Necropsy completed on whale found on bow of cruise ship

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This fin whale was towed to a local beach after it was discovered attached to the bow of a cruise ship in Anchorage.  Courtesy:  Kirsten McNeil

This fin whale was towed to a local beach after it was discovered attached to the bow of a cruise ship in Anchorage. Courtesy: Kirsten McNeil

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The National Marine Fisheries Service says a necropsy has been completed on a dead fin whale discovered Sunday on the bow of a cruise ship entering an Alaska port.

But spokeswoman Julie Speegle says the cause of death of the 50-foot endangered animal remains under investigation.

The whale was spotted just after 5 a.m. Sunday on the bulbous bow of the Zaandam, a Holland America Line cruise ship, as it prepared to dock in Seward.

The carcass was towed to a beach near Seward.

The whale was a male juvenile. Adult male fin whales average 70 feet long and 45 tons.

Veterinary pathologist Kathy Burek Huntington says the sample was very fresh, allowing researchers to conduct a full spectrum of samples.