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Omura's Whale
Scientific Name:
Balaenoptera omurai
Family Name:
HOME >> WATER SPECIES >> WHALES >> Omura's Whale

Omura's Whale

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Omura's Whale Description
  The discovery of a new species of baleen whale - Balaenoptera omurai, by the National Research Institute of Fisheries Science in Japan, has once again illustrated the point that taxonomists, zoologists and biologists across the world still have much to learn.

The identification of this species using DNA continues a recent trend in the genetic identification of new cetacean species. The more traditional methods of identification using morphometric evaluation of both internal (osteological) and external characteristics, are difficult to employ when the carcass being examined is either incomplete or has been subject to damage.

The discovery of new species of terrestrial mammals is rare, but work undertaken in Southeast Asia over the past 15 years has yielded several previously unknown to science. The findings of the Japanese team strengthen the argument that there may still be several new species of marine mammals awaiting discovery. In addition, the importance of large, global collections of marine mammals held by institutions like the Natural History Museum, cannot be understated. Large-scale collecting in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries could mean that new and exciting discoveries may be made through closer examination of specimens already held in museums around the world.

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