The beach goers in Massachusetts were in for a big surprise, on Friday, July 24th. A very rare whale was lying on the beach, not far from the sea. Unfortunately, the huge mammal was already dead, on the Jones Beach in Plymouth.
This marine creature is believed to be a Sowerby’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon bidens), it weighs almost a ton and is 17 feet long.
The dead whale was initially spotted by a woman who was walking on the beach early in the morning. She took pictures of the huge animal and posted them on Facebook.
This is an incredibly rare sight on the beach, given the fact that this type of whale usually inhabits the depths of the ocean. The researchers at the England Aquarium are trying to determine what happened to it and what the circumstances of its death were.
According to representatives of the Aquarium, the biologists don’t have much experience in handling a Sowerby’s beaked whales, because they haven’t done it since 2006, as it is extremely rare. However, the newly found carcass will provide them with an opportunity to learn more about the species.
The researchers at the Aquarium are expected to do a necropsy on the marine creatures. They said that normally, these types of whales don’t end up on the shores so they will do their best to determine how this one got there as well.
Sowerby’s beaked whale is a toothed whale which was the first mesoplodont whale to be described by an English naturalist called James Sowerby, who also gave it its name. He gave important details of it that he got from a skull of a male whale in 1804. He called it bidens. This name comes from the two teeth that the animal has in its jaw. It is not common among the genus to have such a feature.
These whales have long nostrils and they feed on small fish that they catch in the cold water they usually reside in. They are located some 200 miles away from the shore of the North Atlantic. This is why they are also called North Sea or North Atlantic beaked whales. On extremely rare occasions, they are accidentally caught by fishermen in the area.
Image Source: sott