World's biggest heart - from a blue whale - displayed in Toronto
12:03 PM, August 03, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:14 PM, August 03, 2017

World's biggest heart - from a blue whale - displayed in Toronto

The world's biggest heart, which came from a blue whale found dead in 2014, has been displayed at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

"I'm standing in front of the heart of a blue whale. So this heart has been in a preparation stage for over a year. It came from a blue whale that had died in 2014 and now we have it on display in 2017 at the Royal Ontario Museum," said Burton Lim, assistant curator of mammalogy at ROM.

Blue whales (specimens) are very rare because most of the time blue whale carcasses actually sink because blue whales don't have as much fat or blubber as other species of whales.

"The skeleton was buried in a manure compost for about a year and a half to get off most of the flesh and to get out some of the oil that's in the bones. But after that the bones had to be taken out of the manure complex and we had to de-grease it to get the rest of the oil and grease out of the bones. The plastination itself took about one year and that had to be shipped over to Germany," Lim said.

The water, while it can cause things to start rotting away, and the enyzmes, have to be drawn out of the heart. So that was put into almost like a vacuum chamber and that drew out a lot of the water and enzymes and chemicals but then it was forced back in with a silicon polymer to replace, so the organs of that could decompose.

"The size of the heart is about five feet high and about four feet wide. It weighed about 400 pounds but a lot of these are estimates," Lim added.

The blue whale is the biggest species that has ever lived on earth, bigger than any dinosaur. Some dinosaurs, like a sauropod, are longer but by weight the blue whale is the heaviest animal that has ever lived and of course its heart is the biggest heart.

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