Georgia Aquarium offers a look inside sea creatures
ATLANTA — The Georgia Aquarium is giving visitors the chance to peer inside the bodies of giant sea creatures.
The exhibit, “Sea Monsters Revealed: Aquatic Bodies,” includes the preserved bodies of sharks and other animals with their flesh stripped away to expose muscles, bones and organs underneath.
The exhibit, which opened this weekend in the aquarium, is similar to the popular “Bodies” and “Body Worlds” exhibits of dissected human bodies that have toured the world.
The “Sea Monsters Revealed” show includes 18 big sea creatures — a 6-foot-wide devil ray, a 15-foot-long mako shark and an 18-foot-long, 3,000-pound whale shark — along with more than 150 individual organs and smaller animals.
As visitors walk along one side of the giant whale shark, the characteristic gray skin with white dots can be seen. Walking up the other side, that skin has been taken away to show the muscle structure underneath. A cavity opened underneath the shark shows comb-like structures along its gills that allows the shark to filter the water for food.
Another remarkable part of the exhibit is a silky shark with the skin peeled away on one side to reveal several embryos inside her abdomen.
“These are creatures that historically, in the early days when they were first discovered, were considered monsters because early sailors who saw these animals really didn't know what they were,” said aquarium spokesman Cary Rountree. “Over time, it's been revealed that they're actually some of the most marvelous animals in our ocean.”
Visitors to the Georgia Aquarium can see live examples of whale sharks and devil rays, and then see how their bodies work in the new exhibit, Rountree said.
The preserved specimens do not include animals from the Georgia Aquarium. All of the animals in the “Sea Monsters Revealed” exhibit were recovered from fisheries and other sources in accordance with animal protection standards, the aquarium says.
The bodies are preserved using a polymer preservation technique known as plastination, which was used on the human specimens in the “Bodies” exhibit. The process prevents decay by first replacing water and fatty materials in the cells with acetone and then with plastics, such as silicone rubber, polyester or epoxy resin.
The preserved bodies are durable but must be handled carefully as parts could easily break off, Rountree said.
The Georgia Aquarium is the second stop for the exhibit, which is billed as the world's largest exhibition of plastinated sea creatures. Earlier this year it was at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Fla. It will be open in Atlanta for at least a year, but its run may be extended based on its popularity.
In addition to the preserved bodies, the exhibit includes a brief history of man's interaction with these great sea creatures and a number of video and text displays.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Suspect in custody after shooting at Colorado Planned Parenthood
- Democrats face long odds in battle for lost congressional seats
- Plasma burp seen in star’s destruction by black hole
- Chicago retail district targeted by protesters
- Floods claim lives in Texas
- American held captive in Cuba for 5 years expected quick release
- Experts foresee big premium increases for Medicare drug plan
- Police investigate flights diverted for suspicious passengers, bomb threats
- Drugmakers Pfizer, Allergan reportedly on brink of $150 billion merger
- Snow-coated Midwest gets deep freeze
- Suspect named in New Orleans medical student shooting