Super mega dolphin pod off San Diego: Why the big party? (+video)
Super mega dolphin pod, which indulged in a feeding frenzy off the coast of San Diego over the holiday weekend, is only the latest in a recent string of odd behaviors by large creatures of the sea.
Are critters of the sea losing it?
Uncharacteristic feeding behavior from dolphins and whales is grabbing the attention of scientists – and the public – and so far is prompting more questions than answers about what's going on in the ocean depths.
Blue whales, which usually hang out off Costa Rica this time of year, unexpectedly showed up in California's Monterey Bay over the past week, gorging on a sizable buffet of krill. Over the weekend, a huge population of short-beaked dolphins that stretched out over 35 miles indulged in a feeding frenzy off the coast of San Diego. Last fall, sperm whales appeared uncharacteristically in Canada's Bay of Fundy. In December, rare right whales, calves in tow, showed up months earlier than usual to feed off Massachusetts' Cape Cod.
Were those thousands of dolphins who churned the coastal waters into a vast swath of sea foam just having a Presidents' Day party closer to shore than usual? Or, as some observers suggest, is all this unusual marine mammal activity a hint that some major disturbance is afoot in the oceans?
These are the kinds of big questions that scientists are reluctant to answer quickly when dramatic events occur.
Take the recent reappearance of porpoises in San Francisco Bay, after a 65-year absence.