The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Dissection of blue whale in Newfoundland aims to further research

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WOODY POINT, N.L. - It may be a messy, smelly job, but scientists involved in carving up the carcass of a blue whale on Newfoundland's west coast are also furthering marine research.

A group from Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum used a fishing boat Thursday to tow the carcass from the beach at Trout River to a more accessible location off Woody Point.

While the biggest job involves removing flesh from the bones of the animal, museum curator Mark Engstrom says they are also preserving some of the tissues for future research.

He says some samples are being preserved for DNA analysis and the Barcode of Life, a biodiversity genomics project that aims to construct a DNA reference library.

Other samples will be used to determine what pollutants had entered the whale's body.

The whale's diet will also be studied.

The whale was among a group of nine blue whales that died last month after they were trapped in pack ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

(VOCM)

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