Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 10:
An eight-member team of palaeontologists from the Regional Museum of Natural History in Odisha’s capital city of, Bhubaneswar has begun the exercise to retrieve the skeleton of the giant whale that was washed ashore near Kelua river mouth on December 3.
The team, led by Dr Siba Prasad Parida, began work on Tuesday morning. After spraying chemical powders, the team started cutting out the flesh of the whale.
The extraction process was delayed due to excessive secretion of oil and worms from the body of the dead whale. “We had to re-position the whale 20 feet away with the help of a bulldozer to get going,” said local forester Umesh Mohanty.
“So far, we have been able to cut out about 30% of the flesh. It might take another five to seven days to complete the process,” said GN Indresa, one of the experts supervising the opeation.
“The bones of the skeletons will be removed and conserved separately with a layer of chemicals applied to them in the museum. It will take approximately five to six months to put together the entire skeleton back,” said Shiv Prasad Parida, the leader of the team
The skeleton of a 47.3-foot large Baleen whale is already under display at the Regional Museum of Natural History.
It may be noted that the 32 feet long, approximately 75 years old sperm whale was washed ashore near Kelua river mouth of Astarang and struggled for a long time on 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 be 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 said.
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.