A humpback whale carcass was found washed ashore in Northern California on Sunday in what is becoming a mysterious trend this summer.
The whale was spotted on the surf's edge at Pacific Manor Beach, and its cause of death was not immediately known.
It was the fourth whale carcass to wash ashore in Northern California this summer — a recurrence that has baffled scientists.
A humpback whale carcass was found on a beach near San Francisco in May after possibly being struck by a ship, a necropsy determined. But a cause of death couldn't be determined for a sperm whale that was found washed ashore in the Bay Area in mid-April, or for a 40-foot gray whale that was discovered on a Half Moon Bay beach a few weeks later.
Laura Sherr, spokeswoman for the Marine Mammal Center, told the San Francisco Chronicle that personnel were keeping an eye on the latest carcass to determine whether they can safely perform a necropsy in the tidal waters.
The whale reportedly had shark bites on its body, but they were not likely the cause of death.
Pacifica officials, meanwhile, were working with federal agencies to figure out the best way of disposing of the carcass.
In May, the city had to bring in heavy equipment to bury two whale carcasses that had washed ashore within weeks of each other, creating a huge stink for nearby residents as they decomposed.