Dolphin deaths case will be watched closely for months

The investigation into the many infant dolphin deaths along the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama will be multi-faceted in the months to come and watched by dozens of agencies and hundreds of attorneys in litigation with BP.

But why the young mammals died and continue to die prematurely, weeks before the birthing season in the northern Gulf, may remain forever a mystery.

By the end of last week, there had been 39 confirmed deaths, an unprecedented number for Mississippi and Alabama, but not as unusual for the much-larger Texas coast.

Tissue samples will be checked for signs of oil. There’s no ignoring that crude oil from BP’s well was gushing into the environment when the mother dolphins were in their early months of pregnancy. The samples are being taken from the small carcasses and preserved under a strict protocol using a chain of custody that requires a witness and written access just to see them, because of the BP litigation and federal scrutiny.

But a group of scientists from the Gulf region told the Sun Herald last week that though people want answers, good science won’t jump to conclusions

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