click on photos to inlarge
Meanwhile, on the home front - the local branch of the university (UAA) made a major score by
hiring Professor Debbie Tobin for Marine Science classes. She also is a major player in the local
marine mammal stranding network. Besides documenting and helping on necropsies, she, with her
students and local volunteers, have started collecting and preparing whale bones from a gray
whale and a complete Bering Sea Beaked Whale skeleton. She and her students will articulate the
Beaked Whale skeleton in a future local marine biology or cetacean class.
I might even get to help.
When the whale is dead and stinky and bloated--and not
even the volunteers want to get close--and you want to
see inside it--and you need to do some gut-busting to
relieve  internal pressure. . .WHO YOU GONNA CALL?
Professor Tobin of course.
This is another gray whale from a local beach. Debbie Tobin, volunteer magnet, collected a bunch of
us, (including some visiting tourists who were in the right place at the wrong time) to retrieve some
whale bones. This is whale collecting Alaska style. Students-teachers-friends-volunteers, spent the day
collecting the head, flipper scapula and some assorted bones.
The bones were buried in horse poop for one year in snow-country, with a blue tarp thrown over the
top. Horse poop composting is state-of-the-art for cleaning big oily whale bones. The bones were
excavated--much like doing an archaeological dig. Then taken to a local car wash for a good bath.
They are being articulated for a display.
They also collected a 14-foot-long female Bering Sea Beaked
Whale, that washed up across Kachemak bay. After the
Seward Sea Life Center finished the necropsy, Debbie  and
her students (I got to help too) collected the skeleton and
covered it with horse poop in preparation of it being a
skeleton articulation project next fall or winter. There is likely
only two other skeletons of this species on display in the
world, making this a very rare opportunity to work  on a very
little known whale.
click on photos to enlarge
Step by step guides for the
preparation and articulation of
animal skeletons.
BY LEE POST (a.k.a. Boneman)  copyright 2005 by Lee Post                                                      Illustrations copyright  by Lee Post. All Rights Reserved                                                                        Merry Web Designs copyright 2005
THIS SITE LAST UPDATED: February 20, 2016