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Press release


Series of free Whale Week events at the Natural History Museum
Monday 17 to Friday 21 January 2005

Webcast live at

Bigger than any dinosaur, the blue whale is the largest animal ever to live on Earth. But it faces extinction along with many other whales and dolphins. So what is being done to protect them? Join scientists and conservationists for Whale Week, a series of free Darwin Centre Live events looking at the threats whales and dolphins face, why strandings happen and what you can do to help.

Saving the Whale
Monday 17 January, 14.30
The black or northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), is so endangered there may be less than 350 left in the world. For many other species we simply don’t know enough about them to tell whether they’re endangered or not. Join whale conservation experts to look at the threats whales and dolphins face, what is being done to protect them and how you can help.

Tuesday 18 January, 14.30
Whales and dolphins are classed as ‘royal fish’, even though they’re mammals, and any that wash up on British beaches belong to the Queen. Since 1913, the Natural History Museum has been given the task of recording these strandings and investigating why they happen. Join Darwin Centre Live to hear more about the Museum’s work and some of the things we’ve discovered.

Ancient Whales
Wednesday 19 January, 14.30
What would it be like to find whales in the middle of the driest desert in the world? The fossilised bones of hundreds of dolphins, baleen, sperm and beaked whales are weathering out of the sands of the Chilean Atacama Desert. How long have they been there, how did they get there and why are there so many? Meet palaeontologist Stig Walsh to discover some of the answers.

Silent Witness of the Sea
Thursday 20 January, 14.30
Human autopsies help us understand how a person died, but did you ever wonder who does the same job with whales? Every year whales and dolphins are wash up onto UK beaches, and the Natural History Museum works in partnership with the Institute of Zoology to investigate why. Discover how we carry out whale autopsies and what they tell us. Not for the fainthearted.

Whalebone Buildings
Friday 21 January, 14.30
In the past, whales have given us meat, make-up, soap and even corsetry. But imagine what you could do with their giant bones. Join Nicholas Redman, author of Whales’ Bones of the British Isles, to discover how people have used the bones of stranded whales to build their homes.

Darwin Centre Live in the GlaxoSmithKline Studio at the Natural History Museum is a free programme of informal events where visitors can talk to scientists, hear more about their work at the Museum and around the world and see the fascinating specimens they work with. For further information, please contact the Natural History Museum by calling 020 7942 5000 or visit

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Visitor information
Dates: Monday 17 to Friday 21 January 2005
Admission: free
Venue: Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum,
Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD
Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 5000 Monday–Friday,
020 7942 5011 Saturday and Sunday

For further information, please contact:

Jo Glyde or Chloe Kembery, Science Communication PR
Tel: 020 7942 5880/5881
Email: or
(not for publication)

Issued December 2004