New whale species discovered and scientists are excited by the rare find
It appears evolution still has many surprises in store for us and the latest is the discovery of a new whale species. Although the remains of a carcass was found off the island of St. George near Alaska in 2014, research has now proved the animal to be a new species.
Discovered by a biology teacher, the animal was mistaken for a Baird’s beaked whale but after research of the carcass, which was twenty feet long, it was indeed found to be a new species of black cetacean referred to by the Japanese as Karasu.
1 The gigantic creature was found washed up on a beach
Washed up on the desolate beach, the mammal seemed young with dark colored body and a large floppy dorsal fin. Its teeth though, seemed to have aged and appeared yellow.
Research on the discovery was only published on the 19th of July. According to Phillip Morin, molecular geneticist at The NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration), Southwest Fisheries Center, there wasn’t much information as to whether more of the species existed but efforts are now on to find them.
2 Research on DNA proves it is different from other whales
The new whale species seems to have lived in the North Pacific, where extensive research for new mammals has been regularly conducted for years. For researchers, this is an extremely important and significant find as the discovery of a mammal of such an exceptional size is a rare phenomenon.
The extensive study on the carcass included research from several whale species along with data from Japanese whaling crews. The study was published in Marine Mammal Science but the mammal is yet to be named. The DNA of the mammal appeared totally different from regular Arnoux beaked whales that frequented the area around the Antarctic Ocean.
3 An unknown and bizarre creature
What’s most dramatic about finding the new whale species was the effect that there are only 88 living cetacean species including orcas, humpbacks, dalls porpoises and Bottleneck dolphins, that are recognized by science. Of these, 22 are beaked whales among which the largest are Baird beaked whales which reach up to 40 feet in length and weigh a massive 10,900 kg. The mammals can exist underwater up to depths of 3000 feet for up to an hour.
Not much is known about beaked whales, although theory is regularly hunted by Japanese whalers which are what contributes to the reduction of the species. Initial research on the mammal by Japanese scientists did not reveal much information as to its origins. In fact even as it lay dead in Zapadni Bay, Karin Holser, a seal researcher thought it to be a Baird beaked whale. However, shifting tides and current slowly revealed the entire animal and that’s when researchers got curious. Holser reported the find to experts in Alaska.
4 An exciting and rare discovery whose research yielded exciting results
It was with the help of Japanese scientists that Phillip Morin also tracked down evidence form earlier findings, one of which existed as a skeleton in the Los Angeles County Museum of natural history. These all seemed similar to a small black formed species of whales hinted by the Japanese who had found one in 2013. It was during the quest for such information and data that Phillip Morin did not just locate this one new whale species but five, which was phenomenal.
Phillip Morin also states that extensive damage is being done to the biodiversity of the planet where even till now there is much that cannot be understood by man.