Humans tend to get rid of dead whales as fast as they wash up on shore. But are we missing an opportunity to learn about the health of our oceans and doing the local ecology a huge disservice by depriving scavengers of sustenance?

A dead whale furnishes vital data about the health of our oceans; reconnects us to nature; and nourishes the scavengers whose waste-management services support our own health. A dead whale, as our forebears knew, was both tragedy and gift, an object to be cherished and learned from, not reflexively discarded.