Scientists are reveling over an extremely rare find today after a saber-toothed whale washed ashore on Venice Beach.
The whale, which is roughly 15-feet long, was still alive when it washed up on the beach, but had been injured by “cookie cutter sharks” which had bitten large chunks out of its skin. Crews from the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum hurried to retrieve the carcass while it was still in good condition so that a necropsy can be performed.
“We helped get it out of the water, and it was still alive,” Peter Wallerstein of Marine Animal Rescue said. “I was kind of shocked because we couldn’t identify it.”
Those who study sea creatures know that a saber-toothed whale–so called because of the tusk-like teeth positioned in its lower jaw–keeps mostly to much colder waters, so it’s not known how or why this specimen came to be in the warmer area it washed up in.
“We were very lucky,” said Nick Fash, an employee at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. “These whales are incredibly rare and almost never seen in the wild.”
Image: Heal the Bay/Facebook