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Monday, August 31, 2009

The Blue Whale Project

blue whale, Victoria, BC, Canada, Beaty Biodiversity MuseumI'm back from my holiday now and will soon be posting a few photos of my trip. Thanks to all who visited and left comments while I was away. To get back into the Victoria Daily Photo mode I've posted the above photo of what I am amazed to discover is the largest animal ever to have lived, according to Wikipedia. Yes, even bigger than the biggest of dinosaurs. Blue whales are big. Wikipedia's fascinating article includes the following facts:

A Blue Whale's tongue weighs around 2.7 metric tons (3.0 short tons) and, when fully expanded, its mouth is large enough to hold up to 90 metric tons (99 short tons) of food and water. Despite the size of its mouth, the dimensions of its throat are such that a Blue Whale cannot swallow an object wider than a beach ball. Its heart weighs 600 kilograms (1,300 lb) and is the largest known in any animal. A Blue Whale's aorta is about 23 centimetres (9.1 in) in diameter. During the first seven months of its life, a Blue Whale calf drinks approximately 400 litres (100 U.S. gallons) of milk every day. Blue Whale calves gain weight quickly, as much as 90 kilograms (200 lb) every 24 hours. Even at birth, they weigh up to 2,700 kilograms (6,000 lb)—the same as a fully grown hippopotamus.
OK, but what's that got to do with Victoria. The blue whale whose vertebrae are pictured above has been visiting Victoria as part of the Blue Whale Project, which aims eventually to put the entire 26 meter skeleton back together and mount it at the University of British Columbia's Beaty Biodiversity Museum. It's a fascinating project about an extraordinary animal and I must thank fellow Victorian blogger Kathreen who first drew my attention to this project. Visit her blog, Digital Perspectives, to see more excellent photos of this project.


Layrayski said...

wow. huge.

ms toast burner said...

Great stuff... and thank you for the reminder. I must go see that.

Welcome back to the Island! :-)

Dean said...

I really want to go see this. There don't seem to be anymore scheduled public viewing days, so I may just 'show up' and see what happens.