When a female blue whale washed up in western Newfoundland in 2014, scientists took the opportunity to preserve her heart (http://tinyurl.com/heartwhale).
Jacqueline Miller of the Royal Ontario Museum led the charge to remove the 400-pound organ. “It took four staff onsite plus myself to push the heart out of the thoracic cavity … and into a dumpster bag,” she told Smithsonian Magazine.
A Research Casting International team helped, then froze the heart for transport, defrosted it, sealed the cavities and pumped it full of formaldehyde. Then the heart was shipped to Germany to be plastinated (water and fat are replaced by plastics).
This May, almost three years later, the 6.5-foot tall heart arrived at the Royal Ontario Museum, and is now on display. It is pictured, courtesy of the museum. If you happen to be in that neck of the woods, the exhibit is there until Sept. 4.
Be prepared to be impressed. “It’s large enough to squeeze into a Smart car,” Miller noted.