Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Largest mass-stranding of whales on record: 835

The recent stranding of 55 whales, while pretty surprising to Pound360, pales in comparison to the largest mass-straining of all time, 835. (Scientific American) Why do whales strand themselves? On an individual basis, it's pretty clear that sick or mortally wounded creatures will strand themselves. But when it comes to groups, we don't seem to know what's going on. It could be military sonar or "anomalies in the magnetic field," but a definitive answer remains a mystery.

We do know that mass-strandings do have natural causes. They date back, at least, to the time of Aristotle. And Puritain colonies in New England reported mass strandings in the same places they occur today. However, noted an expert, "back then, it was a BBQ instead of a disaster."

(By the way, that
mass stranding of 835 whales was a group of pilot whales that turned up in 1946 on a beach at Mar del Plata, Argentina.)

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.