World's Rarest Large Mammal Finally Photographed
Until a new report in Cell Biology today, evidence for the spade-toothed whale (Mesoplodon traversii) came from a partial jaw found on Pitt Island, New Zealand in 1872, the upper of a skull was found in the 1950s on White Island, New Zealand and a partial upper skull was found on Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile in 1986.
In 2010, a 5.3 meter long female and a 3.5 meter long calf were found beached on Opape Beach, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand but were photographed, misidentified and buried. However, a genetic analysis correctly identified the whales. Kirsten Thompson, C. Scott Baker, Selina Patel, Craig Millar and Rochelle Constantine all from the University of Auckland conducted the research along with Anton van Helden from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarew.
As can be seen in the above diagram, the creature has wide and long (up to nine inches) teeth. The purpose of the teeth is unknown as the species has never been seen alive. it’s believed to be a deep-diving whale that lives off of squid and small fish. It is a type of beaked whale. Other beaked whales are mysterious creatures that spend little time on the surface and are seldom seen my humans. Below is one of the 2010 photographs taken of the mother. Above is a photo taken of the mother whale.
by Todd Miller
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