From Strelasund to the showcase

Among the many - both historic and current - sightings and whale findings in the Baltic Sea, which so far have been documented by the German Oceanographic Museum and collected, some of these are of dolphins. These are no pleasant moments for the scientists of the museum, because we would much prefer to encounter the popular and intelligent marine mammals healthy and alive in their natural habitat. Although a few of them find their way safely back into the North Sea, the excursion into the Baltic Sea does, however, end in death for most strays. Often the cadaver left behind is already rotting, which makes quick identification difficult. The skeletons are, however, prepared, recorded in scientific collections or used for exhibitions.

This was the case for the skeletons of two white beaked dolphins from the 90's as well. The specimen exhibited in the MEERESMUSEUM in the dolphin display case was discovered in 1975 in the Bodden waters off Neudorf on the island of Hiddensee. It was a 2.70 metre, approximately 200 kilogramme female animal. The carcasses had to be skeletonised while still on-site due to the high degree of decomposition. Only a few days earlier, probably the same dolphin was seen in the Strelasund, where it repeatedly jumped out of the water.

The museum taxidermists have recreated the animal for the showcase, which shows also the original skeleton. In contrast, a Common dolphin "swims" alongside and a section of a porpoise gives an insight into the interior of marine mammals.


  • Title: Skeleton specimen of a white-beaked dolphin
  • Physical Location: Deutsches Meeresmuseum, Stiftung Deutsches Meeresmuseum
  • Rights: photo: Johannes-Maria Schlorke

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