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Shark Scanned

3D scanning engineer Ben Tams scans the 600-kilogram head of the male basking shark. Source: SMH. Photo: Getty.

Bridie Smith, Rare basking shark with a head for science becomes model specimen, The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 July 2015

You wouldn’t know it to look at him but this shark is model material. Sure, he’s not what you’d call classically good looking – his eyes are small and his teeth far from impressive. But he’s a basking shark. And southern hemisphere scientists don’t see many of them.

A fortnight after his untimely death in the nets of a fishing trawler off Portland, the head of the male basking shark has been removed and made its way to Melbourne where it has been laser scanned so the museum can make a 3D model for public display.

“This is the first time we have done 3D scanning at the museum, certainly at this scale,” said Martin Gomon, the museum’s senior curator of ichthyology.

At 6.5-metres long, the shark was too large to transport and store whole. So along with the 600-kilogram head, Museum Victoria researchers removed the 2.6-tonne animal’s dorsal, pectoral, anal and pelvic fins and a selection of vertebrae ranging in size from a dinner plate to a saucer. Muscle and tissue samples were also taken for DNA and isotope analysis.

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Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2021
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