Marine biologists are trying to determine what killed a baby humpback whale that washed ashore in Half Moon Bay Wednesday.
The Marine Mammal Center said Friday that the whale had arrived on shore at Surfer's Beach in Half Moon Bay, 150 yards south of the jetty. The California Academy of Sciences will be leading a necropsy (animal autopsy) Friday. The procedure is expected to take a while.
The whale washed up near the seawall at Pillar Point Harbor just off of Highway 1. Photographs taken by travel blogger CarolSue Ayala show the whale carcass floating onto rocks on the beach in front of her RV. By Thursday morning, the tide had carried the dead whale further offshore.
A small crowd gathered on the beach to take photographs of the whale, which has already swollen considerably.
According to the Marine Mammal Center, humpbacks are among the most endangered whales and fewer than 10 percent of their original population remains. However, they have been observed feeding along the California coast more frequesntly in recent years.