The Sperm Whale

In 2000, a 42 foot sperm whale was found dead and beached on a local Shetland island. Nine years later, after much hard work, it was re-constructed and placed in its final resting place.

Today we were shown the skeleton in all its glory.  I had seen it before but I wanted the girls to see it too.

We were told that this whale was a young male sperm whale. The sperm whale or cachalot (Physeter macrocephalus) is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator (thank you, Wikipedia. I did not know this).

(These are photos, that are on the wall, from the whole process)

Two salmon landers brought the carcass ashore where six men cut it up while two diggers buried the flesh in pits.  I will let you imagine the smell!  Apparently it was fairly ripe.

The bones were then boiled for 36 hours in biological washing powder in tanks. Bleach was then used to stop the effects of the washing powder process.

The bones were then cleverly reassembled into their original skeleton.

From this…..

To this….. (I can’t even imagine where I would begin).

The whole thing was an amazing achievement and Floss, Daisy and I wandered about utterly fascinated by the whole process and result.

The bone was now almost like carved wood.

It was a very interesting afternoon. Brilliant!

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