A 40ft sperm whale was washed up dead on a beach near Old Hunstanton, Norfolk UK. It is believed the whale was already dead before being washed ashore by the high tide.
A 40ft sperm whale has been washed up dead on an East Anglian beach, with what appears to be a large gash in its stomach.
The sand around its tail did not appear disturbed, suggesting the creature was dead before the tide carried it onto the sands at Old Hunstanton, Norfolk.
Large crowds gathered to see the whale, which is near the high tide mark.
A spokesman for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue said it may have been the same whale which had been seen dead on the RAF’s bombing range on the other side of the estuary, at Holbeach, some weeks ago.
Scientists from the Zoological Society have already taken samples from the animal, which will be left to be carried away by the tide to decompose naturally.
Updated: Video of Sperm Whale on Old Hunstanton Beach
Sperm whales are easily recognised by their massive heads and prominent rounded foreheads. They have the largest brain of any creature known to have lived on Earth. Their heads also hold large quantities of a substance called spermaceti. Whalers once believed that the oily fluid was sperm, but scientists still do not understand the function of spermaceti. One common theory is that the fluid—which hardens to wax when cold—helps the whale alter its buoyancy so it can dive deep and rise again. Sperm whales are known to dive as deep as 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) in search of squid to eat. These giant mammals must hold their breath for up to 90 minutes on such dives.
Source: Monster from the deep… on the Norfolk coast: 40ft sperm whale washes up on Christmas Eve