Marine biologists haul in the five-tonne carcass of a Bryde’s Whale washed up on Lampi Beach in Phang Nga.
Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong

Thailand: Rotting Whale carcass could still reveal clues
By Kritsada Mueanhawong, 15th April 2016;

Marine biologists are hoping that the rotting carcass of a five-tonne Whale, found washed up yesterday on Lampi Beach, Phang Nga, will reveal clues about how it died.

Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) staff had been looking for the dead cetacean, ever since it was spotted floating off Koh Bon in the Similan National Park by a tourist on April 10 (story here).

“It is a Bryde’s Whale (Balaenoptera edeni), about 13.45 meters long. It has probably been dead for about two weeks, so the body is already in an advanced state of decomposition, with some of the bones exposed,” said Rachawadee Chantra from the PMBC.

Despite the state of the rotting carcass, Dr Rachawadee is confident that they can determine the cause of the Whale’s death once it’s transported to the PMBC facility at Cape Panwa, where biologists will perform an autopsy.

“After an examination, the carcass will be buried in a three-meter deep pit lined with lime, and left there for about six months, by which time only the skeleton should remain,” said Dr Rachawadee.

The bones will then be cleaned, so that the skeleton can be used as a museum piece or for educational purposes.

Source: Phuket Gazette

The taxonomy of the Bryde’s Whale is still far from settled; what we call the Bryde’s Whale has been split into two subspecies or even distinct species by some authorities: the true Bryde’s Whale, a larger species found in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide (Balaenoptera brydei), and the Sittang or Eden’s Whale, a smaller form that may be restricted to coastal waters of the Indo-Pacific (Balaenoptera edeni). Both species(?) have been recorded from tropical waters of Southeast Asia.

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