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Pictures: Crowds gather as massive sperm whale washed ashore in California

Biologists and vets have now arrived at the site to begin the arduous process of cutting up the carcass for removal.

Whale Carcass Source: AP/Press Association Images

WHEN THIS 50-foot sperm washed ashore on a beach south of San Francisco, people stopped to look, snapped pictures of the massive mammal and even reached out and touched the creature that looks more like a dark ocean rock than the largest tooth predator on earth.

Biologists and veterinarians, however, had a different plan.

They arrived early yesterday morning at Mori Point on the south end of Sharp Park State Beach in Pacifica to begin the necropsy and the arduous process of cutting up the carcass for removal.

The next steps remain murky.

Whale Carcass Source: Jeff Chiu/AP/Press Association

“Disposing of a large marine mammal like this is no small feat. Multiple agencies are working together to determine the best course of action,” said Dr. Claire Simeone, a veterinarian at the Marine Mammal Center.

Veterinarians and marine biologists from the Marine Mammal Center performed a necropsy on the whale and said they couldn’t determine a cause of death.

“There were no broken bones, and while some hemorrhaging was visible in the muscles, it was not enough to indicate blunt-force trauma such as a ship strike,” the centre added.

The whale is emaciated, but squid beaks were found in its stomach, indicating that it had been eating, the centre said.

Whale Carcass Source: Jeff Chiu/AP/Press Association Images

The animal, which was first spotted on Tuesday, is one of 17 dead sperm whales to beach along the North Coast of California during the 40 years that the center has been handling such cases, a spokeswoman said.

The age and sex will be confirmed following the completion of the necropsy, but it is currently believed to be an adult male.

Whale Carcass Source: AP/Press Association Images

Read: Pics: These cool Hook Head dolphins will (almost) make you want to take a dip

Read: Kerry humpback whales to appear on BBC tonight (and — believe it or not — there’s a Charlie Haughey connection)

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