New Dolphin Species Found in Australia

Creature was 'right under our noses': researcher
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 16, 2011 1:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – For just the fourth time in more than a century, researchers have identified a new species of dolphin—and the Aussie scientists didn’t have to look far. Two dolphin populations in Australia, numbering about 150 in total, were once believed to be bottlenose dolphins; turns out they’re genetically different from any other species, CNN and Radio Australia report. “This animal has been living right under our noses for so many years,” says one of the researchers.

The species’ new Latin name is Tersiops Australis, while its common name is the Burrunan dolphin, from an Aboriginal word similar in meaning to “porpoise.” The researchers isolated the Burrunan species by examining skull structures and DNA. With so few of the creatures known to exist, “it would be a shame to discover something and then lose it,” the researcher says. “So we really are working hard to try and protect and conserve these animals.” (Read more dolphin stories.)

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