Island Beach State Park, NJ – No pterodactylThe fossil washed up at Island Beach State Park this week, despite speculation from more than 1,000 Facebook users who commented on a photo of a giant skull in the sand.
According to the Environment Agency, Park Police found the skull on Monday near a beach access road.
According to the environmental organization Save Coastal Wildlife, minke whales are the smallest of the large baleen whales seen off the coasts of New Jersey. According to the organization, mink adults can reach 29 to 33 feet long and 10 tons in weight.
Last summer, lifeguards at Spring Lake, a town on the Jersey Shore, tried to save minke whale that died After swimming in the shallow surf.
Minke Whales Are Buried All Over New Jersey
The skull found on Monday is part of the remains of another minke whale that was trapped and died last year, said Bob Skolkoff, director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine. They said she died at Whale Island Beach State Park and was buried there in the sand.
“We have whales buried all over New Jersey,” Skolkoff said. “Believe it or not, it’s much easier to put it on the ground where it tries to load it and spend $10,000 in equipment and everything else (to dispose of it elsewhere).”
Scholkoff said that many minke whales that die in New Jersey succumb to boat attacks or disease.
Although volunteers bury bodies so deep in the sand that beach-goers are unaware that bodies are there, powerful storms can uncover the remains, he said.
Anyone who finds whale bones cannot remove them, as they are federally protected animals, Skolkoff said.
“You can’t pick up a bone and take it home with you on display … and they can’t be sold,” he said. “Permits are required to have those bones.”
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