World's rarest whale spied in New Zealand
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The world's rarest whale - previously known only through bones - has been spotted in New Zealand where a mother and her male calf were examined, Current Biology reports.
The spade-toothed whale, or Mesoplodon traversii, previously had not been seen in the flesh, was known only from bone samples and it was not clear if the species was extinct or not.
"This is the first time this species - a whale over five meters in length - has ever been seen as a complete specimen, and we were lucky enough to find two of them," said Dr Rochelle Constantine of the University of Auckland.
"Up until now, all we have known about the spade-toothed beaked whale was from three partial skulls collected from New Zealand and Chile over a 140-year period. It is remarkable that we know almost nothing about such a large mammal."