Saber-Toothed Whale Washed Ashore Far From HomeBy: Jennifer Curra - October 17, 2013
Saber teeth are not just for tigers, anymore. Apparently saber-toothed can also refer to whales, Stejneger’s Beaked Whales, to be precise. These whales are typically located near Bering Sea, which gives way to another commonly used name for the whales, Bering Sea beaked whales as well as the most popular title Saber-toothed whales.
On October 15th, a nearly 15-foot female Saber-toothed whale was found on Venice Beach the Los Angeles Times has reported.
According to Marine Animal Rescuer, Peter Wallerstein, “We helped get it out of the water, and it was still alive. I was kind of shocked because we couldn’t identify it.”
While the whale unfortunately did not survive, the fact that the whale was even seen in the location is pretty amazing.
According to Nick Fash of the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, “We were very lucky. These whales are incredibly rare and almost never seen in the wild.”
The average adult Saber-toothed whale can weigh as much as 1.3 tons. However, the unique characteristic responsible for naming this marine creature relates to the long beak where the lower jaw protrudes further forward than the top jaw. While one single blow hole is noticeable in both males and females, two teeth observably jut forward in males.
According to the Facebook page operated by Santa Monica organization, Heal the Bay.
A Stejneger’s Beaked Whale washed ashore in Venice Beach last night. It was a female, and she was covered with cookie cutter shark bites. The Stejneger’s Beaked Whale is a Northern species that frequents our coast but is predominantly found in the waters of Alaska. It is VERY rare and almost never seen alive. Our team from the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium made it down just in time as David Janiger of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum’s Stranding Response Team had loaded it onto a flat bed truck. They are currently taking the whale away to be studied.
The Saber-toothed whale was found with observable bites from a cookie cutter shark (scientifically known as Isistus brasiliensis), which is common for members of the species as cookie cutter sharks are well-known for leaving scars on this particular type of whale.
The Los Angeles County Natural History Museum currently has the body of the dead marine creature in order to further research the circumstances that brought the creature to the area in the first place.[Images Via Facebook Page For Heal the Bay]