Hey there, Eastern-seaboard beach-goers! Been enjoying your summer of cold beer, casual sex, outdoor music festivals, ice cream dinners, and mysterious dolphin carcasses? Of course you haven’t — who can enjoy ice cream dinners with so many rotting dolphin carcasses lining our beaches, fouling up the air and attracting legions of carrion birds? It’s positively grotesque.

CBS has reported on a most-unfortunate summer trend for anyone who adores large marine mammals — dolphins have been washing up dead or almost-dead on beaches all along the mid-Atlantic coast, from Virginia to lovely New Jersey, a land untouched by sarcastic comments about its pristine, white-sand beaches. More than 120 dolphins (mostly of the adorable and familiar bottlenose variety) have turned up in various states of decomposition over the last two months, and nobody really knows why. Maggie Mooney-Seus of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration speculates, “It could be biotoxins. It could be disease. It could be human interactions with fishing gear."


Really, though, stranded dolphins are the kind of mystery that can convince some people that a genuine “Sharkpocalypse” (a “real” phenomenon that will be discussed this week on the Discovery Channel’s annual snuff series, Shark Week) is nigh upon us. Or that we’ve dumped too many exfoliating microbeads into our oceans and they’re getting stuck in dolphin blowholes. Or that there’s a dolphin civil war that we know absolutely nothing about, and the dead dolphins are really casualties from the side of the evil dolphins that want to mount a land invasion and kill all the people. In which case, we ought to celebrate, oughtn’t we? In any event, it might be useful to maintain some perspective — although a staggering 42 dolphins turned up dead in July as opposed to a mere 10 in the two previous Julys combined, the summer of 1987 saw more than 900 mysterious dolphin deaths.


Image via AP

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