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Bone by Bone, Museum to Dismantle Blue Whale Skeleton

The skeleton will undergo a four-month restoration process

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History will begin the dismantling process of the blue whale skeleton at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The process will begin with the flippers. Then each individual rib will be removed. Finally, the vertebral column (the backbone) will be removed by sections.

The dismantling process is expected to be completed by midday Friday, and the 4,169 pounds of blue whale bones will be trucked off to Academy Studios in Novato to undergo the restoration process.

The skull bones (about 3,542 pounds) will remain, as the museum will utilize a new set of skull bones that were harvested from the first 2007 blue whale strandings. Currently, the “new” skull bones are located in Gaviota.

The blue whale skeleton is expected to return to the museum in about four months.

— Easter Moorman is the marketing and public relations manager for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

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