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Blue Whale That Washed Ashore In California Was Hit By Ship

Guiancarlo Rulli/The Marine Mammal Center via AP

This Friday, May 26, 2017,photo provided by The Marine Mammal Center shows a blue whale carcass at Agate Beach in Bolinas, Calif.

Guiancarlo Rulli/The Marine Mammal Center via AP

UPDATE 05/28/17 11:30 a.m.: (AP) - Scientists who examined a blue whale that washed ashore in Northern California say it was hit by a ship.

A necropsy conducted on Saturday revealed the 79-foot-long (24-meter) whale had 10 broken ribs and 10 fractured vertebrae.

Barbie Halaska, a biologist at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, told the East Bay Times (http://bayareane.ws/2rsYP28 ) the whale died of "blunt force trauma due to a boat strike."

The whale was discovered on Agate Beach in Bolinas, about 10 miles north of San Francisco, early Friday. Its body was mostly intact, which allowed researchers to take tissue samples and learn more about the endangered species.

Halaska said the whale can't be towed out to sea due to a nearby reef and will be left on the beach to decompose.

Original Post 5/27/17: (AP) - The body of a 79-foot blue whale has washed ashore in Marin County and experts are trying to determine why it died.

The whale was discovered off Agate Beach in Bolinas on Thursday. Scientists from the Marine Mammal Center say it's a sub-adult female. They collected skin and blubber samples on Friday and plan a full necropsy on Saturday.

Blue whales are the world's largest animal and they're endangered. About 2,800 live off the California coast.

Based on fluke markings, this particular whale was first spotted in 1999. It's been seen about a dozen times, mostly near the Santa Barbara Channel.

The whale's body is mostly intact. Researchers say it's rare to find a carcass in such good condition and that could help them learn more about the species.

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