A vertebrae rests at Canaveral National Seashore's southern boundary Thursday, where a 40-foot endangered humpback whale washed up this week. / Teresa Mazza/Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute
(AP) -- Researchers are testing the remains of a humpback whale that washed ashore in central Florida for contaminants.
A boater spotted the estimated 40-foot-long humpback whale carcass Wednesday in Canaveral National Seashore.
Researchers from the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute have been collecting organs and bones spread across the beach, including 18-inch-wide vertebrae. The bulk of the whale's carcass was left in a remote area to wash back out to sea.
Research assistant Teresa Mazza tells Florida Today that the whale likely died about a week ago.
Humpback whales are an endangered species. Mazza says the remains were too decomposed to help researchers determine what caused the whale's death, but she also says researchers haven't found anything unusual.
Mazza says a couple humpback whale carcasses wash ashore in central Florida each year.