By Peggy Sturdivant
My friend Helle Andersen had rescued a donated, dead, green sea turtle from the Feiro Marine Life Center’s freezer in Port Angeles and was delivering it to the Dermestidae room at the Burke Museum. She knew I’d want to ride along. The turtle was going there to be cleaned by flesh-eating beetles (the Dermestidae).
Given what’s inside the Burke Museum you wouldn’t have thought producing a large sea turtle wrapped in plastic from the back of a car would draw a crowd. But it was lunch hour and staff watching the dig for the “New Burke,” in true archeological fashion, were very excited because the cement had finally been poured. (Or maybe they wear real cameras hung around their necks every day).
The turtle had frozen into a semblance of life since it was found three years ago in Gray’s Harbor and then necropsied by U.S. Fish & Wildlife. Its head was poking alertly out of its carapace, a bit cocked as though to better study those gathered round, until you realized the eyes weren’t just hooded, they were gone. “If you don’t mind giving me a hand,” Mammalogy Collection Manager Jeffrey Bradley said, “We’ll take this up to the lab.”More ›