FORT BRAGG (CBS SF) — Researchers flocked to the Mendocino coast after a killer whale beached itself and died, giving scientists the chance to study the rare occurrence.

The 25-foot long whale beached itself Saturday north of Fort Bragg, and researchers from around the Bay Area gathered to perform a necropsy.

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Pictures provided by Sheila Semans, director of the Noyo Center for Marine Science show fishing lines tangled around the whale’s tail, but that had been ruled out as the cause of death.

Sheila Semans of the NOYO Center for Marine Science provided this picture of a killer whale that died on a beach north of Fort Bragg.  (Courtesy: Sheila Semans)

Sheila Semans of the NOYO Center for Marine Science provided this picture of a killer whale that died on a beach north of Fort Bragg. (Courtesy: Sheila Semans)

Researchers told the Lost Coast Outpost that it’s unlikely a cause will be determined.

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“It’s rare to have a smoking gun with these things,” marine mammal biologist Jeff Jacobsen told the Outpost.

Sheila Semans of the NOYO Center for Marine Science provided this picture of a killer whale that died on a beach north of Fort Bragg.  (Courtesy: Sheila Semans)

Sheila Semans of the NOYO Center for Marine Science provided this picture of a killer whale that died on a beach north of Fort Bragg. (Courtesy: Sheila Semans)