One Amazing Thing: A New Species of Killer Whale

A “new” species of killer whale was discovered in January off the southern coast of Chile by marine mammal scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  The so-called Type D killer whales were found once before, in 1955, when a few of them washed up on the shores of New Zealand – but scientists then believed those were just a genetic aberration.  This type of whale has been a mystery until now because it lives far offshore in the stormy waters just above Antarctica.  According to The New York Times, Bob Pitman, the NOAA scientist who found it had been on a 14-year quest to prove it existed, and amazingly was able to obtain three eraser-size skin samples that will provide definitive evidence that this is indeed a species that has not previously been documented.  It was quite a feat to find the whales in an isolated area off the tip of Chile and then to collect the DNA samples in “roiling” seas.  But what a find — the largest previously undiscovered creature on the planet!

Graphic: The New York Times

Up Next

Climate Migration is Happening Underwater, Too

Climate Migration is Happening Underwater, Too

by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer The ocean is warming, and marine life is moving to survive. Tropical waters around the equator were the richest with species, but it’s now too hot for some of them to survive, according to a new study. Looking at 48,661 marine species, the study found marine life drops off […]

Continue Reading 396 words

One Cool Thing: A “Stampede” of Dolphins!

I (Monica) am feeling a bit of ocean optimism these days, and videos like this are definitely fueling it.  I have actually been whale watching with the California company that posted this video from a March 19th trip, but we did not observe anything quite like this! It’s a pretty rare occurrence to see thousands […]

Continue Reading 111 words
Oh Baby, Baby! 17 Right Whale Calves Have Been Born This Year

Oh Baby, Baby! 17 Right Whale Calves Have Been Born This Year

We will fully admit to being whale crazy!  And we have been watching the North Atlantic Right Whale population over the last few years of its decline to only about 360 remaining. Which is why this good news is so, well, great! Calving season just ended and it appears that there have been 18 births […]

Continue Reading 145 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.