Jaw bones removed from temporary grave
Spectators gathered to watch a secret exhumation this week as the gigantic jaws of a whale were resurrected.
After three years underground at a mystery location near Mount Hawke, North Cornwall, the bones were lifted in front of excited spectators – and three opportunistic buzzards.
Cheering could be heard as Roger Radcliffe and digger driver Ben Lockley finally exposed the mammal bones, followed by a sharp gasp when the smell of decomposition hit.
The jaws, which are as large as an HGV lorry and weigh several tonnes, come from a fin whale which was found washed up in-between Chapel Porth and Porthtowan beach in February 2010.
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The upper and lower jaws and a single vertebra were buried in horse manure to enable the decomposition of fat. After the bones have fully dried out they will be placed in the St Agnes Museum, where they will join a trigger fish and leather-back turtle in a marine display.
Liz Thompson, publicity officer for the St Agnes Museum Trust, said: "It was very exciting to see the jawbones emerge after three years and to remember how enormous they are. We are really looking forward to putting them on display at the museum in due course."
The bones should be available for viewing within the next two years.