The Anatomy Institute at Charles University’s first medical school had the world’s unique skeleton restored.

Black bones from which it was dripping with fat and a weevil skull pointing towards the windows. This is what the exhibition of the second largest whale skeleton in the Czech Republic looked like before conservators decided to save it. Now the skeleton of the Anatomy Institute museum is not only facing the entrance, the bones have also taken on a light color and a pleasant smell.

The goal of the restoration was to cleanse the nearly eight-meter skeleton of dirt and grease in the bones, thus preventing its degradation and mold. “First the bones have to be documented, then they get rid of the larger impurities. The next step is the lye to get the fat inside the bones. This was followed by drying, and finally d ‘an impregnation so that it does not disintegrate,’ explains Andrej Shbat of the Anatomy Institute of the 1st Faculty of Medicine at Charles University.

Although this Pentecostal skeleton does not reach half the length of the Czech Republic’s largest mouse skeleton in the National Museum, it is unique in the world due to the soft tissue remains that have remained there to this day.

The whale’s skeleton is the only one in the world on which remains of fins and other soft tissue have been preserved.

Photo: News

“The skeleton is complete, in addition to the intervertebral discs with ligaments, the cartilaginous nasal septum, remains of fins and skin, as well as the rest of the pelvis and hind limbs, which are one of the proofs that the animal moved earlier on earth, ”says Andrej Shbat.

“On the limbs of this whale we can observe what we call transformation. In terms of development, he has ancestors who were born in the water, then settled on land, where they adapted, and finally gradually came back to life in the sea ”, explains his colleague Ivo Klepáček from the ‘Institute of Anatomy.

The whale’s skeleton weighs about 350 kilograms. Originally, however, the animal’s weight could reach six tons. DNA analysis of the sample taken during the restoration, the results of which will be available in June, will determine which species of plaice it is.

DNA analysis reveals whether it is the skeleton of plaice or southern plaice.

Photo: Archives of the Institute of Anatomy, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, News

According to anatomists, it is most likely a small flounder or a southern flounder, which are very similar. “These plaice are still alive, they are not an endangered species, although they have been hunted for fat and meat in the past,” adds Shbat.

Prudencia 97, the Academy of Fine Arts, the Silesian Museum in Opava and the Institute of Chemical Technology for the Restoration of ICT Monuments in Prague participated in the restoration.

The history of the exhibit is revealed by fragments in the spine

The skeleton has probably been located in the institute building since the second half of the 19th century, but the last evidence of its presence dates back to 1923. Exact information on the history of the institute before 1945 is lacking.

Before the restoration, the beaver’s bones were black and leaked fat.

Photo: Archives of the Institute of Anatomy, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, News

With the advent of World War II, the institute was transformed into a department for the study of racial purity, which operated until 1945. In the same year, Prague suffered bombardments and shattered glass. panes fell on the whale’s skeleton from the windows. of the institute. After nearly eighty years, they were discovered on the upper surface of the spine by restorers.

Not only the whale skeleton, but also the anatomical museum itself will be renovated. The Institute of Anatomy of the First Faculty of Medicine of Charles University plans to unify and modernize the lighting and also to change the concept of the museum, which serves as an educational collection for medical students, the Faculty of sciences, Charles University and many Czechs and foreigners. high schools.

Winston Ferguson

"Total travelaholic. Subtly charming zombie geek. Friend of animals everywhere. Music buff. Explorer. Tv junkie."

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