POINT REYES NATIONAL SHORELINE (CBS SF) — A blue whale found on a beach at Point Reyes National Seashore died of blunt force trauma consistent with being hit by a ship, according to scientists with The Marine Mammal Center.

The finding was made after scientists performed a necropsy, an animal autopsy, on the aquatic mammal a few miles south of Limantour Beach.

“Blue whales are the largest animal on earth and an endangered species, so to learn that this individual’s death is a result of a ship strike is particularly unfortunate,” Barbie Halaska, a researcher at the center, said.

The necropsy revealed that the whale had suffered back, rib and jaw injuries.

Halaska said that understanding and documenting the scale of the injuries will help scientists and other decision-makers find ways to prevent future death from ship strikes.

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