Talk:Cetacean stranding

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Cetaceans (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Cetaceans, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of cetaceans on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
Note icon
This article was a past project collaboration.


Whales are intelligent. There is every reason to believe at least some of them are deliberatly commiting suicide. Some are autopsied and found to have some painful condition. Others appear to have been healthy before they beached themselves. Some beach themselves as a group, and do it again if humans "save" them. Is this a Jim Jones kind of thing? Is this a religious suicide - I mean culture/idea based - maybe life after death ideas? Do wales, some of them , think after death they return as humans? Some smarter humans think they reincarnate as various animals. If I could find ANYTHING scientific on this, I wouldn't be putting this on the DISCUSSION page. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 29 Dec 2004.

The lack of any scientific references suggests that this idea is original research. A Google search doesn't reveal any serious claims that whales consciously commit suicide. I have therefore removed from the article this paragraph:
It is also controversially theorized that beachings could be suicide attempts by whales, perhaps to end some suffering. Those theories are based on the assumption that whales are highly intelligent animals capable of planning their own deaths.[citation needed]
(Note also that the Citation needed tag added on 6 March 2006 hadn't attracted the addition of any references.) -- JimR 02:31, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
It is understandable that a variety of theories arise when the true cause or causes of any phenomenon are not yet known. Mass strandings make no sense; nonaquatic animals don't show a similar phenomenon (the 'mass suicide of lemmings' is a myth). There must be a cause; we just don't know what it is yet. for now, we must be patient. David Spector 22:20, 12 March 2010 (UTC)


How common were whale-strandings before the advent of sonar? Is this primarily a 20th century phenomenon, or much older? Bastie 22:43, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

They certainly happened. Even Aristotle and the ancient Romans discussed them; I've added some info on natural causes. As to whether there are more now, that's a different (controversial?) question! Eug 14:36, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
I've read here that mostly the toothed whales use echolocation and mostly the toothed whales are beached (this includes dolphins). So maybe the reason is that either the echo-location device or hearing of the toothed whales are somehow damaged and thus causing the whales to become lost and possibly beached. Maybe sonar is just another reason among many. Here is my email to contact me further about this: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:03, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Whale beaching and Earthquakes[edit]

Following recent events, I can lend some merit to the theory of whale beachings due to magnetic disturbances just prior to earthquakes. Last week (02-Mar-2009), my partner and I went to nearby King Island, Australia, for a short holiday. On our arrival, we found out that 200 pilot whales had beached, and were fortunate enough to participate in the successful rescue of all of the fifty or so that had been found alive.

On our return to Victoria, Australia, some four days later (06-Mar-2009), we experienced an earth tremor of magnitude 4.6 on the Richter scale. With earth tremors being such a rare occurrence in our region, the two seem uncannily connected, though I accept that it could just be a coincidence! Ian Fieggen (talk) 02:14, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Were you en-route to Victoria? I am going to contact Jim Berkland for his opinion on whale beachings, and try to find out about other incidences where marine animals are beaching themselves (I recently discovered that there is an abnormally high number of reported beachings for 2009). Do you know what the name of this earthquake (4.6 magnitude) was, so that I can research it? Diego Bank (talk) 04:41, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

I disagree with the idea that whales beach due to a geomagnetic disturbance but I agree that whales beach because of undersea earthquake. Rather than magnetism, whales are injured (barotrauma) by rapid pressure changes generated by earthquakes in the seafloor. This injury comes weeks before they strand.

New section on rescue methodologies?[edit]

It would seem worthwhile to include a new section containing the currently accepted methodologies for rescues of beached whales. For example, wet towels and sheets applied over skin to keep them wet and cool until they can be carried out to sea and kept out to prevent re-beaching. I don't know all the specifics myself (ie. what works and what doesn't). Perhaps a marine wildlife expert can add this? Ian Fieggen (talk) 01:38, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Dolphins strand, too[edit]

Section "'Follow-me' strandings" is contradicted by the dolphin mass strandings in Wellfleet, MA, USA currently in the news. Specifically, it is not just whales that strand, it is dolphins as well. WP should reflect the range of current thinking of oceanographic and cetacean researchers. Perhaps we need an expert to extend this article? David Spector 22:12, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Additionally this section mentions whales being lost or trapped in shallow waters, not beached/stranded. The last paragraph just describes how killer whales rarely strand. This section is incorrectly labeled and not relevant to the article without a well sourced explanation of a connection to stranding. AveVeritas (talk) 06:58, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Beneficial based on land speeds?[edit]

I would like to query the following paragraph, under the heading, 'Causes - Natural':

A single stranded animal can prompt an entire pod to respond to its distress signals and strand alongside it. This is extremely beneficial based upon the presumed beached land speed of zero miles per hour.

