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Sea Giant’s Heart

The new exposition “Depth” opened on December 12, presents many exhibits and the central ones are the submersible “Mir-1” and the giant sperm-whale skeleton. However, there is one more object that attracts guests with its uniqueness – a real gray whale’s heart. It was delivered from Saint-Petersburg just before the museum depository was opened. The exhibit was “created” by the specialists of the International Morphological Centre.

The heart was got with the permission of the Department of Farming Policy and Nature Management of Chukotka Autonomous Region. The animal was got by hunting quota that is given to native people of the North in order to support their traditional life. The material was frozen, put into a container and then transported to Moscow. Later, the heart was delivered to Kaliningrad where it was temporary stored at AtlantNIRO.

By the way, there are only a few exhibited mammals’ hearts in the world, mainly these are wet mounts or models. The heart was made in a polymeric embalming (plastination) technique that appeared relatively not long ago. The inventor of this method was Gunther von Hagens, he took out a patent in 1978. In comparison with traditional wet mounts these exhibits are non-toxic, keep its natural form and can be studied both visually and tactually, have got no expiry date, demand no containers for storage and are very durable. They can be demonstrated at the exhibition or any other public presentations.

The whale’s heart was a bit damaged while being taken out by Chukchi hunters. Nevertheless, professional anatomists almost smoothed them and guests of the exhibition “Depth” can see a real whale’s heart and even compare their hearts with it. How to do it? Just compare your fist with the heart and see the difference.

By the way, there will be a walrus’ heart here as well. Brief information The gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) is a baleen whale that migrates between feeding and breeding grounds yearly. It reaches a length of 14.9 meters (49 ft), a weight of 36 tonnes (40 short tons), and lives between 55 and 70 years. The common name of the whale comes from the gray patches and white mottling on its dark skin.

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