In this AP photo, the giant, swollen tongue of a dead humpback whale appears close to exploding. Alas, it did not. The ballooning organ did, however, contribute to the whale’s death. While some officials initially said the swollen tongue indicated an infection, experts now believe that a large volume of air may have been forced into the 40-foot leviathan’s tongue after it was struck by a ship. The whale apparently survived the supposed impact, though, as it was seen by a tour boat and two ferries struggling to swim. Forced onto its side at the surface by its own tongue-pontoon, the whale was observed having difficulty getting its blow hole above water in order to breathe. The humpback carcass washed up on the west side of Admiralty Island in Southeast Alaska, officials said.
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