Two years ago, a female spade-toothed beaked whale and its offspring was discovered aground near the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand.
Recently, DNA tests have irrefutably identified the beaked whale as the world's rarest specie that no one actually saw alive. Scientists now have evidence that the species still exist with the hopes that their discovery can give insights on the species and ocean ecosystems.
Researchers from New Zealand and the United States talked about their discovery on the journal Current Biology saying that "For the first time we have a description of the world's rarest and perhaps most enigmatic marine mammal."
Scientists Rochelle Constantine and Kirsten Thompson conducted routine tests on samples for six months at the University of Auckland. When the results confirmed the beached whales are rare species, Constantine and Thompson were stunned. "This is good reminder of how large the oceans are and of how little we know about them," Constantine said. She also claimed that they tested again about 160 samples. However, they no longer found any other crucial detail that has been missed about the discovery.
Ewan Fordyce, a geology professor specializing in the evolution of whales at the University of Otago, was amazed about the recent discovery. "This is pretty fantastic. There would be few, if any, mammalian species in the world that would be rarer. And we know much more about panda bears and other iconic, rare animals," Fordyce said. Also, Fordyce suggested that using the skeletons of the rare whales in reconstructing their muscles and tissues can possibly identify more about how these species survive and why they are so isolated.