[MARMAM] Spade-toothed beaked whale paper - Current Biology

Rochelle Constantine r.constantine at auckland.ac.nz
Wed Nov 7 09:26:35 PST 2012

Hi all

We have recently published a paper on the spade-toothed beaked whale which might be of interest to the marine mammal community. It is a collaborative effort on behalf of all authors, the New Zealand Department of Conservation staff who collect samples from stranded cetaceans reported by the public and local Maori.

Thompson K., Baker C.S., van Helden A., Patel S., Millar C. & Constantine R. 2012. The worlds rarest whale. Current Biology 22(21):R905-906

The vast expanses of the South Pacific Ocean have, until recently, concealed the identity of the world’s rarest whale, the spade-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon traversii). Based on the scarcity of records and the total absence of previous sightings, this species is the least known species of whale and one of the world’s rarest living mammals. Two individuals of this species, previously known from only two skull fragments and a mandible, were recently discovered beachcast in New Zealand. Although initially misidentified, we have used DNA analysis to reveal their true identity. We provide the first morphological description and images of this enigmatic species. This study highlights the importance of DNA typing and reference collections for the identification of rare species.

If you cannot access this paper online please contact me and I will be happy to forward you a copy.

r.constantine at auckland.ac.nz<mailto:r.constantine at auckland.ac.nz>

Rochelle (on behalf of the co-authors)

Rochelle Constantine PhD
School of Biological Sciences
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
New Zealand
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