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Nature & Environment

Japan's mystery 'raven' whale is new species

By T.K. Randall
August 1, 2016 · Comment icon 14 comments

There may be many other new species out there just waiting to be found. Image Credit: NOAA
Scientists have identified a whole new species of whale following years of stories from local fishermen.
Tales of a mysterious beaked whale known as 'karasu' or 'raven' have finally been validated thanks to the discovery of an entirely new species that had managed to elude scientists for years.

Its existence had been previously hinted at back in 2013 when three unidentified whale specimens found washed ashore in Japan were suspected of belonging to a new species.

Other samples included a misidentified skull on display at the Smithsonian, a dead whale found on the shores of the Bering Sea and even an entire skeleton found at an Alaskan high school.

"There have been a lot of people out there surveying whales for a long time and never come across this in scientific research," said molecular geneticist Phillip Morin.
"So it is a huge thing to discover this; it's kind of baffling that we haven't seen it before."

The new species is very similar to the Baird's beaked whale aside from a few minor differences.

"It reportedly has a different shaped skull and maybe a shorter beak than a Baird's beaked whale, relative to the shape of its head," said Morin. "And the dorsal fin is reported to be placed slightly differently, and differently shaped."

"It wouldn't surprise me if there were more whales that we've never documented before."

Source: | Comments (14)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by psyche101 8 years ago
Comment icon #6 Posted by eddword 8 years ago
Sounds like a new Pokemon discovery. After all it was discovered by the Japanese
Comment icon #7 Posted by baobei 8 years ago
The Japanese will hopefully suppress the urge to hunt this new species for 'research'
Comment icon #8 Posted by Leonardo 8 years ago
For a new species of whale to be discovered in Japanese waters, it obviously cannot taste very good.
Comment icon #9 Posted by danielost 8 years ago
it says they weren't seen often.  not hunted when seen.
Comment icon #10 Posted by BadChadB33 8 years ago
We will find megalodon yet!!
Comment icon #11 Posted by MJNYC 8 years ago
I am praying for the same and it was my exact thought.  
Comment icon #12 Posted by MJNYC 8 years ago
I hope it's poisonous and, therefore, will not be eaten.
Comment icon #13 Posted by paperdyer 8 years ago
    Not only poisonous but does a Godzilla on the boats. - With all hands surviving, showing more intelligence than the whalers.
Comment icon #14 Posted by TripGun 8 years ago
Sumo dolphin.

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