Blue whale bones land in the compost
Blue whale skeletons undergo composting process to clean them before display
A Royal Ontario Museum team working to clean the bones of two blue whales that washed ashore this spring in western Newfoundland are undergoing yet another smelly stage of the job, as the bones get buried in truckloads of manure.
After the whale carcasses beached in Trout River and Rocky Harbour, N.L., the museum workers first had the daunting task of taking apart the rotting flesh to get to the bones, in hopes of using them for display.
On Thursday, they had yet another stinky gig, as the bones were buried in shipping containers filled with layers of manure and sawdust to allow a composting process clean them.
"I love my job. It's what every girl dreams of — working with endangered species and poop," said Colleen Rowley, a worker with Research Casting International, the company assisting the ROM with the noxious work in Trenton, Ont.
Workers said burying the bones is child's play compared to the job earlier this year of disassembling the rotting carcasses.
The cleaning process is estimated to take just over one year.
One skeleton will end up back with Newfoundland's Memorial University, while the other heads to the ROM in Toronto. If enough money can be raised, it's hoped both will be displayed in a few years.