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article imageNew type of killer whale discovered

By Tim Sandle     Jun 23, 2013 in Environment
Scientists have categorized a new type of killer whale, seen in the wild for the first time. A clue about the mammal was traced back to a skeleton found in 1955.
A new type of killer whale has been discovered off the coast of New Zealand. The whale has been classified as Orcinus orca Type D. The killer whale is characterized by a very small white eye-patch and bulbous forehead. Although it is a ‘new find’, in terms of a living pieces, it transpires that the living killer whale relates to the body of the same species found in 1955.
A killer whale is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family. Killer whales are found in all oceans, from the frigid Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas. There are now, with the new discovery, known to be four types. The most common is Type A. The Type A looks like a "typical" killer whale, a large, black and white form with a medium-sized white eye patch.
In 1955, a number of unusual-looking killer whales were stranded on a New Zealand beach and a skeleton was saved in a museum in Wellington. This year a scientist called Andrew Foote (University of Copenhagen) extracted DNA from dried tissue and tooth fragments from the New Zealand skeleton. By comparing the skeleton and the new find, scientists are convinced that the whale is a new species.
The new find has been published in the journal Polar Biology.
More about Killer whale, Orca, New species, Seas
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