If you’ve ever visited the Natural History Museum, you may have come across the awe-inspiring skeleton of a massive blue whale. The question on many visitors’ minds is – is this skeleton real? Let’s dive into the history and facts surrounding this iconic exhibit.
History of the Blue Whale Exhibit
The blue whale exhibit at the Natural History Museum has been a staple since 1969. The skeleton on display is that of a female blue whale that washed ashore in 1926 near San Diego, California. The bones were collected and preserved by the Los Angeles County Museum (now known as the Natural History Museum) and put on display for public viewing.
Is it Real?
The short answer is yes, the blue whale skeleton on display at the Natural History Museum is real. However, it’s important to note that not every bone in the exhibit is original. Over time, some bones have been replaced with replicas due to wear and tear or damage.
How was it Preserved?
Preserving a massive creature like a blue whale requires careful planning and execution. After the 1926 beaching incident, workers from the Los Angeles County Museum (now known as the Natural History Museum) used steam to clean off any remaining flesh from the bones. Once cleaned, they were left to dry in the sun for several months.
After drying, each bone was treated with chemicals such as formalin and alcohol to prevent decay and insect infestation. Finally, each bone was painted with a protective coating to prevent further damage.
How Big is it?
The blue whale skeleton on display at the Natural History Museum measures an impressive 87 feet long and weighs over 70,000 pounds! It’s important to note that while this may be one of the largest exhibits in any museum worldwide, it’s only a fraction of the size of a fully grown blue whale in its natural habitat.
In conclusion, the blue whale skeleton on display at the Natural History Museum is indeed real. While some bones may have been replaced over time, the exhibit remains an impressive feat of preservation and serves as a reminder of the majesty and power of one of the ocean’s most iconic creatures.