November 2012. Previously only known from a few fragments of jaw bone, the world's rarest whale, the spade-toothed beaked whale, has been sighted for the first time according to scientists from The University of Auckland.
"This is the first time a spade-toothed beaked whale has been seen as a complete specimen, and we were lucky enough to find two of them. It's incredible to think that, until recently, such a large animal was concealed in the South Pacific Ocean and shows how little we know about ocean biodiversity." says lead scientist Dr Rochelle Constantine.
In a study published in Current Biology, the scientists used DNA evidence to prove that a mother whale and her male calf, which stranded in New Zealand in late 2010, were the first animals of their kind ever seen. Since the two animals are the only intact members of their species sighted, the spade-toothed beaked whale is the world's rarest whale.
Previous evidence was just a few fragments of bone
Until now the only evidence for the species' existence came from three skull and jaw fragments found around New Zealand and Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile.
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