Scientists still don't know what caused the death of a young female humpback whale that washed up in Little Compton's Church Cove earlier this month. But they hope to get answers in …
Scientists still don't know what caused the death of a young female humpback whale that washed up in Little Compton's Church Cove earlier this month. But they hope to get answers in mid-February.
Biologists from the Mystic Aquarium necropsied the whale's carcass on Thursday, Jan. 13, five days after the 10-ton cetacean was found along the Little Compton shore. Tissue samples and other data were turned over to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is expected to release its findings in a few weeks.
But so far, "they really don't know," Mystic Aquarium's Meagan Seacor said Monday. "Sometimes you can tell pretty quickly, but this was not one of those situations. Visually, there was no apparent reason really."
While Seacor said Mystic biologists were saddened at the find, it was also an incredible gift to be able to study the whale and hopefully come up with ways to prevent similar deaths in the future.
"It's sad and beautiful, but it's also important work," she said. "We're looking forward to seeing the results and learning what we can. I think everyone's heart was a little bit wrenched, but it's a very imporant opportunity to do research into how we can help the species as a whole."