Playalinda Beach, FL (Florida Today) -- Researchers salvaged bones, organs and whatever else they could froman estimated 35- to 40-foot-long humpback whale that had washed up atPlayalinda Beach in Canaveral National Seashore this week.
The endangered whale was too decomposed to determine what caused its death.
But staff from Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute gathered samples to test for contaminants.
"Wecan't say for sure how old the animal was," said Teresa Mazza, researchassistant with Hubbs-SeaWorld."We didn't see anything unusual. There'sno reason for alarm at this point."
A boater had reported the dead whale Wednesday afternoon, and the Hubbs team responded Thursday morning.
Judging by the degree of decomposition, the whale had likely died about a week ago out at sea, Mazza said.
Waves spread many of the whale's 18-inch-wide vertebrae and other parts across the beach.
Researchershad no access to heavy equipment to remove the entire whale, so much ofits carcass was left in the remote area of the national seashore towash back out to sea.
Hubbs researchers are federallypermitted to remove whale parts for research and education purposes, butit's illegal for others to gather and possess whale or other marinemammal parts.
Thursday's whale was the second humpback towash up dead in east Central Florida so far this year. On March 15,Hubbs responded to a 31-foot-long humpback in Volusia County. That whalewas taken to a landfill.
Beached humpbacks aren't unheard of in this region.
"We tend to get one to two a year," Mazza said.