CHINA Chinese research team discovers mysterious beaked whale in South China Sea

CHINA

Chinese research team discovers mysterious beaked whale in South China Sea

People's Daily app

23:34, December 25, 2020

A research team from the institute of deep oceanology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing has published a paper in the journal Integrative Zoology.

The paper “First live sighting of Deraniyagala's beaked whale (Mesoplodon hotaula Deraniyagala, 1963) or ginkgo-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon gingkodens Nishiwaki & Kamiya, 1958) in the western Pacific (South China Sea) with preliminary data on coloration, natural markings and surfacing patterns” for the first time describes the body color patterns, scar patterns and surface behavior of mysterious beaked whales.

From April to May 2019, the research team carried out a deep-diving research mission in the northern waters of South China Sea and witnessed three mysterious beaked whales. They were preliminarily believed to be ginkgo-toothed beaked whales or Deraniyagala’s beaked whales.

Neither the ginkgo-toothed beaked whale nor the Deraniyagala’s beaked whale has ever been seen alive at sea before. The understanding of these animals came from knowledge of a few stranded and dead individuals. The team’s discovery is the world’s first clear sighting of a living individual of the ginkgo-toothed beaked whales or the Deraniyagala’s beaked whales at sea.

The whales share similar colors and patterns

The whales in the two pictures share similar colors and patterns.

The front part of ind#1 taken under different lighting conditions. The photos show that there are few typical white healed scars in the healed dharma shark bite marks (see the white part in the left), and most of the healed scars are the same color as the whale’s skin. (see the small round bumps in the right)

(Compiled by Liu Kechen)

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