Gavin Hanke Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Royal BC Museum (@RoyalBCMuseum) on the life, death and anatomy of Rhapsody – the skeletal star of the museum’s fantastic exhibit Orcas: Our Shared Future #RBCMOrcas – which is open until 2022 before touring the world (and was written by Skaana host, Mark Leiren-Young @leirenyoung).

Rhapsody Orca Breaching

Rhapsody (J32). Credit: Josh McInnes

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Images of Skaana peeps with the skeleton of Rhapsody.

Photos by Rayne Ellycrys Benu

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Significant Quotes:

  • “This is a typical skeleton and it’s in beautiful shape… Rhapsody here, she was in the prime of her life… She was basically perfect.” (10:09)
  • “It’s kind of like LEGO, but with a real, with a real animal, it was, it was a lot of fun to put one together.” (12:24)
  • “Anyone thinking a museum job is nine to five and you go home and forget about it, it’s not the way museum work is. You’re always on. You’re always thinking about it and you’re not. I make the joke that these things aren’t getting any deader, but we don’t want them to degrade. We want these specimens here for thousands of years. As long as humans exists, we want these specimens available for research and study and the older they get, the more value that the valuable they become, because you can’t go back in time to collect a killer whale from 2014. This is now a time capsule. So the one neat thing about a museum is you can go back in time in a sense and handle specimens from the 1800’s. Nowhere else can you do that. No one else preserves the actual physical evidence from the past. And that’s the beauty of museum work.” (15:41)
  • “I think anyone who works at a museum also has a very supportive spouse because sometimes you come home, like, if I’ve been moving whales, I will come home smelling like whale fat..” (18:02)


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Skaana visits Rhapsody @ the Royal BC Museum Photo Credits: Rayne Ellycrys Benu