In a very rare event, the body of a dead blue whale has washed up on a beach in North Iceland, causing quite a stir in the scientific community.
The carcass was discovered by archaeologists from the Skagafjordur Heritage Museum in North Iceland on a beach near the abandoned Asbud farm on the Skagi peninsula on Monday.
The whale is reported to be around 21.8 metres-long and has probably been dead for quite a long time, according to Jacob Kasper, a specialist at the Icelandic Marine Research Institute and recent graduate of the University Centre of the Westfjords’ Coastal and Marine Management Master’s degree programme. Kasper and associates took samples from the carcass on Wednesday.
Morgunbladid reports Gudmundur Gudmundsson, secondary director of the Natural History Museum of Iceland, as saying that the museum is interested in displaying the whale’s skeleton.
He said the museum would like to display the skeleton in a prominent place worthy of its value: “We thought it was right to react straight away because this is, in fact, the only way to acquire a specimen of this type of whale—they are completely protected,” he said.
Gudmundsson added that it is extremely rare for the carcasses of blue whales to drift ashore anywhere. “It has happened in this country before, but not in recent decades”.
Blue whales are the biggest creatures to have ever lived on Earth. They can grow up to 30 metres and weigh up to 150 tonnes.