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Viewings: 4194New Zealand and the U.S. oceanographers have discovered off the coast of New Zealand two rare apatitovyh whales, the existence of which scientists knew only by the bones thrown on the shore of the southern Islands in the Pacific ocean, according to a paper published in the journal Current Biology.
"We were the first who saw this five-meter whale entirely, and we were lucky to find two individuals. All we knew about apatitovyh whales up to this point, was based on three partial turtles found off the coast of New Zealand and Chile for the last 140 years. Surprisingly, but we know almost nothing about such a large mammal" - said the head of group of scientists Rochelle Konstantin (Rochelle Constantine) from the University of Auckland (New Zealand).
Konstantin and her colleagues found the carcasses of two "elusive" apatitovyh whale (Mesoplodon traversii), investigating rumors of several unusual whales beached beach Opapa South of Auckland in December 2010.
Local naturalists and ecologists, who discovered two whales - a female and her calf, found them ramaswami gray whales (Mesoplodon grayi)that are often dumped on beaches in New Zealand. When environmental services New Zealand arrived at the beach and tried to save the whales, the animals have already lost. Environmentalists have separated a few fragments of skin, photographed carcasses and sent all the data in the Centre for the protection of animals in Auckland.
These samples were in the laboratory Konstantin and her colleagues in the framework of the national programme on genetic identification of whales stranded on the coast of New Zealand, which has been held for 20 years. The scientists extracted from cells whale DNA and prosecutorial genome of the victims of the disaster.
It turned out that the genome of whales from the beach Opapa was not similar in structure to DNA of other cetaceans of the family of beaked whales belong apatitovye and ramtubai whales. This fact allowed Konstantin and her colleagues suggest that the mother and her child are actually apatitovyj whales.
This assumption is confirmed by the fact that the genome data whales and fragments of DNA extracted from jaws and other bones Mesoplodon traversii found over the last 140 years, the same 99%.
Convinced of the uniqueness of whales from the beach Opapa, scientists have compiled a list of features that distinguish females and cubs Mesoplodon traversii from Renatovich gray whales. According to them, "the elusive" whales are different from their conventional cousins relatively large and noticeable echolocation "melon"and the dark colour of the nose and white spots on different parts of the body.
The authors recovered the remains of Mesoplodon traversii buried on the beach, and taken them down into Oakland national Museum for further study. Scientists believe that new information on the anatomy and appearance "elusive" whales will help new Zealand environmentalists and their volunteer assistants to distinguish them from other beaked whales, and inform the oceanographers about the discovery.
"It is possible that Mesoplodon traversii are among the whales in the open ocean. These animals live and die right into ocean waters, and rarely approach the shores of the land. New Zealand surrounded by the vast ocean waters and hides many sea creatures, yet unknown", says Konstantin.
Further reading: Oceanographers have discovered a rare apatitovogo China New Zealand | RIA Novosti
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