The World Around Us

Friday Night Live at the ROM

Country: Canada by Marlowe


Photo of Marlowe and Elizabeth in front of Futalognkosaurus

Marlowe and Elizabeth in front of a very cool-ly lit Futalognkosaurus (according to Ren).

Hello all, long time no write.

I great deal has down down in the last nine months and one positive thing is I’m now a volunteer at the Royal Ontario Museum! As a Gallery Interpreter, I greet guests with an artifact (in my case a hadrosaur vertebra or Egyptian canopic jar) and pass on information by engaging with lots of simple questions.

Another activity that I really enjoy is doing this during ROM’s Friday Night Live event (FNL). ROM FNL is on the first Friday of most months and replaces the daylight hours with Toronto nightlife. One might assume that music and drinks doesn’t mix well with a stuffy museum environment, but that’s not the case. People are really engaged when you talk to them and sometimes the hardest part is ending the conversation (we’re told to keep it under five minutes). I always have a good doing this and this time I went as a guest!

The name of the most recent event was Blue. The ROM recently procured the skeleton of a blue whale and will begin the exhibit Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story any day now. Having received some free tickets, I went with my friends Elizabeth and Ren and we all had a blast! The spirits and conversation flowed and while we missed the preview in the basement, we learned a thing or two about blue whales.

Image of Blue Whale and Dolphin with a Human Diver for Scale

Here are a few factoids about whales!

  • Blue whales and fin whales can interbreed. One theory as to why this is happens is because of scarcity of mates due to diminished populations. Blue whale are currently listed as a threatened species.
  • Pakicetus BW.jpg

    Pakicetus, an early whale.

    All whales evolved from ancestors what walked on land! Although already semi-aquatic, animals like Pakicetus are what whales used to look like.

  • A large blue whale’s heart is about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle car, weighing about 400 pounds or 180 kg.
  • There was a completely fascinating talk by a researcher who said they were able to, through DNA, estimate blue whale populations many years ago in an effort to gauge decline. Unfortunately, the ROM has taken down the lecture web page. If anyone reads this and knows the answer, please leave it in the comments.