A nearly 50-foot whale that washed up on the beach in Port Aransas three years ago may soon be dug up and then put on public display.
That's the idea anyway, and folks at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute are talking about doing just that.
Right now it is just an idea, and there are no concrete plans underway, but it may happen, and officials say it would be a massive undertaking.
It was February of 2010 when the baleen whale washed up on the beach in Port A. That presented quite the headache, as the arrival presented literally tons of rotting material.
At the time, a decision was made to take out a couple of dunes, bury the whale, and then rebuild the dunes. Tony Amos of the Marine Science Institute said he didn't know exactly how long it would take for the whale to decompose completely, and just leave a skeleton behind, but a few weeks ago he went back to the site and did a little probing. He discovered that process has already happened.
Now, Amos and others want to dig up the whale's bones and put them on display.
"It will be a magnificent thing for the public to see," Amos said. "The size and the power and the beauty of the bones that make up these wonderful animals."
One of the proposals is to put the bones on a pavilion outside of the visitors' center at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas.
There are at least 200 bones in the whale. Amos said the skull itself weights about 500 pounds. Currently at the visitor's center there is a single jaw bone of another fin whale on display that weighs 275 pounds. There is also a skull of a smaller whale, which weighs 425 pounds.
Because all marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the institute needs to get permission from the federal government before this can happen. Amos is hopeful that they that will get that approval.