26th November 2009
A boffin funded by the US Navy has used a gigantic CT scanner, normally employed for inspecting space rockets, to X-ray the head of a whale. The results apparently indicate that naval sonars can’t be the cause of whale beachings, as the mighty cetaceans are unable to hear the relevant frequencies.
But the ONR announced yesterday that Cranford’s latest findings “suggest that mid-frequency active sonar sounds are largely filtered, or ‘muffled’, before reaching the animal’s ears. The findings also suggest that higher frequencies used by whales to hunt prey are heard at amplified levels without any dampening.”
Mid-frequency active sonar has been in widespread naval use since World War II, though it has only been fingered by pro-whale activists as a cause of beaching in recent times – and beachings are rare, whereas sonar is used constantly in exercises. There have been protracted legal struggles between the US navy and environmental groups in the US courts over the issue, and similar allegations have been made regarding beachings in the UK.
And once again the religion of environmentalism falls before actual science.