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Rare whale bones found along Volusia County beach

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NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - Local experts want to learn more about the remains of a mysterious species of whale found in Volusia County.

Two Altamonte Springs residents found the bones of a beaked whale on New Smyrna Beach recently.

Local experts told WFTV's Blaine Tolison they want to learn as much as they can from the bones because less than a handful of beaked whales have washed up on Volusia beaches in the past 20 to 30 years.

A couple strolling on the beach discovered the 17-foot beaked whale skeleton. They said they spotted one of the brown vertebrae pieces sticking up from the sand. They started digging and found much more.

"You can see the skull and the back there, a few of the vertebrae and maybe some ribs," said Trey Hannah, Volusia County Environmental Management

On the section of the beach where the bones were found faced, the answer for why they surfaced is here-these sand cliffs. I'm about six feet tall and that gives you an idea of how much the beach has eroded here.

"We haven't had too many of these here. We've had one in the last ten years in Volusia County," said Hannah.

According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, some species of beaked whales have never been seen alive. Some of the whales have only been studied when dead ones wash ashore. Species that have been studied are known to dive thousands of feet deep in search of food.

Experts aren't sure how far the whale found along New Smyrna Beach may have traveled or how it ended up where it did, but they hope to find those things out.

"We want safe waters and healthy waters and healthy fish," said area resident Jennifer Kenerly. "They should really figure out what happened."

On Monday workers tried to find the lower jaw of the beaked whale to determine what kind of beaked whale it is.

The remains will go to the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet where they will be studied.