This past Tuesday John and I were fortunate to have the opportunity to preview the new exhibit, Whales: Giant’s of the Deep at the American Museum of Natural History. The exhibit, which will open to the public this weekend, traces the evolution of whales from land to sea mammal, illustrating this with casts made from fossils found off the coast of New Zealand, videos, illustrations and whale skulls and skeletons. The exhibit also explains more clearly the way whales use echolocation to navigate and hunt or forage for food and also takes a closer look into the history of the whaling industry. Whales: Giants of the Deep, examines the relationship mankind has developed with whales throughout history from those who created the laws that now protect them, to the people who have made it their life mission to help preserve the lives of the gentle giants, to the traditions of the Maori whale riders.
Whales: Giants of the Deep is an exhibit composed of more than 20 whale skulls and skeletons with two fully assembled Sperm whale skeletons, a male and female that hang from the ceiling in the center of the exhibit. Upon entering the exhibit you are greeted with a video projected on the wall in front of you, playing under water scenes of whales playing and swimming together. There are multiple video displays throughout the exhibit, one that provides you with a more in-depth look at how a whale hunts and forages, taking the viewer on a deep sea adventure from the perspective of a sperm whale as he uses echolocation to hunt for squid! A separate video shows a time lapse of the evolution from a Pakicetus attocki, a land mammal that looked like a mix between a dog and a rat, to a Kutchicetus minimus which was the earliest whale to exist approximately 43 million years ago, an evolution that took about 12 million years. Clips of the movie Whale Rider play at the back of the exhibit while another video documents the efforts made by people who attempt to save the lives of the hundreds of whales that strand themselves every year on beaches across the globe. As you make your way through the exhibit the sounds of whale calls and clicks fill the air and combined with the soft lighting of the room, it truly makes you feel as though you stepped into the underwater world of the gentle giants. Whales: Giants of the Deep is truly an amazing exhibit and I encourage all those who can make it to the American Museum of Natural History to be sure to check it out on your next visit. The exhibit will be open to the public starting March 23rd, 2013 and ending January 5th, 2014.
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