The Skeleton in Helsinki

Photo Klaus Harder

The 5.3 m long skeleton of a juvenile animal, collected 1861 by Hampus Furuhjelm.

The cartilage segments joining the first 5 rib pairs to the sternum, and parts of the sternum itself, have been modelled after Steller's description. The middle part (corpus) of the sternum seems to be original (although Steller wrote: "The sternum in the upper portion where the ribs are fastened on is cartilaginous, in the lower portion towards the notch of the heart it is bony to a distance of a foot and a half ").

Von Nordmann assumed that the narrow end of the sternum was forward, not as shown here.

This is probably one of very few specimen which had died of natural cause before the animal's discovery in 1741. Most known skeletons have been excavated from the butchering sites after 1742, and as a rule are incomplete and composed of different individuals.

During the initial assembly of this skeleton (like in Paris), manatee-like replica of hand bones had been modelled, assuming that the specimen was incomplete in this respect. The wrong hands have meanwhile been removed. Heren older photo, still showing the replicated hand bones:

Foto: Ari Lampinen

Here a drawing of the Rhytina by v. Nordmann from 1861:

Zeichnung von Nordmann