28 February 2016

The Belly of the Whale


This time-lapse video of a whale autopsy is morbidly fascinating.


BY Clara Chaisson 

Experts recently got a rare up-close look at a Cuvier’s beaked whale—and I mean really up-close. This time-lapse video (warning: not for those easily made queasy) shows a team of zoologists and veterinary pathologists performing an autopsy on the marine mammal after it mysteriously became stranded near Blanford, Nova Scotia, earlier this month. The whale was the first of its kind to wash up on Canada’s eastern coast—the species prefers very deep waters far offshore—and the event offered a sad but fascinating opportunity to examine one of these elusive cetaceans.

Though more tests are still being run, the necropsy hasn't yet revealed anything obvious that may have caused the apparently healthy young male’s death. But the untimely demise will continue to provide educational opportunities even post-post-mortem. After it gets cleaned up a bit, this tragic beauty’s skeleton will be on display in the New Brunswick Museum’s whale collection.