Rare New Species Of Beaked Whale Discovered

Posted: Jul 27 2016, 3:57am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

Rare New Species of Beaked Whale Discovered
The only skeleton of the new species in the United States hangs on display in Unalaska High School, in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. The whale was found dead in 2004, and recent tests on stored tissue samples revealed that it is one of the few known specimens of the new species. Credit: Unalaska City School District
  • Concerted Quest unearths Genetic Proof for Novel Species of Beaked Whale

A concerted quest has unearthed genetic proof for a novel species of beaked whale. The North Pacific species definitely exists yet it has managed to remain hidden most of the time.

A large group of researchers from many lands have gone on a search for a new species of whale. They have found this rare new species of beaked whale that abounds in the region between Japan and Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.

The Japanese whalers have a name for this curious creature and it is “karasu”. This is Japanese for “raven”. Indeed, it does have a crow-like beak on the exact spot where its snout should be.

This novel species is more duskier and slightly smaller than the more common Baird’s beaked whale. However, there is one thing which differentiates this whale from the rest. That is that it is a very rare species.

Even whalers seldom come across one. A DNA analysis took place regarding 178 beaked whales which thrived in the Pacific Rim region. At least eight examples of this species were discovered.

The study was published in the journal Marine Mammal Science.

These eight included samples from the Smithsonian and the LA County Museum of National History. There was also a skeleton from an Alaskan high school and one which was stranded on the beach and puzzled the people regarding what species it belonged to.

The only problem in the taxonomy of this species was the collection of a sufficient number of samples for verification. The fact that this species is such a rarity shows humanity the mirror as regards its capabilities.

We still have a long way to go as far as charting the depths of the oceans is concerned. New species keep turning up time after time and some of them are pretty large like this whale.

Earlier research suggested that black whales were a new species. After turning to a marine mammal tissue collection, two samples were found which belonged to a new species.

One of these was a whale whose skeleton still hangs in an Alaskan high school. Then in 2014, scientists found a whale stranded on the shore of an island in the Bering Sea.

Later on genetic tests proved that it was the novel species. This new species and the Baird’s beaked whale are closely related to each other. These whales have beaks which resemble those of dolphins. They live in the deep blue ocean. Also they feed on squids and bottom fish.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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