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Carcass of 79-foot blue whale washes ashore in Northern California

Carcass of 79-foot blue whale washes ashore in Northern California
A blue whale carcass at Agate Beach in Bolinas, Calif, was identified as that of a sub-adult female (Marine Mammal Center)

The carcass of a 79-foot blue whale has washed ashore in Marin County, and experts are trying to determine why it died.

The whale was discovered off Agate Beach in Bolinas on Thursday. Scientists from the Marine Mammal Center said it's a sub-adult female. They collected skin and blubber samples on Friday and planned a full necropsy Saturday.

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Blue whales are the world's largest animal and they're endangered. About 2,800 live off the California coast.

Based on fluke markings, this particular whale was first spotted in 1999. It's been seen about a dozen times, mostly near the Santa Barbara Channel.

The whale's body is mostly intact. Researchers said it's rare to find a carcass in such good condition and that it could help them learn more about the species.

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