(Mirror Daily, United States) – On Friday, a blue whale carcass washed ashore on a beach in California, 13 miles north from San Francisco. After conducting thorough investigations and a necropsy, experts came to the conclusion that the whale died after being struck by a ship.
Researchers performed a necropsy on site
Locals were baffled to discover the carcass of a 79 feet long blue whale lying on Agate Beach, Bolilnas. Naturally, they brought experts to investigate and find out what had happened to the animal. The scientists, coming from California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito collected samples of tissue and blood from the whale, and then performed a necropsy on site.
The whale showed blunt signs of trauma on its left side, which made researchers suspect that it had suffered a collision with a ship. The results of the necropsy confirmed their theory. In spite of the pungent smell which made it hard to stay around the dead animal, they did not give up until they found out what happened.
The carcass offered more information for the blue whale database
Also, they had to take this unique chance of analyzing a blue whale. Due to the endangered status of the species, researchers rarely manage to get such a close look at a specimen. Barbie Halaska, one of the researchers from the Marine Mammal Center, said these findings could enrich their database on the species.
Researchers were able to identify the whale from its tail, which resembled the ones in images of blue whales gathered in Cascadia Research Collective. All the photographs date from 11 different years. The specimen was spotted for the first time 11 years ago, most often near the Santa Barbara coast.
Scientists said they would not remove the carcass from the beach. Instead, it will be left to rot and serve as a feast for birds. They made this decision since it would be difficult to return the enormous body back into the ocean.
Image Source: US National Park Service