PACIFICA (CBS SF) – A humpback whale that washed ashore at a Pacifica beach on Monday may have died after being struck by a ship.
Scientists from The Marine Mammal Center, California Academy of Sciences, and U.C. Davis performed a necropsy on the female humpback Wednesday morning.
"We've found about four broken vertebrae and some associated hemorrhaging," said Laura Sherr with The Marine Mammal Center. "It seems like it was a blunt force trauma and we're thinking right now it was a probable ship strike."
The whale also had one broken rib, but scientists did not find any further broken ribs making a ship strike less definitive.
The Marine Mammal Center collected additional samples to contribute to various research studies, and California Academy of Sciences archived pelvic bones, a rib and some broken pieces of bone from the spine.
Scientists did confirm the humpback is a 42-foot adult female. It had been previously thought to be a 32-foot juvenile.
The humpback was discovered on Pacifica's Sharp Park Beach on Monday evening. It was not far from Mori Point, where a beached sperm whale was found on April 14.
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