Thursday, November 8, 2012

[Cetology • 2012] the World's Rarest Whale | Spade-toothed Beaked Whale Mesoplodon traversii • the First Complete Description of enigmatic marine mammal from the South Pacific Ocean

Mistaken identity. The rare spade-toothed beaked whale (left) was mistaken for a Gray's beaked whale (right). Credit: (Left to Right): K.Thompson et al., Current Biology 22, 21 (6 November 2012); Crown Copyright: Department of Conservation: Te Papa Atawhai (January 2011)

Spade-toothed Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon traversii)
: World's Rarest Whale Seen for the First Time | New Zealand  
|  the first complete description of the Spade-toothed Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon traversii), a species previously known only from a few bones.

The vast expanses of the South Pacific Ocean have, until recently, concealed the identity of the world’s rarest whale, the spade-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon traversii). Based on the scarcity of records and the total absence of previous sightings, this species is the least known species of whale and one of the world’s rarest living mammals. Two individuals of this species, previously known from only two skull fragments and a mandible, were recently discovered beach-cast in New Zealand. Although initially misidentified, we have used DNA analysis to reveal their true identity. We provide the first morphological description and images of this enigmatic species. This study highlights the importance of DNA typing and reference collections for the identification of rare species.

World's Rarest Whale Seen for the First Time | New Zealand - @ScienceNOW