Skeleton of Thames whale goes on show

  • @tompeck

Laid bare, the remains of a beast that captivated a nation one dark winter.

This is the centrepiece of a new exhibition at the Natural History Museum at Tring, Hertfordshire, the skeleton of the northern bottlenose whale that swam up the Thames in January 2006, and died three days later as it was being taken back to sea on a barge.

The Thames Whale Story opens on the 22 January and will be on display until 2 May. It follows the dramatic three days in which the whale swam up the Thames, explores how it came to be so far from its home in the North Atlantic, and its importance to science today.

The northern bottlenose whale was the first of its species to be seen in the river since scientists began recording strandings on Britain's coastline almost 100 years ago.

Richard Sabin, senior curator of mammals at the Natural History Museum, explained: "Scientists from all over the world will use this specimen for research. Gaining new specimens is very important to science to find out more about how the world is developing and changing."