Wednesday, November 07, 2007

VERY Big News from the world of whales

Loren Coleman has collected some very important news and links in one handy spot on the blog Cryptomundo.
First, there is a link to cetologist Robert Pitman's paper from 2006 on the first definite sighting of a live example of the enigmatic Shepherd’s beaked whale (Tasmacetus shepherdi).
Then there's a link to Pitman's Journal of Mammology paper on a new dwarf species of killer whale from the Antarctic.
Finally, a star-studded cetological team, with Merel L. Dalebout as lead author and a roster of co-authors including two more of the top experts on the mesoplodonts (beaked whales), William F. Perrin and James G. Mead, has determined that DNA taken from stranded whales in the Palmyra Atoll Wildlife Refuge and the Tabiteuea Atoll in the Republic of Kiribati indicate there's a yet-unidentified species in that little-known group.
I covered Pitman's studies of the fault lines between what was once thought to be a single species of killer whale (a.k.a. orca) in the Antarctic and the thoughts of Dalebout and others about yet-unidentified beaked whales in my 2006 book Shadows of Existence (Hancock House). Now, though, we have formal publication of more concrete conclusions in these areas. Thanks again to Loren for putting this together.

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