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Posted: 5:57 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013

Whales Can Get Suntans 

Killer Whale
Meegan M. Reid
FILE - In this photo taken July 18, 2013, an orca whale breaches as the pod swims through Liberty Bay in Poulsbo, Wash. Killer whales that spend their summers in Puget Sound are a distinct population group and will remain protected under the Endangered Species Act, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Friday. The ruling was the result of a petition to de-list the whales on behalf of California farmers who faced water restrictions to protect salmon the Orcas eat. (AP Photo/Kitsap Sun, Meegan M. Reid, file)

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Humans aren't the only ones who get summer tans. So do whales—and their DNA gets damaged in the process too, scientists say. The new findings, published Friday in Scientific Reports, could lead to better sunscreens and other sun protection products for humans. The correlation between whale and human responses to sun exposure was “very clear and very pronounced,” said the study's co-author. Future studies will look at whether other marine mammals, such as porpoises and walruses, show similar responses to sun exposure, he added.