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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beaked whale carcass rare opportunity for science

Advertiser Staff

The carcass of a rare beaked whale recovered in Hāna this week will be a treasure chest of information for scientists, the Maui News reported.

The animal swam into Hamoa Bay on Monday, clearly struggling, and rescuers quickly mobilized to transport it to the University of Hawai'i-Hilo's new dolphin and small whale hospital. But the whale died on the beach just a few minutes after it was first reported.

The 1,000-pound carcass was flown to Honolulu by Aloha Air Cargo on Tuesday afternoon, where a necropsy and other studies could reveal new secrets about a little-known species, according to David Schofield, the marine mammal response network coordinator for the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The whale appears to be a 12-foot juvenile Cuvier's beaked whale or a Blainville's beaked whale. An autopsy will reveal which. The head also will be put through a CT scanner.

Beaked whales are so rare and spend most of their time so far offshore that scientists know little about them. .