2 massive whales have washed ashore just south of San Francisco
Kevin LoriaMay 6, 2015, 21:50 IST
AP Photo/Eric RisbergWaves come in around the humpback's body.
On May 5, beachgoers in Pacifica, California, just south of San Francisco, were greeted with an unexpected sight - the carcass of a 32-foot-long female humpback whale, which washed up within sight of the body of an almost 50-foot-long sperm whale found on April 14.
Because the whale was on its back in the surf, biologists haven't been able to tell if the whale was killed after being hit by a ship, one of the ways the endangered creatures are sometimes killed.
AP Photo/Eric Risberg
A few passers-by stopped to take photos with the body.
The nearby sperm whale carcass is even larger, coming in at 48 feet.
Biologists have been able to examine and cut that whale open, but still aren't sure what killed it. It wasn't struck by a ship and didn't show definitive signs of blunt force trauma, according to an AP report, though it did have some hemorrhaging in its muscles.
Despite the somewhat disturbing appearance of two whale carcasses in such a short period of time, researchers think it's probably just an odd coincidence.
"This beach, because of its geographical features and currents, lends itself to being a huge repository of dead marine mammals," Sue Pemberton, a curatorial assistant with the California Academy of Sciences, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
About a week after the sperm whale was discovered, someone decided that it'd be clever to vandalize the body.