June 17th, 2016. Early Friday, beachgoers noticed a 30-foot surprise on the coastline of Bethany Beach.
A dead humpback whale washed ashore near Pelican Pouch with the morning tide, according to officials.
Scientists that responded to the scene noticed a large gash in the male’s neck that could have been caused by a propeller. However, it is too early into the investigation to say for sure, said Susan Thurman, executive director of the MERR Institute.
The whale was about 30 feet long, indicating that it was between 1 and 2 years old. Since the whale was on its back, scientists with the MERR Institute could not be sure.
Moderate decomposition suggests the whale was dead for about two weeks, Thurman said. There were also signs of shark bites, which Thurman said is normal for a dead whale floating in the ocean.
“They become part of the food chain,” she said.
This is also a common species of whale for the Atlantic Ocean at this time of year, Thurman said.
Scientists will be able to determine more about the whale’s life and death as their investigation continues.