Animal ABC

From Ammonite to Zebra. An exhibition exploring the variety of the Lynn Museum’s stored collection with a focus on the animal kingdom.

New Animal ABC play bricks (1910)Lynn Museum

Lynn Museum was founded in 1844. At this time there was a great interest in the natural world. The museum curators collected a wide range of objects from Norfolk and overseas.  Over the years the museum has continued to collect and we now have a diverse collection of over 55,000 objects. Today we only collect material from the King’s Lynn area to help us tell local stories.

Fossil AmmonitesLynn Museum

A - Ammonite

Ammonites are related to modern day octopus and squid. They swam in the sea at the same time as dinosaurs walked the Earth.

Mechanical toy butterfly (1800/1900)Lynn Museum

B - Butterfly

A butterfly’s lifecycle is made up of four parts: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and imago (adult). This changing process from caterpillar to adult is called metamorphosis.

Cat's Head Carving (1880/1880) by Savage's EngineersLynn Museum

C - Cat

In 1963, Félicette the cat was launched into space by the French Government. She was later recovered safely, after her capsule parachuted back to Earth.

Retainer’s badge showing the Talbot Hound, the badge of the Talbot Earls of Shrewsbury (1400/1499)Lynn Museum

D - Dog

The Talbot Hound was a breed of hunting dog. It went extinct in the late 18th century. 

Photograph at the circus in King's Lynn (1957)Lynn Museum

E - Elephant

Asian Elephants are more closely related to the extinct Mammoths than they are to African Elephants.

Two frogs playing cards (1850/1899)Lynn Museum

F - Frog

The Edible Frog first appeared during the last Ice Age.

Jug, part of a toy tea set (1900) by Folely China JGS & CoLynn Museum

G - Giraffe

A Giraffe’s tongue can measure up to 50cm, that’s nearly five times longer than the human tongue.

The Old Grey (1907) by Munnings, Alfred, SirLynn Museum

H - Horse

The world’s tallest living horse is a Belgian Heavy Horse called ‘Big Jake’, measuring 210cm at the shoulder. The world’s smallest living horse is a Dwarf Miniature Horse called ‘Thumbelina’, measuring 43cm at the shoulder.

Fossil ichthyosaur vertebrae (backbones)Lynn Museum

I - Ichthyosaur

Ichthyosaurs are often confused with dinosaurs, because they lived in the sea at the same time. They are actually more closely related to modern-day reptiles such as lizards.

Adult male Eurasian Jay (1850/1899)Lynn Museum

J - Jay

Many of the oak trees in the UK were accidentally grown by jays. Jays bury acorns to eat in the winter. Sometimes they don’t return for them and an oak tree grows.

Homemade Kanga and Roo soft toys inspired by Winnie the Pooh (1976)Lynn Museum

K - Kangaroo

Kangaroos belong to the animal family Macropodidae, which literally means ‘big foot family’.

Box for Lion Bar chocolate bars (1997)Lynn Museum

L - Lion

Lions used to live in Norfolk. During the warm periods of the last Ice Age, lions roamed the plains of what’s now East Anglia, along with hippos, bison, giant deer and wild boar.

Wind-up toy mouse by Yoneya, 1950, and 1999Lynn Museum

M - Mouse

By flattening out their bodies, House Mice are able to squeeze through gaps as small as 6mm. That’s roughly the size of a pencil.

Narwhal tuskLynn Museum

N - Narwhal

Narwhals were formerly called ‘Sea Unicorns’. We now know the tusks are used to help sense the water around them, but sailors previously took them home as unicorn horns, with the power to neutralise poisons.

Ostrich feather cape (1920/1939)Lynn Museum

O - Ostrich

The  South African Ostrich, was officially described by former Liberal Party MP for King’s Lynn, John Henry Gurney Sr. (1819–1890). The name ‘Gurney’ is usually added after the full scientific name: ‘Struthio camelus australis Gurney, 1868’.             

Young Peregrine Falcon (1950)Lynn Museum

P - Peregrine

In 2010 peregrines in King’s Lynn were the first nesting pair in Norfolk for 150 years. 

Adult male Common Quail (1950/1999)Lynn Museum

Q - Quail

Quail are able to fly short distances, but they spend most of their time on the ground.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1917)Lynn Museum

R - Rabbit

Rabbits produce two kinds of poo. Hard round pellets and a soft poo which they often eat to obtain more nutrients.

Sheep on a Hillside (1876) by Charles ‘Sheep’ Jones (1836 – 1892)Lynn Museum

S - Sheep

In 1996 Dolly the sheep was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell.

Tiger skull (1800/1899)Lynn Museum

T - Tiger

No two tigers have the same pattern of stripes. 

Fossil Sea UrchinsLynn Museum

U - Urchin

Sea Urchins have been around for 450 million years. They are related to starfish. Sea urchins have five distinct bands on their surface; sometimes called petals. 

Sketch of a vulture (1850/1860) by Henry Baines (1823-1894Lynn Museum

V - Vulture

John Henry Gurney Sr. (1819–1890), a former King’s Lynn MP, kept a Lappetfaced Vulture as a pet. She was named ‘Mrs. Stockings’ because of her white feathered legs.

Walrus tusksLynn Museum

W - Walrus

A male walrus is called a bull. A female walrus is called a cow. A baby walrus is called a calf.

X-ray of a yellowhammer bird (2018)Lynn Museum

X - X-ray

Taxidermy is a way of preserving an animal’s body by stuffing it for the purpose of display. Taxidermists used different wiring systems on the inside of the animal. X-rays can be used to find out who mounted a particular specimen.

Young male Yellowhammer (1950/1999)Lynn Museum

Y - Yellowhammer

The Yellowhammer’s song is often described as sounding like the bird is saying ‘a little bit of bread with no cheeeeese’.

Trade poster for Zebra Gate Polish (1850/1899)Lynn Museum

Z - Zebra

Zebras can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour when galloping across the African plains.

Credits: Story

Arts Council England 
Norfolk County Council 
Norfolk Museums Service
Lynn Museum 
Dr. David Waterhouse, NMS Curator of Natural History and Acting Curator of Geology
Oliver Bone, Curator 
Melissa Hawker, Learning Officer 
Dayna Woolbright, Assistant Curator 
Samantha Parker, Teaching Museum Trainee (Curatorial)
Monika Saganowska, Teaching Museum Trainee (Coastal Treasures)
Andrew Tullett, Teaching Museum Trainee (Coastal Treasures)
Paula Murphy, Teaching Museum Trainee (Curatorial)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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