On May 18, 2017, after two years of cleaning (composting of soft remains, soap and peroxide baths, and exposure to sunlight), the skeleton of Spinnaker arrived in Provincetown with the Whales and Nails team from Maine. Over five days her skeleton was raised within the atrium of the Ruth Hiebert Marine Laboratory for ongoing research and display.
The scope and detail of knowledge regarding this individual whale is unprecedented, from research sightings in all of her years of life to the skeletal injuries caused from specific entanglements. Despite this fact, much remains to be known about her. With her preservation Spinnaker offers all of us the opportunity to learn more about the life of whales in the modern world.
Some simple facts about the display of Spinnaker:
- Over 165 individual bones totaling 1,300 pounds
- There are no bones in the flukes of whales
- The entangling gear (gillnet) is the original gear from one of her 2014 entanglements
- Among the smallest bones of her skeleton are the pelvic (hip) bones
- The vomer bone (in humans this bone forms the separation of our nostrils) was cut in two
- Looking at her left flipper it becomes clear that they are homologous
- Many aspects of her skeletal anatomy are similar (homologous) to our own