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Learn from the Bodies of Whales That Have Died
In February 2010 a six-week-old whale had been seen along the coast near Santa Barbara, California. The whale baby was always alone, and never with her mother. That was a sign of a problem: Had the mother been killed by a ship, or an orca (killer whale)? Had the mother been sick and died? Was there some reason why the baby wasn't fit enough to keep up with her mom? (A whale mom normally stays with her baby for six or seven months.)
Not long after the sightings, the young baby washed up dead on Goleta Beach. Careful scientists examined her body. They found that her belly was full of sand. "She was attempting to feed, but wasn't very successful," said Michelle Berman of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. "She must have seen her mom feed, so she knew to skim along the bottom and suck things up, but she didn't know not to eat the sand."
This is where scientists stop and wonder: How can they learn more? Maybe YOU will take the challenge to explore the answers as a marine biologist!
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