Scientists analyzing the dead whale that washed up on Ocean Beach
yesterday were unable to determine exactly what manner of whale it was. They did narrow it down to two species, however -- both of which are endangered.
Jan Roletto, the research coordinator at the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary
, said the poor creature is either a fin whale
or a sei whale
. She's leaning toward the former, but, either way, a rare specimen will be buried on Ocean Beach.
Roletto was quickly able to rule that the Ocean Beach whale wasn't the same minke whale speared last week by a cargo ship
. Aside from the fact the beached whale was no minke, the creature hit by the ship had no head or tail -- and the one on the beach did. QED.
The Ocean Beach whale did have a gash on it, "probably from a ship." A necropsy could determine if the whale was killed by a possible collision or if it was already dead by the time a boat ran into it. But there will be no such operation on the rapidly decaying, 47-foot carcass. Federal officials with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area are leaning toward burying it a little ways up the beach.
The whale's species will eventually be determined when the Marine Mammal Center processes skin and blubber samples.
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