Posts categorized as Whales

Museum science dissections – a new trend?

It seems like New Zealand museums are setting a new trend for staging scientific dissections of big interesting animals and getting the public involved in them online. It’s a great way to engage visitors with the scientific activities of natural history museums – it takes the behind-the-scenes stuff out into the public arena. And it… Read more »

Colossal squid in 3D movie

ARLs 3D glasses © Copyright Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008

Today the Exhibition team got our first taste of what our 3D Colossal Squid movie is going to look like. The exhibition opens in December and it will include Te Papa’s first 3D movie! The production company Animation Research Ltd (ARL) sent us the latest cut of the movie and special 3D viewing glasses. Don’t worry we’ll have normal… Read more »

More on Whales in Washington DC

Derek Lardelli, ta moko artist, is from Whangara on the East Coast of New Zealand. He was in Washington DC for the opening of Whales|Tohorā. Listen to his interview with Kim Hill on Saturday 18 October where he talks about the opening and how the exhibition successfully integrates Māori culture and science.

Whales welcomed in Washington DC

Te Papa’s Whales Tohorā exhibition opened at the National Geographic Museum on 15 October with a traditional Māori dawn ceremony that blew Washington away! This was the same day Chile announced that its waters are now a whale sanctuary- that’s 5,500km of coastal waters protected from whale hunting for commercial or scientific purposes. A good day for… Read more »

Roseneath’s dead Pygmy Sperm whale

Anton pointing down to the washed up dead whale.

So I’m at my desk when my cell rings – its Anton (you know – our Collection Manager Marine Mammals)… “Do you wanna see a dead whale?” Of course! So off I trot (nice and quicksmart in time with whatever’s playing on my MP3) – not even worrying about what the Wellington wind was doing… Read more »

We farewell Whales|Tohorā

On Sunday evening 11 May 2008 Te Papa closed Whales|Tohorā. Over 140,000 people had visited the exhibition. During the morning several killer whales, or orca, played by the fountain in Oriental Bay – much to the delight and amazement of several of the Whales exhibition team members. We like to think it was a sign!… Read more »

Update on dissection and findings


The whale has now been completed dissected and the organs such as intestine, kidneys and heart, are being preserved in a formalin solution. the bones are being flensed (stripped of muscle). The stomach content revealed nothing out of the ordinary. Dr Joy Reidenberg is now in the process of investigating respiratory tract. Above you can… Read more »

Viscera revealed

This morning the internal organs were individually explored. The blood vessels near the heart showed that this whale successfully changed from an intra uterine to extra uterine life (technically, the ductus arteriosus was closed). The ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel that circulates oxygenated blood received from the mother whale while the baby whale is… Read more »

Last day of dissection


This morning the internal organs will be removed and preserved in jars for later study. I am assured that this will reduce the smell – I have a pretty good stomach for this kind of thing but whale guts smell bad! You can see part of the jaw being removed in the above picture and… Read more »

Lungs and heart


Above is a picture of the Pygmy right whale lung, it’s about 45cm long when stretched out like it is below. The lungs sit under the backbone of the whale and isn’t divided into lobes like human lungs are. The scientists told me that they think it’s smaller than usual in a whale of this… Read more »