Environment: Squid Pro Quo

And penicillin for a whale

Each year thousands of whales run aground and die along the beaches of the world. Scientists do not know why.

Some blame diseases or parasitic infections that affect the animals' navigational ability. Others believe whales may simply become lost in pursuit of prey. Some even speculate about an atavistic urge —perhaps triggered by stress—that causes these ancient mammals to seek the safety of the land from which their ancestors migrated. The beach-bound victims are usually small, toothed whales, like the pilot and false killer. But when a whale tried to beach itself just east of New York harbor,...

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