Basking Shark Donated to Science

17th April 2000

Basking shark becomes a 3d model

The last newsletter reported on the once in a lifetime capture of a large basking shark by a South East Trawl fishing boat and its donation to the Melbourne Museum. Dr Martin Gomon from the Museum has provided the Association an update on the work completed since the shark was donated.

The head, 1.6 m length and weighing in the order 600 kg, all fins, a length of vertebrae, significant amounts of muscle tissue, skin sections, a sample of stomach contents and large numbers of still and motion imagery will be lodged in the museum’s fish collection for scientists to access in whatever way deemed useful. The head is available for anatomical studies both externally and internally, tissues for genetic studies, the vertebrae for aging, stomach contents for food and feeding behaviour.

Dr Gomon also reports that the Museum is constructing a model for the public. This is not being done with traditional moulding and casting techniques. Rather he has explained that he Museum’s preparators and image capture team are at the cutting edge of model making and wanted to use the shark head as a proof of concept using 3D laser scanners and modern 3D printing techniques. The body will be constructed 3 dimensionally using computer graphic techniques and the various parts brought together as a swimming model of the shark in life.

An amazing 3d image of the shark can be viewed here.