26 October 2011
Posted in NatureWorks
Dolphins are one of the world’s most beloved animals, and now we are introduced to a new species discovered in Australia called Burrunan dolphins. The strangest thing about this discovery is that these dolphins were found in Melbourne, the second most populated city of Australia. After DNA tests were done on these bottlenose dolphin species, scientists were so surprise at the results that they ran the test again.
To their shock, the Burrunan dolphins were genetically very different from the two recognized bottlenose dolphin species. The Burrunan dolphins not only look very different from the other bottlenose species, but they also have a more curved dorsal fin, a stubbier beak, and a unique “tricoloration”- including dark gray, mid gray, and white.
How did researchers miss this species of dolphins for so long? In 1915, the Burrunan dolphins were almost discovered, but scientist concluded that the differences between the common bottlenose dolphins were due to one being a male and the other a female. As a result of new technology and studies, researchers today were able to provide evidence making a strong case for this new species.
These species are now listed as endangered because there were very few Burrunan dolphins found, approximately 100. Kate Charlton-Robb, a marine biologist at Australia’s Monash University says "Given the small size of the population, it’s really crucial that we make an effort to protect them." Hopefully these beautiful new species of dolphins will be around for a while with the efforts of protecting them.