Gervais Whale Skeleton (Mesoplodon europaeus)
The Gervais is the most frequently stranded beaked whale in North Carolina. This skeleton was re-articulated from a whale which stranded on July 18, 2012 on the ocean beach of Salvo, NC. It was a 356 cm long, 445 kg sub-adult male. After the necropsy and pectoral fin radiographs, the bones were labeled, wrapped in nylon netting, and macerated in water with horse feces for nine warm months. The Gervais whale skeleton is now on display in the Repass Ocean Conservation Center at Duke marine lab in Beaufort. Watch a video of hanging the whale skeleton.
Around 340 man hours were dedicated to this project. We would like to thank everyone who helped with reporting, recovery, moving carcass, consultation, necropsy, related research, radiographs, bone weighing, bone preparation, note taking, carpentry, photography, volunteer/staff provisioning, music, and funding.
The team of Nan Bowles, Josh Summers, and Keith Rittmaster recently put the final touches on a Gervais’ beaked whale skeleton and presented it at the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Marine Mammal Symposium.
In November 2017 it is scheduled to go on display at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. As far as we know, this is the only skeletal display of this species in the world!