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Have scientists found a new species of whale?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 5th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

What is the rarest whale in the world and what does it look like? Is it the narwhal, the unicorn of the sea, or perhaps the endangered Right whale? Actually it is the Spade-toothed beaked whale, whose existence is inferred only by bone fragments and legends, until now.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND (Catholic Online) - Washing up on a New Zealand beach in 2010, a mother and calf Spade-toothed beaked whale have captured the interest of marine biologists who never before had genuine specimens to examine. 

Both the mother and calf perished during the beaching, leaving scientists their remains to study. 

Originally, the whales were thought to be the more common Gray's beaked whales, but upon close examination there were some attributes that didn't match what they expected. To conclude the matter, scientists took DNA samples. 

Now DNA testing has confirmed that the whales belong to the rarer, Spade-toothed species. 

The Spade-toothed beaked whale is thought to be one of the world's most elusive whales. Knowledge of them consists of only a few bone fragments that have washed up on beaches over the last 140 years.

Scientists think they live in the deep waters of the South Pacific that are rarely traversed by people. They are deep divers who feed primarily on squid and small fish. 

Little else remains known about the whales, and until an organized study can be formed and funded, the species will retain its reputation as the world's most elusive whale. 


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