Biologists are investigating the carcass of a deep-water whale that washed up ashore on a Massachusetts beach on Friday. The rarely-seen 17-foot female whale, weighing about a ton was washed up ashore on Jones Beach in Plymouth.
Aquarium biologists and staff from the International Fund for Animal Welfare are conducting a necropsy at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The team believes that it’s a Sowerby’s beaked whale as they have long, slender snouts, and feed on small fish in deep, cold water. Biologists with the New England Aquarium will also have a chance to study the rare whale. The carcass was spotted by Mary Kate McHugh DiLoreto during her morning walk, and has shared it on Facebook.
“They are very, very rare. It’s definitely one of the those things you’re not quite sure of what to make of it,” said Tony LaCasse, a spokesperson for New England Aquarium.
LaCasse said that there were no signs of trauma on the whale as it was speculated that it might have entangled in a ship or fishing net. The last beaked whale was found in Massachusetts in Duxbury in 2006. These beaked whales feed on cod and squid on the continental shelf of Antarctica and they can dive thousands of feet. LaCasse added that the mammal had no business in Cape Cod Bay even as a transient area, and “they’re in small pods of three to seven way, way, way off the coast.”
These beaked whales are so rare that biologists don’t have an official population of how many exist. Most of their time is spent in deep water, so little is known about them. The gigantic size and the area of the carcass took about seven hours for the Harbourmaster to bring it to Woods Hole.[ Source ]