washes ashore:washes ashore:A dead, 79-foot blue whale washed ashore in northern California as experts try to determine why it died.
The whale, a sub-adult female, was discovered off Marin County’s Agate Beach in Bolinas on Thursday.
The whale likely died from blunt force injury caused by a ship collision, according to Mary Jane Schramm, a spokeperson for the Greater Farrallones National Marine Sanctuary in San Francisco.
Scientists have already collected skin and blubber samples ahead of a full necropsy Saturday, KGO reported.
Schramm told Mercury News: ”We can’t say for certain it was a ship strike, but there was sign of blunt force injury. All the ribs they examine were broken and that is consistent with a ship strike.’
The whale’s body is mostly intact. Researchers say it’s rare to find a carcass in such good condition and that could help them learn more about the species.
‘We rarely have the opportunity to examine blue whales due to their endangered status,’ according to Barbie Halaska of The Marine Mammal Center.
The opportunity to perform a necropsy on a carcass in this good of condition will help contribute to our baseline data on the species,’ she added.
Based on fluke markings, this particular whale was first spotted in 1999. Over the course of nearly two decades, the whale was seen at least 11 times – mostly near the Santa Barbara Channel.
Blue whales are the world’s largest animal and they’re endangered. About 2,800 – roughly a third of the blue whales in the world – live off the California coast.
Based on fluke markings, this particular whale was first spotted in 1999. Over the course of nearly two decades, the whale was seen at least 11 times