Whale wanted: alive.

Author:Parkinson, Jack
Position::Research Digest - Brief article
 
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ALASKA In the summer of 2014, Phillip Morin didn't expect a dead whale on a beach in St. George, Alaska, to propel him on an adventure to describe a new species. But that's exactly what happened after a local teacher told him about it.

Morin, a molecular geneticist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Southwest Fisheries Science Center, initially thought the carcass was a Baird's beaked whale, which are fairly common in the area and sometimes wash in, dead, with the tide.

But a few details about the carcass, such as the colouration and position of the dorsal fin, didn't match any known description of a Baird's beaked whale.

Morin conducted research around the globe to determine what species the whale was, including examining more than 50 DNA samples from NOAA databanks. He even examined a skeleton...

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