According to the officials from the Marine Mammal Center, a blue whale was washed ashore last Wednesday on a Daly City beach.
The dead animal was spotted at around 350 meters from the shoreline, and it was carried fast by the waters until it reached the sand, according to spokesperson Giancarlo Rulli. During the full standard necropsy, scientists collected blubber and tissue samples as well as a pelvic bone to establish the primary factor which led to the whale’s death.
The bone will be sent to the Academy of Sciences in California to become part of a whale bone collection. Authorities decided that the best way to get rid of the carcass was to let it naturally decompose.
The Blue Whale’s Current Situation
The 65-foot blue whale was washed ashore on an isolated beach far from the residential area, meaning that the smell will not affect anyone. Although blue whale is the largest living animal, this species is currently endangered.
The whale’s population plummeted over the past few decades due to a broad array of human-related factors such as pollution, loss of habitat, lack of food, boat collision, and poaching just to name a few.
The data collected by experts will be made public, so that other scientists can join the investigation. Rulli further added that by the time it was washed ashore, the whale was mostly decomposed.
Based on the findings, researchers concluded that animal’s skull was severely fractured in the back, while the tissue surrounding it had a massive hemorrhage. This is a hint that the whale might have died due to a boat collision or it was hit by one after it had died from lack of food or other causes.
Also, the team found massive bruising on the animal’s spine. According to CAS scientists Sue Pemberton, ship captains reported no collision during the past few weeks, so scientists can only point to the fact that the whale might have died due to a severe skull trauma.
More precisely, the impact was so strong that the skull was broken into pieces. Based on the statistics, this is the seventh blue whale which was washed ashore the Californian coast during the past forty years, while many other humpback whales were found dead on several other beaches this year.
Image Source: Wikipedia