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.

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“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.

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

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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.