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Necropsy indicates ship struck whale

September 17, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Marine wildlife scientists testing the carcass of a blue whale that washed ashore believed that the 140,000-pound creature was killed in a collision with a ship.

A necropsy revealed that a 15-foot bruise on the mammal's back side was consistent with a "ship strike," Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History spokeswoman Easter Moorman said.

Scientists found extensive damage to the whale's bones. Museum officials had wanted to preserve the whale's skeleton for display, but because of the damaged bones, they plan to save only the skull, Moorman said.

The 72-foot-long blue whale washed onto a beach near a campground Thursday.

Teams on Saturday hauled the animal about two miles to a beach where scientists conducted tests.

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