Source AP ©

Biologists ascertain reason for whale's death

Biologists try to find out what happened to a sperm whale that washed up dead on a beach in California.

The 29-foot-long (7.6 meter-long) male whale was spotted on Isla Vista beach Sunday.

Biologists planned to take samples from the whale and perform a necropsy on Tuesday, said Easter Moorman, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, which will lead the effort.

Sperm whales are the deepest divers of their species and can descend to more than 3,000 feet (914 meters). Experts said it is unusual to find sperm whales close to the coast.

"They are usually found way out there," said Joe Cordaro, a wildlife biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "We don't know what was going on with this whale."

Cordaro said he was concerned about people taking the whale's teeth - coveted by collectors because of their length. A male sperm whale can grow teeth up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) long.