Spectators look at a beached whale in Coronado, March 8, 2016. Courtesy photo

Updated at 5:54 p.m. March 8, 2016:

A dead juvenile humpback whale washed up at Silver Strand State Beach Tuesday, providing beachgoers with an interesting if rather somber and gruesome spectacle as marine biologists dissected the huge carcass for research purposes.

The lifeless cetacean was discovered in the late morning, sprawled just beyond the high-tide water line. It had earlier been spotted floating in the ocean near Coronado, city spokeswoman Lea Corbin said.

Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration went to the stretch of shoreline just north of Imperial Beach to inspect the remains of the roughly 25-foot sea mammal and take tissue samples.

The researchers were seeking to determine what the whale — believed to have been about a year old at the time of its death — had been eating and planned to test for toxins in hopes of determining why it died, NOAA research fisheries biologist Kerri Danil told News 8.

Once the scientists are finished with their work, which was ongoing in the late afternoon, the carcass likely will be hauled to a landfill for disposal, Danil said. It was unclear exactly when the removal process will take place.

—City News Service

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