A previously unknown species of Beak whale found off the coast of Mexico
A team of scientists searching for a rare species of whale instead found a species that they said had never been recorded.
“We saw something new, that wasn’t expected in this area, something that doesn’t correspond either visually or acoustically to everything that is known about
existence”,- according to a team of scientists, the bizarre noise recorded in 2018 in the Pacific ocean may be from a species of Beak whale that hasn’t previously been recorded.
“Beak whales produced loud echolocation sounds for navigation and foraging, but these had an unusual acoustic profile,- said Elizabeth Henderson, a bioacoustic scientist at the Naval Information Warfare Centre Pacific- they peaked at a different frequency and had a characteristic rise”.
Some of the scientists embarked on a cruise on November 17 to find out if the sounds of 2018 are related to Perrin’s elusive beaked whale, which was described first in 2002 but was found dead on the coastline. The researchers stumbled upon three of them, all alive, who had distinct characteristics from Perrin’s whale. First, the teeth of the whales were located further in the mouth, they had a darker stripe from the eyes to the crown and a light stripe from the abdomen to the middle of the body. Based on her observations, Henderson believes that these whales belong to the “Mesoplodon” genus and may be closely related to Perrin’s whales.
“The fact that they were looking for a rare whale, but they were lucky enough to find something completely different is wonderful and it’s just a joy to do science. This is what we all live for”- says a sea biologist at Duke University, Andrew Reed.
“It’s very important, new evidence has emerged to conclude that most of the other new species of whales that have been described over the past 20 years are separate from where they were classified”. So in fact, it turns out that scientists haven’t seen whales before.
Nowadays, there are 23 known species of Beak whale, and a scientist is “cautiously optimistic” that there will be 24 very soon.
“It is a huge animal, so imagine something so large in the earthly realm that it will remain undiscovered,” he said.