My name is Charlotte, I am currently in year 11 and I have been attending Cur8 for almost 4 years. Initially, my interest was piqued by the group’s involvement with the Ancient Civilisations project, as I have had a lifelong interest in classics and mythology and was excited by the opportunity to further my knowledge, as well as contribute to the museum. For my blog piece, I have chosen to talk about the animal specimens in the Natural History gallery, as their existence is an insight into both the evolution of humanity’s biological understanding and the changing of moral standards across eras. My engagement lies particularly in the latter reason, as I am also a vegetarian with a passion for the rights and respect of animals. I think the specimens are an intriguing example of shifting mindsets, as when they were collected, the welfare of the individuals, as well as that of the ecosystem from which they were taken, was not a concern high on the agenda. However, with the current cultural shift towards vegetarian/veganism and sustainability, this is seen by many as a cruel and damaging practise. However, considering the curiosity that drove the collection of such specimens by naturalists, it is undeniable that we have them to thank for our current level of biological understanding. Overall, though I do not agree with the practise, I acknowledge that the technology and understanding we have now was not available at the time and regard the artefacts as a valuable insight into historical scientific research and morality.
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