SEATTLE - Scientists are planning to cut open and examine a newly dead gray whale found on a local beach in hopes it can provide insight into what's killing so many of the large marine mammals in Puget Sound this year.

"The advantage of this whale is that it is a freshly dead whale," Brian Gorman, spokesman for NOAA Fisheries in Seattle, said Thursday in an interview with KOMO News Radio's Corwin Haeck.

"Frequently whales are a week old or longer before we get a chance to do a necropsy. This one apparently died just last night, and so many of the organs will be in very good condition."

In the past 10 days, five dead gray whales have been found - four in Puget Sound waters and the fifth near Vancouver, B.C. Three of those have died just in the past week.