Exam reveals little about how whale died 

Scientists are still mystified about what killed a young whale whose corpse was found floating in the Bay on Tuesday.
A necropsy revealed the mammal was a 1- to 2-year-old male gray whale, according to Marine Mammal Center spokesman Jim Oswald.

The whale was “skinny,” a sign that it was malnourished, and had small pieces of plastic and other garbage in his stomach — not abnormal for a whale raised in the polluted Pacific Ocean.

But Oswald said there was nothing else obviously wrong with him — no clear signs of trauma either outside or inside the whale’s body.

Scientists took samples for toxicology tests, but those may take months to come back, Oswald said. In the meantime, scientists put the dissected whale in 50-gallon barrels and will transport it to an appropriate disposal facility.

The deceased whale was spotted by a Police Department marine unit boat patrolling the water around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to Officer Albie Esparza.

The baleen gray whales have completed their calving season off the coast of Mexico and are currently migrating north with their young. Gray whales have occasionally strayed through the Golden Gate and into the Bay in the past, Esparza said.

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Katie Worth

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Thursday, Apr 19, 2018

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