Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New species of beaked whale?

There are 22 known species of beaked whale (though not every one is accepted by every expert).  So what happens when scientists record calls that sound like a beaked whale - but don't match any known species? Well, they publish a paper like this one.  There is no certainty without more data, but we may well have detected a new species.


Laurence Clark Crossen said...

I just read that there are 32 marine phyla and 12 land phyla, yet less than 15% of currently named species are from the ocean, in spite of its larger area. When we know so little it seems very possible that ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and basilosaurs may still exist.

Matt Bille said...

That's a bit of a stretch, since we have to figure out an ecological niche as well as explaining the lack of a fossil record. It's hard to believe these air-breathing species could compete with their fellow air-breathers the orcas.

Laurence Clark Crossen said...

Leatherback turtles do not seem troubled. The Indian Ocean provides a refuge for warm climate species comparable to the refuge many have described Africa as. Ichthyosaurs could be there where the coelacanth escaped detection. Basilosaurs may carve out a niche of their own thanks to their elongate shape possibly making for exceptional speed.