Science: Whales on the Beach

To residents along the Carolina coast last fall, it looked like an invasion of monsters from the deep. Dozens of pilot whales swam ashore and died on the beaches at Kiawah Island, S.C., and Cape Lookout, N.C. Mentioned by the Roman naturalist Pliny, such suicidal mass strandings of the most intelligent of marine animals have been a persistent puzzle. Now, after completing autopsies on the doomed whales, scientists think that they have the answer.

The beached mammals had no food in their stomachs and were suffering from serious infestations of parasitic worms in their middle ears and sinuses. According to Marine Biologists...

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