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Crowds flock to watch dissection of exploding sperm whale

The dissection of two beached whales in Jutland attracted a thousand spectators


A zoologist makes the first cut to let some gas out of the rotting whale carcass (Photo: Scanpix)

February 18, 2014
12:29

by Andreas Jakobsen


When two beached sperm whales on Henne Beach in Jutland were dissected by zoologists yesterday, it attracted more than a thousand curious visitors.

As one of the two whales was already dead when it reached land, a build-up of gas inside the rotting carcass meant that the conservators had to cut it up carefully to avoid a messy explosion.

But when Abdi Hedayat from the Natural History Museum made the first cut to let the air out of the 14-metre long animal's belly, a smelly mass of guts immediately burst out and smeared his face and rain parka with whale blood.

"It doesn't taste very good," Hedayat laughed when Ekstra Bladet tabloid interviewed him after the explosion, adding that these things were part of the job and the outcome could have been much worse.

Family photos on dead whale
But exploding carcasses didn't scare off the thousands of spectators who flocked to see the beached animals with their own eyes, causing some unusual traffic chaos near the quiet beach resort.

Reports of families snapping photos with their kids posing on top of one of the dead whales caused an uproar on social media.

"It's actually quite shocking," a spectator, Abelone Bergløv, told Politiken newspaper. "People behave badly out here. Both kids and adults crawled up onto the dead whale." 

It's not rare to see whales wash up on the west coast of Denmark. Two sperm whales got stranded on Henne Beach in 1984, and in total, 67 beached whales have been reported on the Jutland coast since the 16th century, of which 52 occurred in the last 100 years.



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