Walking into the Science Library lobby, many patrons are used to seeing the Giant Sloth on display, but now there is something new to look forward to! On loan from the Georgia Museum of Natural History and hanging in the Science Library is a Pygmy Sperm Whale skeleton. The display of this toothed whale has encouraged an entire marine mammal display, featuring baleen (bristle-like krill-catchers) from the mouth of a Humpback Whale, mandibles and teeth from Killer Whales, the skull of a Bottlenose Dolphin, and vertebrae and hand bones from various other whales seen on the Georgia coast.
This special display was brought to us by collaboration between the Science Library; three interns at the Georgia Museum of Natural History, Patricia Dunleavy, Sarah Hall, and Matthew Baker, as an assignment for their class, Environmental Interpretation for Outdoor Recreation and Nature-Based Tourism (NRRT 7800); and Library Student Assistant Georgia Cobb. The display seeks not only to inform patrons of the variety of whales and marine mammals present right off our shores, but also to incite interest and awareness in the collections found at the Georgia Museum of Natural History. It begs the question ‘is bigger better for Georgia’s hidden treasures’ and leaves it up to you to answer. You’ll find interesting facts about size variation, habits, and endangered status of these mammals, plus you’ll be closer to a Pygmy Sperm Whale than you’ll probably ever be (stop by the Science Library to find out why!).