Archaeologists Uncover London’s Moby Dick

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Natural History Museum Curator, Tracey Heath, poses beside part of a whale skeleton, at the Museum of London Docklands on September 9, 2010 in London, England.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

A remarkable discovery along the River Thames in London, has uncovered the remains of an incredible creature, equal in both size and proportion to Herman Melville’s legendary whale, Moby Dick.

“Moby”, it’s believed, has been stranded in Greenwich, along the shore of the River Thames, for almost three centuries. The remains of the colossal creature, buried two meters beneath the earth, also reveal how the animal was butchered for its valuable oils and bones, a common game from the period, using its resources for fuel and lighting.

The Greenwich area used to be a base for whaling fleets that combed the far north of the Atlantic searching for just prey. To find one on their doorstep, delivered for nothing, would have been a godsend.

This enormous discovery of London’s version of Moby Dick is due to go on display at the Museum of London Docklands for six days from next Wednesday. The discovery will also help zoologists analyze how long-term commercial whaling has affected whale evolution and survival.

-Claire McCormack