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Cain Burdeau, Associated Press
In this photo taken May 10, 2015, a dead dolphin washes ashore in the Gulf of Mexico on Grand Isle, La. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists stated in a report released, Wednesday, May 20, 2015, that there are links between BP's catastrophic 2010 oil spill and a spate of dolphin deaths since the spill. The study is part of a wide-ranging assessment of ecological damage caused by the spill. BP has rejected that contention and said necropsies of dolphins and "other information reveal there is no evidence" to make the link between the spill and dolphin deaths.

NEW ORLEANS — In a new study, a team of scientists says there's a definite link between the massive BP oil spill in 2010 and a record number of dolphin deaths along the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The scientists said large numbers of dead bottlenose dolphins found stranded along shores since the spill suffered from lung and adrenal lesions caused by swimming in oil-contaminated seas.

The research paper backs up previous findings linking dolphin deaths to the oil spill.

BP has rejected this contention, and on Wednesday said the new study failed to make a link between the deaths and oil contamination. Instead, it said, the dolphins were likely suffering from common respiratory illnesses.

The new study was published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed online journal PLOS ONE.