Mystery on the Beach as Massive Humpback Whale Washes Ashore: 'We Don't Know What Killed Her'

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Aquarium experts are trying to figure out what caused the death of a six-ton humpback whale that washed ashore in Virginia Beach this week.

The massive marine mammal had no outward signs of trauma or illness, Virginia Aquarium spokesman Matthew Klepeisz told Tuesday.

"We don't know what killed her," he said. "They couldn't find anything."

A breaching humpback whale.
A breaching humpback whale. NOAA Fisheries.

Tissue samples have been sent for extensive testing, but it could take several months to obtain results.

The young female whale was at least 2 years old, Klepeisz said. She measured about 30 feet.

The beached behemoth was reported by a resident and drew a crowd as authorities roped off the area.

Ultimately, the carcass was cut up and transported to a landfill.

Humpback whales can live up to 50 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries. They have been listed as an endangered species since 1970.


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