The Sei whale, a species rarely seen in Scotland, was found dead on November 11 after stranding on the shore at Dalgety Bay in Fife.
Parts of the 37 foot long male including its skull and baleen and other bones from the pelvis, tail and flippers were taken by National Museums Scotland (NMS) for research along with other samples. Because of their rarity in Scotland, they could be displayed in the future.
“The National Museum of Scotland has one of the largest cetacean collections in the world, but we only have two Sei specimens. The more samples we have for research, the more we can discover.
“We have over 4000 whales and dolphins and 99 per cent of all the specimens we collect for research only but of course this is such a scarce animal it could go on characterize, already just temporarily.”
Sei whales are among the largest living creatures growing up to 64 feet long and swim at speeds of up to 31mph, feeding almost exclusively on small crustaceans.
Tests on the whale that stranded in Fife showed it had an empty stomach and depleted energy. Parasites were found in the whale’s gut and there was an ear infection thought to be bacterial.
The day before it died, the whale had become stuck nearby at North Queensferry, which tests showed had also caused internal damage already though it was seen to free itself in the rising tide.
Veterinary pathologist Dr Andrew Brownlow, organiser of the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, part of the University of Glasgow, said: “To show an animal like this that has come into these waters, already under such sad circumstances, and get people aware and interested in what’s going on in the marine ecosystem, can only be a positive thing.”
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