Mysterious dead beaked whale covered in unusual injuries washes up on California beach

A dead beaked whale was found on a California beach with mysterious injuries around its jaw and face. (Image credit: Courtesy of Noyo Center for Marine Science)

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The corpse of a rarely seen type of beaked whale recently washed up on a California beach with mysterious wounds on its face and scrape marks all over its body. Experts are unsure what caused these injuries, how the whale died or even which species this pointy-nosed cetacean belongs to.

The unusual dolphin-like whale’s remains, which measured around 16 feet (4.9 meters) long, were found May 15 on a beach at Jug Handle State Natural Reserve near Fort Bragg. A team from the nearby Noyo Center for Marine Science recovered the body with help from researchers at the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) in San Francisco. The group collected samples of the whale’s blubber, organs and skull, and sent them to the National Marine Mammal Tissue Bank in Charleston, South Carolina, for analysis.

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