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'Saber-toothed' whale washes ashore in California

A rare, so-called saber-toothed whale washed up on Venice Beach Tuesday night.
Posted By Kate Stanton Follow @KateStan Contact the Author   |   Oct. 17, 2013 at 6:00 PM

(UPI) -- Stejneger’s beaked whales, also known as a saber-toothed whales, prefer the colder temperatures of Alaskan waters. But to the surprise of area marine biologists, a 15-foot-long female washed up on the shores of California's Venice Beach Tuesday night.

Scientists from Heal the Bay, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium and the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum rushed to the shore to pick up the whale, load it on to a truck and take it to their labs for testing.

"We were very lucky," Nick Fash, of the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, told the Los Angeles Times. "These whales are incredibly rare and almost never seen in the wild."

As photos from Heal the Bay demonstrate, the whale carcass was covered with shark bites.

UPDATE:

Heal the Bay reported on its Facebook page that a researcher had ID'd Tuesday night's find as a Ginkgo-toothed beaked whale, which is even more rare than the Stejneger’s species reported earlier. Only two have ever been spotted in the eastern North Pacific and only one in southern California.

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