Thursday, September 15, 2011

New dolphin species discovered!

Dolphins living off Melbourne, Australia, had been thought to be members of a common species, the bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus). Recently, though, researchers decided to take a closer look at the population. Differences in their skulls (measured in museum specimens) reinforced DNA evidence that these dolphins were a species unto themselves. Welcome Tursiops australis (known from an Aboriginal term as the Burrunan dolphin). There are only about 150 members of this species known to science, and they inhabit a very small area compared to most cetaceans. According to Kate Charlton-Robb of Monash University, "This is an incredibly fascinating discovery as there have only been three new dolphin species formally described and recognised since the late 1800s. What makes this even more exciting is this dolphin species has been living right under our noses."
COMMENT: Discovery is very often right under our noses...a lot of the stories in this blog have begun with someone having a thought like, "That creature looks a bit off..."

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