Not only does this paragraph lack citation, the second sentence makes no sense at all, at least to my eyes. Who is mass stranding supposed to be beneficial to? And what on Earth does it have to do with the land speed of a beached whale?

Very odd. I would suggest removing it, unless someone can clarify (and reference) it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:52, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

The second sentence was added on 26 December. Looks like vandalism to me so I've removed it. Thanks for bringing it up. mgiganteus1 (talk) 09:22, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

challenge to the sentence below....[edit]

"A single stranded animal can prompt an entire pod to respond to its distress signals and strand alongside it."

There is absolutely nothing of substance to support this statement. No one has ever heard a stranded whale making a distress signal to his mates to come and help him. No one even knows what a whales distress signal sounds like. Nor can anyone interpret whale signals. If these animals had such a close "social bond" that they would give up their own lives for a sick pod mate, the more likely scenario is that the whale stuck on the beach would be yelling out for his dear pod mates to stay back.

On the other hand, if sharks were not far behind an injured pod, the whale with the most fear of being eaten alive would appear to as the pod leader and the first to stand to the human observers who could not see the sharks.

Sharks dog injured whales like wolves dog a herd of elk. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Deafwhale (talkcontribs) 01:33, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

purposeful beaching[edit]

some Killer whales actually beach themselves on purpose to feed on animals such as seals when the seals are on a landmass or large ice floe where simply flipping the ice floe or using their size and speed to cause waves that wash the seal into the water non-plausible in which case they beach themselves and attempt capture the seal with its jaws or ram it and knock it unconscious for a second beaching. afterwards the whale "wiggles" itself back into the water — Preceding unsigned comment added by Undeadplatypus (talkcontribs) 07:20, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Sinus and/or middle-ear barotrauma as the cause of echonavigation failure[edit]

There is a certain way of thinking about whale and dolphin beaching that might help discover the real cause of these events.

I would like to share my thoughts with this groups so that you might view the mystery of strandings in a different way.

Whales and dolphins are the greatest divers the Earth has ever known; they are also most acoustically dependent of all animals. Considering that they dive to great depths every day and use the most advanced biosonar system on Earth to find their food in total darkness, please think about the following question:

What would be the slightest, deadliest injury that a whale or dolphin might suffer? I suggest that the slightest injury a diving whales might suffer would be sinus barotrauma (barosinusitis) and/or middle-ear barotrauma (barotitis).

Barotrauma in the sinus cavities or middle-ear air chambers would also prevent whales and dolphins from diving to the depths of their prey. Sinus and middle-ear barotrauma would also defeat their biosonar system because the sinuses serve as acoustic mirrors, bouncing sound around in each individual's head in such a fashion to enable them to determine the direction in which sounds are traveling. Without intact and functional sinuses, a dolphin/whale would hear their navigation clicks, but have no idea from which direction they came. Middle ear barotrauma would defeat hearing.

Please think about this issues. You might find it helps to understand beachings.

Capt. David Williams Chairman, Deafwhale Society, Inc [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dwms02 (talkcontribs) 22:17, 20 July 2012 (UTC) --04:34, 21 June 2015 (UTC)Capt. David Williams

How about a expansion?[edit]

It seems to me that we need a new or expanded article on Stranding or Beaching of marine vertebrates, not just whales?

Since whales are not the only marine mammals that get stranded, perhaps we need an article with a wider scope, certainly including dolphins and porpoises? I don't know that much about strandings, but even sea turtles are known to swim outside their normal range and are found stranded when the temperatures start to drop in the autumn. SO the phenomenon happens to marine mammals and sea turtles. Invertzoo (talk) 19:35, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

Carcass Section Misinformation[edit]

"After a beached whale dies, it can become a source of disease and pollution."

First of all, no citation for this claim. Secondly, the disease portion of this is incorrect for several reasons. A) There are no known whale diseases that can cross-infect humans (and it's unlikely such a disease would exist, due to the significant different natural environments), B) The risk of disease from any corpse (even human) is negligible unless the victim suffered a transmissible disease prior to death and the corpse makes contact with an infection vector (such a drinking water supply). The bacteria involved in decomposing a corpse are NOT pathogenic, and cannot cause an infection in a living organism with a functional immune system. Here's a citation for this claim. Since whales occupy oceans and not typical drinking water sources, the only chance of infection would be if someone ate the corpse without properly cooking it, and again, we're assuming a very unlikely scenario in which the whale has a disease capable of miraculously infecting creatures outside of the environment said disease would have evolved in.

As for the pollution part, death is a natural part of the ecosystem. A body does not "pollute" it's environment. It's simply part of the cycle. It breaks down, and the components become available to other organisms.

I'm removing the line given that it has been disproven, though of course if you have evidence otherwise, share it here. LiamSP (talk) 23:29, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified 2 external links on Cetacean stranding. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 19:55, 18 November 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^