NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Giants of the deep are taking over at the American Museum of Natural History.
As CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock reported, humans have a fascination and kinship with the majestic whales on display in the “Whales: Giants of the Deep” exhibit.
“There’s this connection we have to them, and I think it’s because they’re our cousins,” said John Flynn, Frick curator of fossil mammals at the museum. “They’re mammals just like us.”
Flynn is the curator of the exhibit that allows visitors to explore the connection.
“My favorite is the blue whale heart,” he said.
The blue whale heart is hard to miss, and it’s a crowd-pleaser with kids, who can crawl right through it.
“I saw a cartoon in there,” said one youngster named Burke. “It’s about whales, but if we push the music, it will growl.”
Another child, Lila, described the whale’s heart as red, and explained that she played the role of the germ that made the whale sick.
The whale heart isn’t just for the kids. Adults can climb in too, as it is the size of a small car.
“It’s so big, a human really could climb in throughout the blood vessels,” Flynn said.
Meanwhile, the centerpiece of the exhibit is a display of sperm whale skeletons.
“The most impressive thing about them is that the skeleton is very strong and big,” said Ignacio Lander, 11.
The male sperm whale is 58 feet long – 20 feet longer than a school bus.
“Incredible teeth,” Flynn said. “These things are 8 to 10 inches long, and part of how they capture they’re prey items that they have, which is the giant squid.”
If you aren’t squeamish, enter “Search and Destroy’ to watch a simulation of the sperm whale hunting its prey at 5,000 feet. The sounds you hear are real, recorded using a tag.
You can also listen to other species such as the humpback whale in the sound chamber, or explore the evolution of the magnificent creatures. The exhibit includes a 45 million-year-old fossilized skull from a whale cousin that lived on land.
The exhibit opened to the public Saturday, and will be at the museum until early next year.
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