SAUSALITO (CBS SF) — A blue whale that washed up on a Marin County beach Thursday was examined by scientists from the Marine Mammal Center and California Academy of Sciences Friday.

Beached Whale Aerial

Beached whale at Agate Beach in Marin County. (CBS)

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Scientists took measurements and tissue samples of the carcass that was stranded on Agate Beach in Bolinas. They identified the 79-foot-long marine mammal as a young female blue whale.

Scientists from the California Academy of Sciences plan to join the Center’s response team Saturday to perform a full necropsy to attempt to determine the cause of death.

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The animal may have been struck by a passing ship.

“We rarely have the opportunity to examine blue whales due to their endangered status,” Barbie Halaska, research assistant at the Marine Mammal Center, said. “The opportunity to perform a necropsy on a carcass in this good of condition will help contribute to our baseline data on the species.”

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Blue whales are the largest animals on earth and are listed on the Endangered Species Act. The Marine Mammal Center estimates that 2,800 blue whales live off the California Coast.