Wednesday, July 26, 2017

ROM - Out of the Depths

July 2017 - Toronto ON

WE went to the Royal Ontario Museum or ROM to see Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Click here to see the ROM's extensive post about the exhibit and the background.

The Toronto Star also has an interesting article.

Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story is a ROM original exhibition that retells the tragic story of 2014 and the unprecedented opportunity for research and conservation that resulted. Come face to face with the enormous eighty- foot skeleton of Blue, and discover the mind-blowing biology of blue whales; the humongous size of their heart, their unusual feeding behaviour, how they communicate and their evolution from land to sea. Find out how the ROM is studying their DNA to unlock some of the mysteries surrounding these large but elusive creatures, and gain insight into the global decline of the blue whale population and what is being done to protect the world’s largest animal…ever.

If you want a lot of details I suggest you read the two articles above, I'll show photos of what we saw.

It was mind boggling when you first stepped into the exhibit.

They had a scale to calculate how many of YOU would equal a blue whale.

 Our brain compared to the blue whale.

A blowhole is the hole at the top of a Cetacean's head through which the animal breathes air. It is homologous with the nostril of other mammals. As whales reach the water surface to breathe, they will forcefully expel air through the blowhole. The exhalation is released into the comparably lower-pressure, colder atmosphere, and any water vapor condenses. This spray, known as the blow, is often visible from far away as a white splash, which can also be caused by water resting on top of the blowhole.

The jaw.
Appearance of baleen hair in a whale's open mouth

A whale's baleen plates play the most important role in its filter-feeding process. In order to feed, a baleen whale opens its mouth widely and scoops in dense shoals of krill together with large volumes of water. It then partly shuts its mouth and presses its tongue against its upper jaw, forcing the water to pass out sideways through the baleen, thus sieving out the prey which it then swallows.

They only eat krill. Here is a stunning video.

Despite being the largest living mammal in the world the blue whales primary diet consists almost exclusively of krill, a small oceanic creature that generally measure in at a measly 1-2 centimeters; although a few species of krill can grow close to 6 inches in size.

A jar of krill, the colour has faded since they died.

When it comes to eating food the blue whale can consume as many as 40 million krill per day, which ends up weighing close to 8,000 pounds of food on a daily basis!

The heart!

It is the size of the Smartcar in the background.

People formerly used baleen (usually referred to as "whalebone") for making numerous items where flexibility and strength were required, including backscratchers, collar stiffeners, buggy whips, parasol ribs, crinoline petticoats and corset stays. It was commonly used to crease paper; its flexibility kept it from damaging the paper. It was also occasionally used in cable-backed bows. Synthetic materials are now usually used for similar purposes, especially plastic and fibre glass. It is not to be confused with whale's bone meaning the bones of whales, used in carving, for cutlery handles and other uses for the bones of various large species.

From the 16th century through the 19th century, whale oil was used principally as lamp fuel and for producing soap. Long utilized for lubricating fine instruments, whale oil was treated with sulfur to provide high-pressure lubricants used in machinery, and it was also important in the manufacture of varnish, leather, linoleum, and rough cloth (especially jute).

There is an ad below for whale steak.

In the first half of the 20th century, whale oil’s applications broadened immensely. Premodern oil was inedible, but advances in chemistry allowed fresh oil to be hardened into a fat, which was used for margarine and soap until vegetable oil became a practical alternative in the late 1930s. Whale oil was extremely important in the manufacture of nitroglycerin for explosives in both world wars, and whale liver oil was a major source of vitamin D through the 1960s.

Starting in the 1700's, petroleum oil, whale oil, kerosene mixed with soap and water, and other oils were in common use for insect population control.

1 comment:

  1. I would enjoy visiting this. There is a blue whale skeleton in the Museum of Nature here.


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