[science]New species of dolphin found in Australia


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L3thal
SYDNEY - Australian researchers have identified a new species of dolphin which was once thought to have been the same as an extremely rare mammal predominantly found in Asian coastal waters and rivers.

The Australian Snubfin Dolphin has been declared a separate species to the Irrawaddy dolphins of Southeast Asia, one of the rarest sea mammals on the planet, researchers at James Cook University and the Museum of Tropical Queensland said on Tuesday.

Researcher Isabel Beasley said the newly identified Australian Snubfin Dolphins, or Orcaella heinsohni, live in shallow waters off northern Australia and possibly in neighbouring Papua New Guinea.

Beasley said it was impossible to estimate the population of these dolphins because not enough was known about them, but thought one group of about 200 of the dolphins lived off Townsville in the far north of Australia's Queensland state.

"It means that Australia now has an endemic species living in its waters and it's a higher conservation priority now," Beasley told Reuters by telephone.

Australian Snubfins are close relations of the highly endangered Irrawaddy, or Orcaella brevirostris.

Conservation group WWF International estimates there are fewer than 1,000 of the small, migratory and poor-sighted Irrawaddy left in the shallow, murky coastal waters of countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Because the new Australian species also lives in shallow waters, Beasley fears they face the same threats as Irrawaddy.

"Unfortunately, because they live in these environments, they are susceptible to many human threats including accidental catch in shark and fishing nets as well as the effects of coastal development," she said.

The Australian scientists said they hoped publication of their findings in the Marine Mammal Science journal would open the way for more research into the little-known new species.

"Even though Australia is a developed country with more resources than Asian countries, more is known about the Mekong River dolphin population in Cambodia than the Australian species," said Peter Arnold of the Museum of Tropical Queensland.

Beasley began to investigate after she noticed variations in size and colour between the Asian and Australian dolphins. The Australian Snubfins were found to have three colours on their bodies ranging from dark brown to white compared with uniformly slate grey of the Irrawaddy.

Beasley and Arnold said they identified the new species by examining the skulls and external measurements and observing the dolphins in seven countries.

A genetic study undertaken with the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California confirmed their suspicions.

"There are clear differences between the two populations that had not been previously recognised and these were confirmed by the studies on DNA," Beasley said.

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Le_gin

cool :)

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vincent

050705_newdolphin_hlrg_1030a.hlarge.jpg

The Australian snubfin dolphin is the first new dolphin species to be identified in 30 years.
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sin-ergy
cool :)

586167884[/snapback]

cute :happy:

that dolphin looks kinda dead. what's the poking stick for? o_O

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Rob2687

Looks like a cross between the regular dolphin and a beluga.

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Brodel

You mean it's not a Jewphin?

901-072.jpg

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amr_01
cute  :happy:

that dolphin looks kinda dead.  what's the poking stick for? o_O

586167895[/snapback]

i'm pretty sure the stick is used to give an idea of size.

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+vlsi0n
cute  :happy:

that dolphin looks kinda dead.  what's the poking stick for? o_O

586167895[/snapback]

what do you think the poking stick is for... poking! :pinch: :rofl:

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ryan420

hahahaaha the jewphin episode is one of the most outrageous episodes of southpark ahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

i hate dolphins thow they are trying to take over the earth ...MIND THE WARNINGS AHHHHHHHHHHHH :ninja: :pinch:

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GhostShell

That's cool but it looks kind of dead. :huh:

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Fred Derf
There is only one thread on this topic.  "[science]" was added by a mod to make the topic more specific.  Please double check what's going on before making accusations :no:

586167958[/snapback]

Hey, unless I have a memory disorder, I've gotten at least one other mod adding the [science] tags...

[Thread Cleaned of Duplicate Thread Accusations]

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