Blainville’s beaked whale skeletal display in the Bonehenge Whale Center

Our most recent display installed in the Bonehenge Whale Center is the complete skeleton of an adult male Blainville’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) from a specimen that stranded on Ocracoke in February 2015. The steps involved in the bone preparation and rearticulation included:

  • carcass flensing
  • pectoral fin x-rays
  • maceration
  • warm diluted ammonia/detergent soaks – 2 weeks
  • 4% hydrogen peroxide soak – 5 days
  • treatment in trichlorethylene vapor degreaser
  • repairing broken ribs
  • sealing bones with 2 coats of diluted Jade 403 bookbinder glue
  • replicating a tooth prior to cutting it for age estimation
  • cutting polyethylene foam disks to fit between vertebrae
  • drilling vertebral centra and mounting on stainless steel pipe and rod
  • building rib cage using coated rebar tie wire and casting resin mixed with bone dust
  • mounting chevrons using monofilament line and E6000 adhesive
  • installing stainless rod in each pectoral fin connecting scapula through humerus into radius
  • mounting pectoral fins on Plexiglas

Typical of long-term projects we undertake, a team of dedicated, talented, and kind people contributed to its success. A big thank you to the following people:

Ava Besecker
Barbie Lebrun
Cary Spencer
Craig Harms

David Mickey
Elsa Ehlers
Heather Broadhurst
John Hairr

John Ososky
Jordan Reimers
Josh Summers
Keith Rittmaster
Vicky Thayer

Kim Farr
Krysta Rogers
LaNelle Davis
Lindsey Cobb

Nan Bowles
Paul Nader
Sydney Zimmerman
Taylor Holeman

Representing the following organizations:

Bonehenge Whale Center
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Carolina Cay Maritime Found.
Friends of the Museum

Lincoln Memorial University
NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
NC Division of Marine Fisheries
NC Marine Mammal Stranding Net.                                                  

NC Maritime Museum
NCSU Center for Marine Sciences and Technology
NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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