Exploring life as a whale scientist

by | Nov 14, 2022 | News

The newest exhibit at the Telus World of Science explores the world’s largest animal to ever exist: the blue whale. Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story dives deep into the story of nine blue whales who tragically died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2014. As a result, scientists from the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) used this tragedy as an opportunity for research. Two of the nine whales that washed ashore are now on display at the exhibit. 

The exhibit features information on the decline of blue whales, current conservation efforts and research on how ROM scientists used DNA to discover new things about these mysterious creatures.

“They’ve got stories in here that are from researchers that were actually on the ground, working with these whales after they washed up on shore…There’s opportunities for you to be a researcher. You can look at some different tail flukes, which is a great way to identify different whales,” said Jen Bawden, Senior Manager of New Galleries and Research. 

A preserved blue whale heart that visitors can examine.
Photo credit: Lenna Stevens

On display in the centre of the exhibit visitors meet “Blue,” a complete blue whale skeleton over 24 metres long–the length of three school buses. ROM scientists were able to extract her bones when she washed up on shore, which is a rare phenomenon since blue whales usually sink when they die.

During the visit, visitors can see the only preserved blue whale heart in the world and compare its size to a human heart. The exhibit also features ancestor casts of blue whales to educate about the evolution of whales. 

“They came out on land, life evolved from the ocean, but then whales came and went back into the ocean. So I think there’s a really cool story there too,” said Badwden.
Out of the Depths: A Blue Whale Story gives visitors an opportunity to explore the life of a whale scientist. With a wide variety of interactive experiences, the whole family can learn about what life as a blue whale could look like. The exhibit is available until April 2023 and tickets can be purchased on the Telus World of Science website.

Cover Photo: Telus World of Science

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