Feeds

EXTREMELY RARE never-seen-alive WHALES found (briefly) alive

Not extinct after all. Probably, anyway

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A pair of rare whales that boffins thought might be extinct has washed up on a New Zealand beach.

A Grays beaked whale

A Grays beaked, not a spade-toothed beaked, whale

Marine biologists previously only knew the spade-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon traversii) from a few old bones: but then, not one but two of the rare cetaceans, a mother and her male calf, got stranded.

Even when they did show up, researchers first thought that they were the more common Gray's beaked whales, but DNA samples showed that the mammal was indeed the rare spade-toothed breed.

"This is the first time this species - a whale over five meters in length - has ever been seen as a complete specimen, and we were lucky enough to find two of them," said Rochelle Constantine of the University of Auckland.

"Up until now, all we have known about the spade-toothed beaked whale was from three partial skulls collected from New Zealand and Chile over a 140-year period. It is remarkable that we know almost nothing about such a large mammal."

The two whales were discovered in 2010 when they live-stranded and then died on Opape Beach. The New Zealand Department of Conservation was called to the scene, but it wasn't until DNA analysis was done in the lab that researchers knew what they had.

"We were very surprised to find that they were spade-toothed beaked whales," Constantine said. "We ran the samples a few times to make sure before we told everyone."

Scientists are unsure why a whale like this hasn't been spotted before.

"It may be that they are simply an offshore species that lives and dies in the deep ocean waters and only rarely wash ashore," Constantine sid. "New Zealand is surrounded by massive oceans. There is a lot of marine life that remains unknown to us."

The discovery is detailed in Current Biology. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.