Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rare whale washes up in New Zealand

Ed Yong is a great science writer with a blog on Discover Magazine's website. He has an interesting post on a whale so rare that has never been seen alive. In 2010 two individuals washed up on a beach in the north of New Zealand. They were misidentified as the related Gray's beaked whale, Mesoplodon grayi, until genetic analysis of samples taken from the dead whales showed they were in fact the elusive spade-toothed whale, M. traversii. The subject of Ed's post is a recently published paper the reports on the genetic analysis and provides the first morphological description of a complete animal.

The Science Now site has a story on these whales too. It makes the claim that the beached whales were found alive. I don't know which version is correct. 

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