of the Ocean Realm: Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises," an exhibition
featuring life-size whales, dolphins and porpoises, opens Oct. 5
at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. The exhibition
features hands-on displays and walk-through dioramas showcasing
the evolution, study and conservation of the cetaceans - whales
and their kindred species. "Masters of the Ocean Realm"
continues through Jan. 2, 2002.
of the Ocean Realm" explores the vital place of whales and
their relatives on our planet and their influence on our culture.
The exhibition reveals how cetaceans evolved from a wolf-like land
mammal into an array of sea creatures. Through a variety of displays,
visitors will learn about the unique traits these sea mammals have
developed - such as echolocation and blowholes - and see how they
interact as family groups and in hunting packs.
replicas of dolphins, a killer whale, a narwhal, a pygmy sperm
whale, a Gulf of California harbor porpoise, and the unusually
long-nosed Franciscana dolphin, which lives only in the waters
off the coast of South America
- A jukebox
that plays several of the most well-known whale songs - including
those from the humpback and gray whales
- A chart and
stopwatch to allow children to compare how long they can hold
their breath to the time achieved by the world record-holding
- Models of
cetacean teeth and baleen, the large filtering device for straining
tiny food particles from the water
blubber overlying half of a chilled surface, illustrating how
whale fat is excellent insulation
the exhibit feature both underwater scenes which visitors walk through,
and snapshots of human habitats that have been influenced by the
sea mammals. Included are an ancient Greek ruin containing artifacts
of dolphin artwork and coins; a replica of a 19th-century New England
home complete with whale oil lamps, scrimshaw and whale fat soap;
and a diorama featuring a Native American storyteller, with recorded
of the Ocean Realm," an exhibition of the Natural History Museum
of Los Angeles County, conveys a message of both education and conservation.
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a federal science
agency with responsibility for marine mammals in U.S. territorial
waters, is a partner in presenting this exhibition at the Smithsonian.
NOAA oversees advanced research projects involving marine mammals,
such as satellite tracking of whales which will be highlighted in
the exhibition, and strong conservation and education programs about
marine mammal strandings and recovery.
here to enter the NOAA website.
is made possible with the support of the Cingular Wireless "Be
Sensible" campaign, a public service initiative encouraging
safe and courteous wireless phone use.