A gray whale washed ashore at Torey Pines State Beach Thursday morning.
© Darren Smith
A gray whale washed ashore at Torey Pines State Beach Thursday morning.
A 28-foot dead gray whale likely hit by a ship washed ashore at Torrey Pines State Beach on Thursday morning, officials said.

The female appears to have been about 2 years old based on her length, said Kerri Danil, a biologist at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in San Diego. Gray whales grow to about 45 feet long.

A stranding response team found propeller marks on the dead animal, but it was unknown whether she was hit by a vessel before or after she died, Danil said, adding that tests would try to determine that.

The carcass was discovered somewhere between the parking lot along Torrey Pines Road and the beach trail, said Darren Smith, California State Parks environmental scientist and supervisor. He did not know who found the whale or what time.

The washed up animal was moved with a forklift to higher ground near the Torrey Pines State Park entrance, and would be taken to a local landfill Friday morning.

The stranding response team collected samples that will allow them to study the genetics, hormones, contaminants and biotoxins of the whale, Danil said.

She said the San Diego Natural History Museum hopes to collect the entire skeleton Friday for its collection.

Earlier this month, a dead humpback whale washed ashore at Silver Strand State Beach in Coronado.