A dead whale that washed ashore at Agate Beach in Bolinas earlier this week has been identified as an endangered blue whale, according to officials.
Scientists from the Marine Mammal Center identified the whale as a sub-adult female measuring at about 79 feet in length. The scientists on Friday collected skin and blubber samples for testing, and a full necropsy to determine the animal's cause of death is scheduled for Saturday.
This is just the ninth time in the Marine Mammal Center's 42-year history that their scientists have responded to a blue whale discovery.
"We rarely have the opportunity to examine blue whales due to their endangered status," Barbie Halaska, a research assistant at the Marine Mammal Center, said in a statement. "The opportunity to perform a necropsy on a carcass in this good of condition will help contribute to our baseline data on the species."
The deceased whale was first identified while swimming off California in 1999, according to the Marine Mammal Center. It typically spent its time near the Santa Barbara Channel area.
Roughly 2,800 blue whales currently call water off the California coast home, according to the Marine Mammal Center. The species is listed as endangered according to the Endangered Species Act.