The Whale That Didn’t End Up Exploding Is Being Chopped Up and Shipped Across the Country

Dismantling a blue whale, piece by piece

05_14_2014_blue whale.jpg
A different blue whale skeleton rests on Goudier Island, Antarctica. Frans Lanting/Corbis

Two weeks ago all eyes were on Trout River, a small fishing town in Newfoundland, Canada, where an 81-foot-long blue whale was getting set to explode. The whale was dead, and as it decayed its rotting flesh released masses of methane gas, stretching the whale's necrotic skin and threatening to make the whole thing go pop. (For the adventurous, here's what that looks like.) But the whale didn't burst, and rather than having bits of blue whale scattered about the beach, Trout Riverians had an increasingly decrepit whale carcass to deal with.

A good blue whale is an awful thing to waste, though, and workers from the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto have been working hard over the past week cutting the whale into manageable bits, preparing it for a long trip to the museum.

On Twitter, staff from the ROM have been posting photos and chronicling their journey. You can find more photos under the hashtag #bluewhale. Some of the photos are a little more gruesome than others:

The ROM team is just wrapping up work dismantling the Trout River whale. Once they're done there, though, says the Canadian Press, they may be on their way to nearby Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland, where a second blue whale washed ashore. Whether that second whale gets a similar treatment to the female in Trout River, says the CP, depends on whether the ROM can dig up the money.

Once the Trout River whale is back in Toronto, says the CP, it “will later become accessible to scientists as part of the Royal Ontario Museum's collection. The skeleton may also be assembled for display if funds are available.”

Get the latest stories in your inbox every weekday.