Another Plausible Cause For Cetacean Mass Strandings
"It is not known why they sometimes run aground on the seashore, for it is asserted that this happens rather frequently when the fancy takes them and without any apparent reason." Aristotle, 350BC
Pollution, navy sonars, global warming and everything else man could be responsible for right?
Well for starters navy sonar wasnt around in 350BC when Aristotle was witnessing beachings. This was before the industrial revolution and mans influence on global warming. Im not going to argue wether man is responsible for global warming or if global warming is a natural earth phenomena. I believe that global warming is not responsible for beachings. Some kind of natural sea pollution thats been going on for thousands of years on the other hand has some merit although nothing that science has found, yet.
What about the navy screwing with thier sonar navigation systems?
Funny how they work so happily for the navy in naval bases around the world and in war games where navy sonar is used extensively. If thier sonar was that fragile in war games scenario's they would be too much of a liability in a real war situation. Imagine playing fetch to a bomb trained dolphin who gets his sonar wires crossed.
It is a fact that different varietys of cetaceans beach together in large numbers.
For example pod's of common dolphin with short tailed pilot whale pod's.
Why only whales with teeth?
I hypothesis the reason only teethed cetacean's beach themselves is because this is the 'Natural Selection Trait' or genetic requirement for the next evolutionary stage.
Cetaceans would be the next highly intelligent mammals (after man) to
evolve from the oceans onto land?
Theres no doubt they are intelligent and would give my black labrador a run for his money. Cetaceans ancestors were orginally land walking animals with hooves! They evolved from the land into the sea millions of years ago, before man's short spell here began.
I hypothesis that this may be a natural cycle because thier food source is threatened, while more abundant food source is available on land, this may be helping to fuel the transformation.
In a nutshell, my hypothesis is that over thousands, possibly millions of years and after millions of beachings from this selected group of sea mammals, cetacean's are being genetically altered, or mutated, as per darwins theory of natural selection to evolve back onto land from the sea.
Naturally selected cetacean's may have a genetic pre-disposition to beaching themselves that is completely involuntary. That is an uncontrollable urge to beach without giving any second thought as to why they are doing it. To us of course it looks terrible and sad to see so many die on the beaches but nature isnt so emotional. Sacrifice is natures way to bring about change.
Now after thinking about this originally i had two questions i had to find answers to.
The first one is, if cetaceans have this genetic urge to beach, wouldnt there be thousands of them beaching every day instead of a few hundred every few months?
Thats a very good question and i believe that nature is even more select then just selecting toothed cetaceans, infact i think it goes even further to another selection criteria that i will explain in the next question.
I believe that all cetacean's have the same gene but only the 'selected' cetacean's genes are 'switched' on while the rest of the population's remain dormant. This can be passed down from generation to generation. Much like humans or other animals have been found to have certain genes switched on while others are turned off. Some people are actually immune to HIV genetically for example.
Nature cant have it both ways. You cant evolve cetacean's to mutate over millions of years and through millions of beachings by turning that genetic switch on all of them or they would be dying en-masse!
There has to be another selection criteria to go through, something else.
Complex as it may seem to us, i dont believe to nature it is that complex.
Nature has the ace up its sleeve. It knows something else quite important.
The nature of cetacean's!
Isnt it a bit of a coincidence that all of the naturally selected cetaceans would all hang out together and beach at once?
Have you ever wondered why some swim back out to sea when helped by locals or rescue teams and some swim right back in, determined to go to thier certain doom?
The final criteria of natural selection in cetacean's... the nature of them:
It is well known that cetacean's react to other distressed whales and dolphins, regardless of thier species. Dolphins coming to the rescue of other dolphins or whales and vice-versa. Even dolphins protecting lifesavers against sharks and hearding the lifesavers back to shore circling to protect them, as in the case recently in New Zealand. When a cetacean is in distress it signals this and others will try to help.
I believe that this is the trick nature knew all along and uses it to its advantage to help the whole thing work.
The selected one's feel compelled to beach, they dont know why but are distressed and cry for help.
Nature knows this and takes advantage of it by 'tricking' the others around it regardless of cetacean species to beach as well. Resulting in the whole POD or second POD of whales or dolphins that happen to be feeding together or are close by when the distress signals go out.
Enabling a perfect way to a controlled 3 stage selective criteria genetic mutation over millions of years.
It would also explain why some of them have a determination to beach regardless of how much you push them out to sea they are intent on coming right back in and dying.
I dont believe thats the weather, a shallow beach or a predator forcing them to return.