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Twitter was awash today with theories that the bizarre deaths of more than 100 stranded pilot whales in New Zealand may have been a warning that an earthquake was going to hit.
There have been TWO mass whale deaths on NZ’s South Island in less than three weeks.
In the latest bizarre incident on Sunday, less than 48 hours before the earthquake hit, a pod of whales beached themselves near Cavalier Creek on Stewart Island.
Originally posted by Dachende
reply to post by HunkaHunka
Stewart island is right at the bottom of NZ.
Christchurch is half way up the south island
That's a good distance apart so I fail to see how they're related.
Of the cetaceans, pilot whales are among the most common stranders. Because of their strong social bonds, whole groups of pilot whales will strand. Single stranders have been recorded and these are usually diseased. Group stranding tends to be of mostly healthly individuals. It is not known what causes these animals to strand but there are different hypotheses. It has been suggested that the animals may get confused or trapped in shallow water, that geomagnetic anomalies may disorient the whale if they are using the earth's magnetic field for navigation or that a sick individual gets stranded and the group follows.
Originally posted by Mapkar
reply to post by HunkaHunka
You have to be careful when looking for correlation. There isn't necessarily causation just because there's correlation. For example, if there's a correlation between the number of ice cream purchases made, and the number of rapes reported we can't assume ice cream causes rape. We may need to look at the fact that during the summer more people eat ice cream due to the heat. Also, more people are outside and active, and also have their windows or doors open because of the same heat; this makes it easier for the crime to occur.
There may very well be causation here with the whales, but it's important to keep an open mind and remember that there very well could be no causation at all.
It is a curious situation though...
Originally posted by Phage
Originally posted by questioningall
As I had said in the last "beachings" thread, it makes sense that whales would hear the grindings of the earth. Obviously something is bothering them, where they want to commit suicide.
Cetaceans have been around for quite a while. So have earthquakes. Not a very good survival strategy to commit mass suicide just because an earthquake might occur (that is, of course, assuming that they know about it).
Wouldn't it make more sense to just leave the area? Sea creatures are pretty unlimited when it comes to traveling a pretty good distance in the course of a few days.
It might make an interesting study though. Why not see if you can come up with some real numbers; distance from the epicenter, magnitude of the quake, "forewarning" period. Things like that.