Researchers are analyzing samples taken from a dead humpback whale that washed up on the south shore of Martha’s Vineyard this week.

Team from International Fund for Animal Welfare came to the Vineyard to perform tests on whale. — Emmett Carroll

A team from the International Fund for Animal Welfare responded to a beach on private property in Edgartown Wednesday.

“They took a bunch of samples. They’re going to take them back and analyze them,” said Jennifer Goebel, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which organizes response to marine mammal standings. “It looks very thin, but it’s too early to say the cause of death. There aren’t any plans to remove it now. They’re hoping it will wash out with the tide.”

Ms. Goebel said it may be difficult to find out why the animal died because the whale was badly decomposed. The researchers were able to determine the species as a humpback whale, probably a younger individual.

She said the researchers could not see any outward signs of injury or distress that might have contributed to the death of the whale.

There are 14 identified distinct population segments of humpback whales, including a population that feeds off New England. For years the humpback whale population was reduced from historic levels because of commercial whaling, and all humpback whales were federally listed as an endangered species in 1970.

Earlier this month, NOAA said nine of the populations, including the whales that visit New England, have recovered enough that they no longer warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act.