Research using the cetacean collections

Blue whale skeleton

Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) skeleton in the mammal hall

Principal Investigator

Dr Natalie Cooper

Project summary

We are using the cetacean collections to investigate the ecology and evolution of the largest animals on Earth.

We are taking 3D scans of the Museum's blue whale skeleton, and other cetaceans from our collection, to study their biomechanics and evolution.

We are also analysing stable isotopes in bone samples to improve our understanding of changes in whale ecology and how our oceans have changed over time.

Our work coincides with the relocation of the blue whale from the Mammal Hall to Hintze Hall.

A dolphin skeleton from the Mammal collections

Scanning the skeletons of whales and dolphins should give scientists insights into the evolution of these animals


Funded by

Origins, evolution and futures

We study the Earth's origins, environment and the evolution of life.


Determining the diversity, biogeography, taxonomy and phylogeny of vertebrates.

Zoology collections

Our zoology collection has 29 million animal specimens and is rich in voucher, type and historical specimens.