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Why Whales Beach Themselves: It's The Bends!

Why do whales beach themselves? A new study may have answered the question that baffled scientists for decades: it's the bends ...

A new study offers evidence to support the theory that beaked whales get the bends when they surface rapidly, possibly after being startled by naval sonar.

The report could help scientists understand why beaked whales appear to be more vulnerable to the potentially harmful effects of sonar than other marine mammals.

Together with other studies, the results may also help scientists and regulators think of how navies could adjust their sonar use during training to prevent beaked whale strandings and deaths.

"It provides more evidence that beaked whales that are being found dead in association with naval sonar activities are likely to be getting decompression sickness," said Robin Baird, a marine biologist at Cascadia Research Collective and one of the report's authors.

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