WHALE HOME whale.gif (2404 bytes)
Finding the Whale

Cleaning the Whale

Dem Bones

Laying out the skeleton
Page was last updated on 04/05/99

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Welcome to the WHALE PAGE! We'll try to keep you posted on the restoration and articulation of a 30' sperm whale which died and washed ashore in Garden Cove, just north of Marine Resources Development Foundation. For quicker loading, we've only included links to the pictures of the whale skeleton in progress. 

What's so special about our whale?  Well, according to Paul Nader, DVM, we have a rarity among whale skulls - the earbones are still attached!  Those tiny bones in the inner ear of a human being (the hammer, anvil, and stirrup bones) are found in a  round knob the size of a child's fist (called the tympanic bulla) inside a sperm whale's head.  They are very rare.  Well, our whale has both of her tympanoc bulla! 

Forensic Science  Our whale was an elderly female (adult males reach 60 - 70 feet, while the females only reach to 30 feet or so).  She was afflicted with severe arthritis, so it was probably very painful for her to swim.  In fact, she favored one side so much that one of the bones associated with her vertebrae was actually curved by the muscles of that one side!  We are missing large chunks of her spinal column, but the funny part is that we have the ribs for that section - while we're missing the ribs for the section of spinal column we do have! 

Current Status  As of April 5, 199, the whale is still (yes, STILL) undergoing the drying-out process.  At least it doesn't smell as much!  We have hung it in the chickee to give visitors a better chance of imagining how big she was, and have set up the skull with a descriptive plaque that describes how the echolocation works inside the whale's head (at least, as much as we know about it).

What are we going to do with it? Eventually, we would like to suspend the fully restored and articulated skeleton from the roof of the big building.  The skeleton would be attached to a motor and pulley which would allow it to be lowered to floor level for educational and discovery activities with MarineLab students.

MarineLab is a Marine Resources Development Foundation program.  P.O. Box 787 Key Largo, FL  33037 (800) 741-1139

Page was last updated on 04/05/99 


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