Our friend the whale is gone, but Los Gatos is still wildly beautiful.
Here is a simulation of the surgery using Sperm Whale vertebra. You can clearly see that the disk has been removed in the upper joint and the disk is diseased in the lower joint.
This alternate view of a dolphin vertebra clearly shows the channel for the spinal cord. This channel does not exist in a sperm whale. We can only assume the great distances from the sperm whale head to the sperm whale tail has forced the larger whale to use a distributed control system, with special tail-control, flipper-control, and internal-organ-control systems mounted locally.
Two young Aussie adventurers from Sonrisa (www.sailsonrisa.com) helped us discover this dead thing the other day.
As far as I can tell from Wikipedia it used to be a young white sperm whale. It’s too big to used to be a dwarf or pygmy sperm whale.
It’s been dead for a while, as the skeleton has softened and the tail turned. However, the skin is mostly intact with only a few bird holes. There were no shark bites we could find.
It did indeed stink. Nancy found some spermaceti on the beach. It stunk too.