Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 11:
The skeleton of the giant sperm whale that was washed ashore and subsequently died off the Astaranga coast in Puri district of Odisha in December 2014 was put up for public display at the Regional Museum of Natural History here yesterday..
On the eleventh foundation day of the museum, Chief Wildlife Conservator SS Srivastava dedicated it to the public.
It may be noted that the 17-tonne whale was beached on December 3. An eight-member team of palaeontologists from Regional Museum of Natural History, Bhubaneswar had arrived at the spot at Astananga to supervise the dissection and extrication of the skeleton of the whale.
The bones of the skeletons were removed and conserved separately with a layer of chemicals applied to them in the museum. The bones were then stitched together to give it a natural shape. The entire process to put together the entire skeleton back in shape took about eight months.
It may be noted that the 32-feet long, approximately 75-year old sperm whale was washed ashore near Kelua river mouth of Astarang and struggled for a long time on the shallow waters to swim back to the ocean before its death.
The officials and locals were not able to send the giant fish back to deep waters due to lack of equipment. It was suspected to have been hit by a ship, as there was a big scar above its right eye. It could also have been washed ashore by high tide in the sea, the experts had said then.
Sperm whales are the largest toothed whales in the world and usually live in deep water up to one kilometer around the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean.
The skeleton of a 47.3-foot large Baleen whale is already under display at the Regional Museum of Natural History.