Researchers raced to Los Angeles' Venice Beach this week to study a 15-foot saber-toothed Stejneger's beaked whale that humans rarely encounter in the wild, and even more rarely encounter on the sunny shores of California, away from its preferred chilly waters.
The Los Angeles Times reported the find sent Nick Fash, an educational specialist for the local environmental group Heal the Bay, pedaling furiously to arrive as quickly as possible at the scene where the whale landed on shore.
"This is the best," Fash told the Times. This is a treat."
A treat for those who study whales, and a strange sight for the public: the whale has a narrowed head similar to a dolphins and sharp teeth that help it feed on squid and small fish, the Associated Press reported. The whale's body was pocked with marks from shark bites, the news wire reported, but researchers will investigate to learn more about how it lived and died.
Heal the Bay posted pictures to Facebook showing the dead whale loaded onto a truck, tied down with a yellow strap before it left for examination at the Los Angeles County Natural History museum.
This summer, biologists spotted a rare right whale off the coast of Haida Gwaii in B.C. The researchers told the CBC they were stunned to see the whale off the coast of Canada for the first time in 60 years.