An adult male beluga whale found floating dead in early October off the western Kenai Peninsula is providing a biology lesson for Kenai Peninsula College biology students. The whale was sighted by a tugboat crew not long after it died; the students were able to assist in a necropsy of the relatively fresh carcass, reports the Homer Tribune.
“It was a rare and exceptional hands-on learning opportunity for all,” [biology professor Debbie] Boege-Tobin said. ...
They found the beluga to be a full adult male, 13.9 feet long. Its blubber thickness indicated a level of health, but his teeth were oddly worn down. This whale also may have suffered some kind of blunt force trauma, indicated by bruising in the head area.
It was the third death this year in the endangered Cook Inlet beluga population. Read more in the Homer Tribune: Beluga aids science