How big is a blue whale?A blue whale is so big that a person can swim through it’s largest blood vessels. A blue whale is so big that there are cars smaller than its heart. The blue whale is the largest animal on earth, now or ever, as far as we know. Its tongue is as large as the largest land animal on the present day earth (elephant). Oh, and it can go faster than most ships.A blue whale is so big that when it dies, it takes YEARS to rot. And it smells REALLY bad.And that is why people are moving out of a certain neighborhood in Canada.
NAIL POND, Prince Edward Island – In Canada’s tiniest province, scientists are undertaking what may be history’s largest exhumation of a single creature. …The reek from the excavation of a blue whale is strong enough to churn the stomach and bring tears streaming. It’s been nearly 21 years since the immense creature washed ashore and was buried on an isolated strand of red sand near the island’s northwest tip.In late 2009, if all goes as scheduled, the skeleton will be suspended in a glass atrium at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum in Vancouver. It will be one of a handful of complete blue whale skeletons anywhere. Blue whales are the biggest animals on earth – and among the rarest, with only a few thousand swimming the oceans.The body snatchers had hoped for a cleaner corpse.”We’d expected to find bare bones,” Trites said.Instead, the team found that the whale’s namesake blue flesh had basically mummified, while gigantic bands of solidified blubber remain on the skeleton like a hard-rubber shroud.
Sorry guys, but to be honest, they should have expected this. We already knew that blubber would last years. Why would this blubber cooperate with the natural defleshing process? It is a very common mistake that those interested in defleshing mammals make. That is, thinking that if you bury something for a long time you can come back and there will be a skeleton. That very rarely works.
“But it’s the smell of the rancid oil permeating the bones that really gets your attention,” Trites said in an interview Thursday afternoon at the wind-blasted dig site. “It’s pretty powerful.”The bizarre unburial uses the techniques of heavy earth moving – and intricate autopsy. In a month or so, after a transcontinental journey by truck and train, the bones will be dumped into gigantic enzyme bath vats, built specially for the purpose in British Columbia, where bacteria will be employed to rid the bones of the noxious oil.
[I don’t think anyone is actually moving out of the neighborhood, by the way.]Boston Globe