The main exhibit at the under-construction University of B.C. biodiversity museum arrived with a nose-numbing stench yesterday morning.


The 8,180-kilogram blue whale skeleton and its carious flipper arrived from P.E.I. where it was unearthed, causing journalists to gag and to step away from the remains.


“No one has ever buried a whale this long, so this is the first time anyone has dug up anything this long in its entirety,” said Andrew Trites, the director of the Mammal Research Unit and a member of the Biodiversity Centre.


Larger than any dinosaur, this mature, female mammal is roughly the length of two back-to-back 12-metre school buses.


“This is tremendously exciting that we’ve been able to take this opportunity to take the world’s largest animal and put it on display for Vancouver,” said Simon Peacock, Dean of Science at UBC.

After boning, X-raying and rebuilding the flipper at the Vancouver Aquarium, the skeleton will be sent to Victoria, where it will be cleaned and assembled for the UBC Beatty Biodiversity Museum opening in November 2009.