First an 18 foot oarfish appeared off the coast of California, followed five days later by a second sea serpent, and now a super-rare “saber-toothed” whale has washed ashore on Venice Beach near Los Angeles. The 2,000 pound creature also known as a Stejneger’s beaked whale is extremely rare and usually only found in the deep waters of Alaska. Even though the animal was covered in shark bites, it was still alive when rescuers initially found it, and a brief examination showed no other signs of trauma or disease.

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Heather Doyle, director of the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, rushed down the beach on her bicycle to see the deepwater dweller for herself after staff naturalist Brittany Corona happened upon a crowd surrounding the whale on the sand. “It was really humbling and sad to see such a majestic creature stranded this way,” she told CNN.

The sighting is yet another instance of animals acting strangely over recent weeks, which is for some indication of an impending earthquake. Jim Dines of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, however, told CNN he believes these occurrences are no more than coincidence. “It’s too early to tell,” he said. “If we were to see a whole bunch of these animal strandings, that would give more evidence of something going on.”

The female whale, which lacks the characteristic tusks usually found on males, had nothing in her stomach apart from ingested plastic and nylon. Even with two or three fresh wounds from cookie-cutter sharks, however, experts say that the lack of food and bites would not be enough to kill a whale of this size. Unless the tests from tissue samples come back with an answer, it begs the question, what drove this whale so far from home and led to its tragic death?


Images by Heal The BayJSUBiology