On Friday evening, after all the human patients were finished for the day at the Alaska Spine Institute's imaging center, a dead killer whale calf underwent a CT scan and an MRI.
The whale offered a rare opportunity for extensive study, both because of the small size and good condition.
"It's very sad when a baby whale dies, but the amount of scientific information we are going to be able to get over the next 24 hours is going to be tremendous," said Judy St. Leger, director of pathology and research for SeaWorld who has studied killer whales for 13 years.
... "It's to take advantage of a portable killer whale. Usually they are so much bigger," said Mahoney, who picked up the orca calf Friday at Stevens International Airport in a government truck.
The young whale was found Tuesday washed up on St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea. A tour guide leading a group of birders along a beach at Northeast Point called it in, said Pamela Lestenkof, eco manager for the tribal government of St. Paul. It was 7 feet, 3 inches long.
The whale was in good condition, "fresh dead" and not smelly, Lestenkof said.
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