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Writing in the research journal Conservation Letters, scientists argue that fatality figures are misleadingly based on the number of recovered animal carcasses, and that the true toll may be 50 times higher than believed.
Calculations by the team suggest that only two percent of cetacean carcasses were ever historically recovered after their deaths in this region, so the death toll from the spill could have been underestimated by 50 times. “Carcass counts are hugely misleading, if used to measure the disaster’s death toll,” said co-author Scott Kraus of the New England Aquarium in Boston.