Dead whale that washed ashore hit by ship

November 24, 2011 2:22:08 PM PST
Scientists say a 67-foot-long fin whale that washed ashore near San Diego died after being struck by a ship.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the carcass will be dragged several miles offshore Friday, loaded with four tons of steel and sunk into 2,500 feet of water.

The original plan was to dump the whale to a landfill, but Richard Branson's Virgin Oceanic organization said it would pay for the whale to be towed off the coast so its underwater decomposition can be studied.

A team of scientists spent several hours Wednesday performing a necropsy and determined the cause of death after examining the broken bones. They also gathered tissue and organ samples to study whale DNA.