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Toothy reminder of lost big whale

Sperm whale. Pic: copyright WDCS/Charlie Phillips
The sperm whale beached in shallow water.

A tooth is believed to be all that remains of a sperm whale that beached and died near Inverness in the summer.

It is among an unusual collection of items held in the stores of Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.

The large whale's appearance in the Inner Moray Firth was described by one conservationist as "like finding a panda in a supermarket".

Other artefacts and relics carefully stored away at the museum include toy rabbits and 1920s money boxes.

In the attached picture gallery, the BBC Scotland news website shows some of the items not regularly on public view.

Staff believe the tooth is all that now remains of the 40ft adult male sperm whale, which was cut into pieces and incinerated following its death in shallow water at Alturlie, near Fort George, in August.

Sperm whales are a deep diving species and the Moray Firth does not provide the large squid they feed on.

The conservation society's director of science, Mark Simmonds, said its appearance in the stretch of water was like finding a panda in a supermarket.

Hidden away in the stores of Inverness Museum and Art Gallery is an assortment of unusual artefacts and reminders of past lives.

The museum has one million items in its collection.

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