Finding the Blue Whale

Dale and blue whale skeletonOn Saturday my friend Seth and I went bone hunting. Our goal was specific, we were stalking the largest creature on earth: the blue whale. Being an endangered species and aquatic there aren't a lot of blue whale bones to be found. In Vancouver we not only have bones, we have an entire skeleton!

Over at UBC, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum has located and restored the skeleton of a blue whale. Sadly, it beached itself and died on the coast of Prince Edward Island a number of years ago. It's wonderful that the museum took the loss of an endangered species member and turned it into something positive. The museum hasn't opened yet, but they're running previews on selected Saturdays from May to August and showing off what will arguably be their premiere exhibit. And it's impressive.

Suspended in the entrance atrium, the blue whale skeleton is the first thing you see as you walk into the museum. The entry path takes you around the skeleton and then you descend into the museum proper. From back to side to front to bottom, each step provides a different perspective as you circle and descend. Designers have a done an excellent job of showcasing the rare find.

The preview event is a tiny taste of the museum, which is still being put together for their fall opening. The gallery below the whale has a number of things on display, including other skeletons. A bit of an anticlimax after the blue whale, but interesting none-the-less. I spoke briefly with one of the volunteers. It sounds like there will be a lot of exhibits oriented towards kids. Hopefully they'll remember us adults, as well. They have access to a phenomenal number of cool things to display.

If you're inclined to go bone hunting this summer the museum has three more previews before their opening. Information is on their website at: http://www.beatymuseum.ubc.ca/visitors.html. They're giving away stylish little pins that picture a krill, the food of blue whales. Collect three and you'll get a special blue whale button at the opening this fall.

Here are some of the pictures I took. Click on the picture to get a larger version. My thanks to my friend Seth for taking my picture and the excellent photo of the spooky awesome (sword?) fish head.

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