Blue Whale Skeleton

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Too many post-holiday days were spent indoors playing with new gadgets, so my boyfriend and I ventured out for a dayhike in the Marin Headlands. The weather was stunning, the drive was short, and the sights were amazing – the oceanside view of the GGB with the city as a backdrop, rather than the otherway around. We followed several trails leading into the hills overlooking Rodeo Beach and found ourselves behind the Marine Biology campus where we discovered an amazing display.

The layout was of an actual blue whale skeleton, from the whale the washed up at Fort Funston back in 1988. The decaying carcass was buried at the beach by scientists, 10 feet under the ground for 10 years, and in 1999 the insect-cleaned bones were brought to Marin and reassembled into this exhibit. The bones resembled bleached coral reef – chalky white and somewhat porously textured. A dried bundle of bleen – the fiberous ‘screen’ through which the whales filter out their krill lunch – was bundled beside the skull, like coconut husk fibers.

An amazing thing to see. And you can see it from Google Earth, too! look up 37°49’58.57″N, 122°31’57.68″W. After reading Liz’s post, I added a comment to wikimapia, too!

(upper left image from Headlands Institute display)

2 Comments so far

  1. Dave (unregistered) on December 29th, 2006 @ 6:57 pm

    Very cool.
    I remember when that whale washed up at Fort Funston. I took the #18 bus over there. You could smell it before even getting off the bus. It was pretty surreeal watching as people lined up to take their picture beside the moutain of rotting flesh. I seem to remember a few people even cut little pieces of meat as souvenirs.


  2. Nancy (unregistered) on December 29th, 2006 @ 7:37 pm

    flesh souvenier?? now THAT is gross.
    Especially since the scientists had determined that by the time it washed ashore, it had been dead for a few weeks and scavanged by sharks.



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