One of the cooler things at Bartlett Cove is a full humpback whale skeleton. Humpback whales can grow to be over forty feet long, so as you can imagine this thing is HUGE. It’s very interesting to see a whale skeleton, as compared to the actual animal. When the whale is in the water you can’t really walk around it and get a good look at everything. While the skeleton doesn’t show you exactly what it looks like it does give you a pretty good idea.
The flippers are massive. They are like huge hands. The tail is also strange, because it is just a line of bones. There aren’t any bones that make up the actual tail flipper. It makes me wonder how they are so sure about the shape of dinosaurs. There is no bone that would hint that a tail is present, yet the tail is one of the most important things for how the humpback whales swim. What if the water dinosaurs had massive tails flippers made out of cartilage and could essentially fly through the water?
There is also a story to go with the whale. It died, I believe after being hit by a boat, and washed up on shore. Whale carcasses are less than pleasant things to come upon. They usually smell incredibly awful. Nonetheless a team of scientists got all of the bones and cleaned them. Many of the bones are discolored and I can’t remember the reason why.
The construction of the thing is also impressive. It is pieced together with wire and it had to be done to appropriately represent what the whale actually looks like. I know how long it takes me to do a basic lego set, so I can only imagine that this project was much much longer. The final product is incredible. You can walk around the whale and get a true sense of its scale. Well done, Glacier Bay National Park!