Biophobophilia, or, why children (sort of) love big, pointy teeth

During the course of my research at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. This may not come as a surprise to those of you with children, or who actually remember being a child, but it seems that children really love animals with scary teeth. In this particular museum, the favourites seem to be a large stuffed crocodile, and a model T. rex head. My PhD research involves getting 4- and 5-year-old children to photograph things they like in the museum, and then talk to me about the pictures. [Read More]

Observation Notes: Not All Bones are Dinosaurs

Over the past couple of years I’ve spent a lot of time at the wonderful Oxford University Museum of Natural History, where I’m carrying out my PhD research. Although the bulk of my research has involved getting four- and five-year-olds to take photographs for me, I have spent almost as much time wandering around and around the museum, observing visitors more generally. I really love doing observations. I think it’s easy to imagine that most museum visits are quite mundane — we see the other visitors milling around, or we mill around ourselves, and everything blends into the hubbub of the crowds. [Read More]