By Sarah Sharkey
Featured Image Credit: The Royal Ontario Museum
We all know that blue whales are the biggest mammals on earth. It would make sense that their hearts are also gigantic. It is one thing to believe that, it is another thing to see it!
Experts from the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto were able to perfectly preserve the heart of one blue whale. Back in May of 2014, 9 blue whales were trapped in ice and died off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Of the nine carcasses, two were in good enough condition to preserve.
The experts were able to recover one fully articulated skeleton and one full size heart! The heart is 6 feet tall and 440 pounds. It needs to be that large because blue whales can grow up to 100 feet long, s the heart has a big job to do.
Preserving a 440-pound heart is no easy feat. Jacqueline Miller, lead of the preservation team, said, “Its size accelerates decomposition, so it’s remarkable we got to salvage a heart.”
— Cheryl Fraser (@FraserCee) May 18, 2017
Roughly 1,000 gallons of formaldehyde were used to stop the tissue decomposition. After this formaldehyde bath, researchers soaked the heart in acetone to remove all water. Next a technique called plastination was used to remove the acetone, which left the whale heart in perfect preservation condition. It was then kept in a vacuum chamber for four months to make sure that everything was in order.
An amazing job that could potentially last up to 1,000 years. The whale heart is on display at the Royal Ontario Museum.
Learn more from our source.