Dead blue whale and fetus wash up at Bean Hollow

By on Wed, October 6, 2010

A pregnant blue whale washed up at Bean Hollow State Beach Saturday, reports the Santa Cruz Sentinel.  The whale was 80 feet long and weighed about 75 tons. The fetus washed up about 50 feet from the mother.

"Because the whale was on its back, we couldn’t tell anything as far as possible cause of death," said Guy Oliver, a research fellow at Long Marine Lab in Santa Cruz. "I’d say it probably died four to five days ago. The fetus was about 50 feet from the carcass, and most likely came out, after it died, from a discharge of gas pressure." [...]

"To do a complete necropsy you would cut into and dissect the whale," [Jim Oswald, communications manager at the Marine Mammal Center] said. "It’s too decomposed and in an inaccessible area to do that. It take a long time to do one of those." The California Academy of the Sciences hopes to start taking samples today if conditions allow, Academy communications manager Andrew Ng said.[...]

"It’s heart is probably the size and weight of a Volkswagen Beetle," Oliver said.

A blue whale hasn’t washed up on Coastside beaches since an 87-foot specimen came ashore in Pescadero in 1979.

Details and photos at the Sentinel’s site.