Whales have big hearts.
No, really big hearts. Like, massive. And the actual heart that once belonged to Echo, the sperm whale skeleton hanging in the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, NC is being displayed at the museum for the very first time.
Is it squishy and gross?
No! It’s plastinated. They take the actual heart and replace the water and lipid tissues with curable polymers. Basically, the heart has been turned to plastic. As far as we know, it’s the first sperm whale heart to undergo the process.
“This is a one-of-a-kind specimen,” said Keith Rittmaster, the museum’s Natural Science Curator. “Dozens of talented and enthusiastic collaborators from various schools and laboratories conspired to preserve and study this sperm whale heart with the goal of returning it for display with Echo, at the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Beaufort.”
When and where can I see this cardiac curiosity?
North Carolina Maritime Museum, Beaufort, NC
Thursday, Feb. 14 from noon to 1 p.m. (That’s one huge Valentine. Bring your sweetheart, point at the whale heart and tell your date, “this is how much I love you!”)
Saturday, Feb. 16 from 7 to 9 p.m.. Saturday’s event will offer heart science lectures, a comparative heart anatomy seminar, heart-healthy munchies and additional displays.
Click here for more information on this event!
Click here to learn more about Echo, the 33′ sperm whale skeleton on display in the museum.
Click here to read about Echo’s stranding from January 2004.