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No. 77: Sep-Oct 1991

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No unknown monsters in those fiji underwater caves:
nevertheless, the mystery deepens

A videotape of those unusual skeletons in the Fiji underwater caves mentioned above has been studied by scientists at the Queensland Museum. The are not the remains of unknown monsters -- they are only dolphin bones! But one mystery has been replaced by several. It seems that there were three different species of dolphins, and they were found at the closed ends of underwater passages that were just a bit larger than the living animals themselves. Why did three different species go into the caves at all? Why did they go all the way to the ends of the closed passages, given their excellent echo-location systems?

Pertinent here is the discovery of skeletons and recent carcasses of green turtles in similar situations in underwater caves in Indonesia. Turtles lack the dolphins' echo-location equipment, but they are still excellent navigators. (Molnar, R.E.; personal communication, July 2, 1991. Molnar is a scientist at the Queensland Museum.)

Comment. Another question comes to mind: Could the demise of the dolphins in the Fiji caves be related to the occasional strandings of whales and other cetacea on beaches all over the world? Is there a common failure in perception and/or navigation?

From Science Frontiers #77, SEP-OCT 1991. � 1991-2000 William R. Corliss