National Geographic : 1976 Dec
ALLBYDONKINCAID Beneath a blistering sun, 30 false killer whales lie beached on Loggerhead Key in Florida's Dry Tortugas, overheating rapidly while out of their environment. For reasons unknown, they cast themselves ashore. Some biologists have specu lated that ear parasites can destroy a whale's ability to use sonar signals to echo-locate his sur roundings. But cetologist Bill Watkins notes: "Maybe lots of whales have ear parasites. We haven't looked at any--except for the stranded animals." Volunteers (left) were able to turn most . of them back to sea. Meanwhile, they measured the animals and took blood samples (right).