Cetacean stranding, commonly known as beaching, is a phenomenon in which whales and dolphins strand themselves on land, usually on a beach.Beached whales often die due to dehydration, collapsing under their own weight, or drowning when high tide covers the blowhole. Bowhead whales are by far the oldest whale species, living up to 200 years! I think dying of old age is something that is more likely to happen to humans than very many animals (in the wild at least). Dying from "old age" is impossible, in fact, we can theoretically live forever, if we were somehow able to repair us - #201123234 added by knightgiver at Uh-Oh When whales die in the ocean, their bodies eventually sink to the bottom. "But how many turn into whale falls I just don't know." There are a number of ways that whales can meet the end of their lives. That kind of is old age, you dont die by "old age" you die by living so long that you cannot repair the damage, and something slips through the cracks and finally ends you. Fun fact, whales die of old age by being unable to surface. The smaller dolphins and porpoises generally live a few decades. In 2007 a bowhead whale was found with a whaling harpoon embedded in its skin dating back to 1879, suggesting the whale was 115-130 years old. Whales generally live long lives, sometimes even surpassing humans’ lifespans. So called natural deaths, due to old age, for example, are thought to occur but little is known about such events. Answer Save. . Whales tend to die of the same things that we do. Once the body comes to rest, biologists refer to this as a whale fall.As you would guess, other fish and sea animals initially eat the meat off the carcass. My inexpert opinion says that by the time they are ready to die of old age, something will come along and kill it since it can no longer defend itself. If they loose their family and get confused, they just give up! Whales are conscious breathers. Cetacean stranding has occurred since before recorded history.. Several explanations for why cetaceans strand themselves … As they are confused, they just starve to death or get struck by shipping. However, what came as a surprise to ocean researchers was the finding that dead whales support entire ecosystems. Whales will suffocate before drowning, simply because they won't inhale while underwater. They are completely in control of their breath, and must think about it every time they inhale and exhale, much like you have to actively do something like move your limbs. Scientists in Australia have discovered that many mammals may live far longer than expected, meaning the bowhead whale has an average 268-year life expectancy. 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