Blue whale carcass washes up on beach near Ventura

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Posted by on September 14, 2007 at 12:28:08:

The carcass of a 70-foot blue whale rolled gently with the incoming waves at a beach about 10 miles north of Ventura this morning as scientists from as far as the San Francisco area rushed to the scene.

Blue whales, the largest animal on earth, have been migrating through the Santa Barbara Channel. How the one that drifted into the rocks off Hobson Beach died will not be known until scientists have extracted tissues and examined its vast body.

Beached less than 100 feet from the Old Pacific Coast Highway, the whale has drawn dozens of spectators ambling on the roadside, taking photos and giving their children a rare glimpse of a huge marine mammal.

"Amazing!" said Terry Hewitt, a cook at Cal State Channel Islands who came to view the whale on her day off. "I was swimming out there yesterday, and if that thing had passed me in the water, well, Ohmigod!"

Authorities had been tracking the carcass for a couple of days before it ran ashore. Ron Barrett, an enviromental specialist for the Navy and a volunteer for a local wildlife group, said he could not recall a blue whale dying and washing ashore on the Ventura County coastline.

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