Officials identify large skull found on New Jersey beach Monday

(New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection -@NewJerseyDEP)

New Jersey officials have identified a giant skull that was located on an Ocean County Beach earlier this week. 

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection shared photos of the unusual find on Island Beach State Park on Wednesday.

They say the skull was found on Memorial Day, and asked social media followers if they had any guesses while they investigated the identity of the animal it may have belonged to. 

Wednesday morning the department confirmed that the skull was that of a minke whale that still had the lower jaw attached. 

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Minke whales are the smallest of the baleen or 'great' whale family. While they are not endangered or threatened in the United States, they are protected under the Marina Mammal Protection Act. 

Minke whales can reach up to 35 feet in length and 20,000 pounds, according to NOAA. The estimated lifespan of a minke whale is 50 years.



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