Like the T. rex skeleton at the American Museum of Natural History, the blue whale model at London's Natural History Museum is the institution's unofficial mascot. The life-sized model (28.3 meters long) is now 75 years old. New Scientist tells the story of its birth:
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When an animal as big as a whale dies, its body becomes a whole new ecosystem. One whale carcass can support other forms of life for 50-to-75 years—basically as long as the whale itself lived.
This gorgeous video (I am not kidding. You will not need a unicorn chaser.) illustrates how that cycle works, using paper cutouts and simple puppetry. It's mesmerizing and enlightening.
The video was made for a Radiolab episode about whale falls, and was put together by Sharon Shattuck and Flora Lichtman. Amazing work!
Thanks to Ferris Jabr