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True-ly rare find

True's beaked whale

A stranded female True’s beaked whale, one of the world's most rarely seen whales, is now in the collection of National Museums Scotland.

The whale has been officially identified after being found dead earlier this year, washed up at Kearvaig Bay in the north of Scotland. This is the first time this particular species has been discovered in UK coastal waters.

The secretive True’s is found in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and some think there may be two distinct sub species as a result.  The whales grow to over 5 meters in length, and have a blue-grey body with white scratches and scars on the back and sides. These whales have only been positively identified at sea a handful of times and so very little is known about their behaviour.

It is not clear why this female washed up in Scotland. The stranding could have been due to illness, becoming lost, collision with a vessel or after being tangled in a net.

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