What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than by digging down into the matriarchal underground world of naked mole rats? Scientists all over the world are fascinated by this unique species, and so are we. Unusually for mammals, naked mole rats are eusocial, meaning they live in large colonies similar to those of ants or bees. Each colony has a single dominant queen who is the only female who reproduces. Over her long life, a queen may give birth to as many as 900 babies!
Joining the session to illuminate us on these bald burrowers will be Chris Faulkes, a Reader in Evolutionary Ecology at Queen Mary University of London. Chris is a specialist on naked mole rats, and is the proud owner of his own colony which he has been studying in his lab since the 1980’s! Chris will introduce us to the gang and teach us all about the species, from their complex social lives to their remarkably long life spans, and why some researchers believe that they could hold the key to human immortality! Nature illustrator Jennie Webber will be hosting the session, and will begin with an introduction to anatomical drawing, and her top tips on capturing those striking features on your page. While we sketch there will be time for plenty of questions so you will come away with not only some fab sketches but a whole load of naked mole rat knowledge too!
The class is open to all abilities so whether you haven’t drawn since school or you draw on the daily, you’ll get loads out of the session. The basic materials you need to take part are some paper, a pencil, a sharpener and a rubber, but if you’d like to experiment with other materials please free to get creative! As well as sketching from life we will draw from some great photographs of the mole rats which were taken by Chris' daughter Lorna. We will email these to you along with instructions and the zoom link 48 hours before the event is due to start, or in good time if you book your ticket closer to the session. As with all our online classes, we will send out a recording of the class afterwards so that you can watch it back as many times as you like.
50% of profits will be donated to Chris’ chosen charity People's Trust for Endangered Species.