The conservation organisation Sea Shepherd said that its expedition off the west coast of Mexico may have discovered a hitherto unknown species of beaked whale.
The zoological expedition, which probably discovered the new species, took place in autumn 2020. The researchers sailed to the San Benito Islands to gather information about one already known whale species and, along the way, they came across a group of three individuals that swam to the surface to catch their breath.
The whales were photographed and their voices recorded. Later, analysis of this data revealed that the teeth structure of these individuals is not similar to that of other species, and the sounds they make are also unique.
In the near future, scientists will analyse water samples taken at the whale encounter site to isolate their DNA. This will be necessary to officially recognise the discovery of the new species.
Beaked whales differ from the other families in that they feed and spend much of their time at great depths. This makes them difficult to observe and study.
Currently, 23 species of beaked whales are known.