'Prolific Mother Whale' Will Continue Educating People, Even After Her Death

May 10, 2019

A humpback whale known to many along the eastern seaboard will continue educating people, even after her death.

College of the Atlantic research associate Dan DenDanto articulates a long-finned pilot whale for display at Bridgewater State University. DenDanto worked with Matt Messina, 2016, on the project.
Credit College of the Atlantic

The whale, named "Vector" by scientists, washed up at Cape Cod earlier this week.

Dan DenDanto of the College of the Atlantic is tasked with turning her skeleton into a museum exhibit. He was on the road Friday morning to pick up the final parts of the skeleton.

"She was tracked nearly every year of her life, and through documenting five calves, so she was a prolific mother whale, and died rather unexpectedly,” he says. “Carcass (was) found floating off the coast of Stellwagen Bank off of Cape Cod very recently."

DenDanto says the process of turning a whale carcass into a museum exhibit can take between one and two-and-one-half years to complete.

"And that's my passion, that interpretation of the exhibit or the animal, whatever the museum message is to the public,” he says. “For me, I did that through sculpture and form with a very large medium. So I feel pretty privileged to be able to do that."

DenDanto explained the history and significance of this preservation process to Maine Public: 

  Originally published 12:10 p.m. May 10, 2019.