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Whale on display

One of two blue whale skeletons on display at Royal Ontario Museum

Campus and Community

By David Sorensen

An exhibit opening March 11 at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) provides a sneak peek at what visitors to Memorial University can expect to see three years from now.

Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story tells the story of two blue whales that washed ashore in Western Newfoundland in April of 2014.

A partnership with Memorial University allowed the ROM to recover the two giant mammals, which the museum then arranged to have cleaned and the skeletons prepared for display.

“This is an important opportunity to further our understanding of these magnificent animals.” — Dr. Mark Engstrom

One of the whales is featured in the exhibition in Toronto, Ont.; the other is still being prepared for eventual return to Memorial, where it will be displayed in the atrium of the new Core Science Facility, scheduled to open in 2020.

Memorial’s involvement in the project was made viable thanks to the financial support of alumni and friends.

The partnership with the ROM was a perfect match for Memorial, said president Dr. Gary Kachanoski. Very few agencies had the expertise to recover a blue whale or to prepare its skeleton for display, he added.

The agreement between the ROM and Memorial has allowed for the sharing of scientific information and further knowledge of this endangered species, the largest mammal in the world, said Dr. Mark Engstrom, curator at the ROM.

“This is an important opportunity to further our understanding of these magnificent animals and help Canadians benefit in a meaningful way from this invaluable contribution to Canadian science.”


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