The body of the giant blue whale was found by researchers from Oregon State University in the Santa Barbara Channel off the coast of California.

The 84ft (25-metre long) whale is believed may have been hit by a cargo ship in the busy shipping lanes coming out of the city of Los Angeles.

Blue whales are the largest animal ever to have lived - even larger than the dinosaurs. They are a sub-species of  baleen whale, feeding mainly on krill, that can grow to up to 30 metres long, and weigh 100-150tonnes. Their mouths could hold up to 100 people, and their hearts are the size of a small car.

With a lifespan that could reach 110 years, blue whales are majestic creatures who normally dwell in North Atlantic, North Pacific and just above Antartica. And as one of the largest animals in the sea, blue whales are capable of making noises as loud as a jet engine - though at frequencies too low for a human being to hear.

The picture (above) first appeared on National Geographic's website.

Source: Whale [Mail Online]