06/19/2012 04:17 EDT | Updated 08/19/2012 05:12 EDT

Scientists dissect beached whale

Researchers from the University of Prince Edward Island are dissecting a dead Minke whale on a beach near Point Spry. Tim and Sheila Simpson found the five-metre carcass washed up on Sunday.

Dr. Pierre Yves-Daoust of Atlantic Veterinary College is leading the necropsy to determine why the whale beached itself.

The scientists have performed a preliminary examination and believe the whale is a young female.

They say there are no obvious signs of disease, poor health, or severe injury and the carcass has no broken bones to indicate a collision with a ship.

The scientists say it's possibile the whale may have become disoriented and wandered into shallow water or may have become tangled in lobster gear.

This is the time of year when young whales migrate into the Gulf of St. Lawrence with their pods to hunt the abundant fish found in the warm waters surrounding P.E.I.

Minke whales are the second smallest species of filter-feeding or baleen whales and are common in the waters throughout the Maritimes.

The necropsy should be finished Tuesday and government officials plan to bury the whale on the beach at Spry Point.

In recent days, the body of another Minke whale got stuck on a sandbar near South Lake, about 50 kilometres northeast of Spry Point.

However, it was too difficult to get to that whale to perform a necropsy.