Necropsy planned for beached whale

Nov. 22, 2011 at 10:16 PM
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SAN DIEGO, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- A team of whale experts will try to determine Wednesday what killed a fin whale that washed ashore on Sunset Beach in San Diego, researchers said.

A high tide just before 7 a.m. PST Wednesday is expected to lift the 50-foot-long whale off the shoreline so it can be towed to Fiesta Island, where the carcass will be examined. It was first spotted Saturday morning on a remote area of the beach, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

"It's a tremendous opportunity because we don't have a chance to look inside of fin whales very often," Kerri Danil, a biologist with the Southwest Fisheries Science Center told the newspaper. "But we will be limited in what we can see just due to the fact the animal is going to be decomposing over the next few days."

Fin whales, which are distinctive because of their white bottom lip, are known for being hit by ships, the newspaper said.

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