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Graphic photos show post-mortem examination of beached whale

A series of graphic pictures have been released showing experts carrying out a post-mortem on a beached whale.

The 40ft giant sperm whale died on Sunday after it became stranded at Perranporth Beach in Cornwall.

Marine experts were unable to save the young female due to its size and because it had been out of the water for too long.

But a two-day post-mortem on the seven-tonne whale has now taken place.

The images from the the ZSL Insitute of Zoology show its team from its Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) conducting the tests.

Researchers collect the teeth so they can age the whale - they have annual growth layers a bit like a tree trunk. Credit: @ZSLScience
Blubber layer of whale being removed to enable visceral organ examination. Credit: @ZSLScience

The whale, which was described as 'in-tact' upon arrival first had its blubber layer removed to enable visceral organ examinations to take place.

Experts then began examining its organs and were surprised to discover it was a female.

Scientists found squid beaks in the stomach. No evidence of recent feeding though, and no marine debris. Credit: @ZSLScience
Returning to conduct the post-mortem, scientists say the whale smelt a bit 'more fragrant'. Credit: @ZSLScience

The investigation is taking place to establish how the young whale died and then the operation to remove her body will begin.

It is important to deal with the body before it begins to decompose - which can be unpleasant and there have also been occasions when the gases cause beached whales to explode.

Passers-by kept a respectful distance from the magnificent animal yesterday. Credit: Portreath Studio