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Sperm whale skeleton

Swiming through the gallery since 1896


This Sperm Whale skeleton has hung in its present position since 1898. The whale, a yound male, washed up on the coast of Massachusetts in 1896. The following year, the Museum’s director bought the skeleton for $300. It was shipped to Manchester docks in three crates and took Harry Brazenor (a local taxidermist) three weeks to put together. Whale skeletons like this were popular exhibits in 19th century museums. The Sperm Whale was hunted for the oil in its blubber and for a special oil that filled a capsule on the whale’s head. ‘Moby Dick’ was a Sperm Whale. Large male Sperm Whales can grow to 18 metres long and weigh 44 tonnes. Sperm Whales are found around the world in deep water. They can dive to 500 metres, where they hunt for squid.