since the tunnels are so thin and she has to produce lots of babies, instead of getting fatter, she gets longer (her bones actually grow longer) to make space for all the babies. They were really funny (and cute) because they kept on running backwards and over each other. There was one that was isolated because of a growth on its side. But the mole rat I most feel sorry for is a baby mole rat 2cm long that kept on being walked over.

On our way out we talked to a lady who studies dinosaurs. She showed us some skulls. The skulls of dinosaurs were moulds and there were skulls of animals we know. The 3 that interested me most were a buffalo, lion and a pygmy whale skull. Our visit to her was very short because we needed to leave. The trip was very interesting and breath-taking and is only one of the 1 million reasons to join cubs!

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