Friday, 15 March 2019

Mystery killer whales spotted by scientists off coast of Chile 'likely to be new species'


Enigmatic orcas 'could be the largest undescribed animal left on the planet', say marine researchers
A killer whale that could be a new species is to be studied by scientists for the first time after it was seen off the coast of southern Chile.
A team of international researchers have collected genetic samples from a group of orcas roaming the sub-Antarctic waters off the tip of South America.
For decades, fishermen and tourists had returned with tales and even photos of killer whales in the region that look distinctly different from others. But the enigmatic marine mammals had eluded scientists until now.
The team encountered the killer whales – known only as “Type D” – while anchored off Cape Horn for a week waiting for storms to pass in January.
Scientists collected three biopsy samples from the pod, and biologists from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are now conducting laboratory tests that will establish if the orcas are a new species.

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