ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A team of international scientists has confirmed a new whale species in the northern Pacific Ocean.
The black beaked whale grows to about 24 feet long. It once was thought to be a dwarf variety of Baird’s beaked whales, but genetic testing has shown the animal is a unique species.
Research molecular biologist Phillip Morin and other authors conducted tests on 178 beaked whale specimens from around the Pacific Rim.
Their research was published this week in the scientific journal Marine Mammal Science.
Morin says large beaked whales are hard to study because they dive for up to 90 minutes at a time into deep water hunting for squid.
He says they spend little time on the surface, rarely breach and travel in small numbers.