New dolphin species discovered

2011-09-15 09:32

Melbourne - Researchers in Australia have discovered that dolphin colonies living around Melbourne are a species unlike any other in the world, they revealed on Thursday.

The dolphins that frolic in Port Phillip Bay and the Gippsland Lakes, numbering around 150, were originally thought to be one of the two recognised bottlenose species.

But Monash University PhD researcher Kate Charlton-Robb found they were different by comparing skulls, DNA and physical traits with specimens dating back to the early 1900s.

She has named them Tursiops australis, although they will commonly be known as the Burrunan dolphin, an Aboriginal name meaning large sea fish of the porpoise kind.

"This is an incredibly fascinating discovery as there have only been three new dolphin species formally described and recognised since the late 1800s," Charlton-Robb said of her research, published in the PLoS One journal.

"What makes this even more exciting is this dolphin species has been living right under our noses, with only two known resident populations living in Port Phillip Bay and the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria state."

The research relied in part on the analysis of dolphin skulls collected and maintained by museums over the last century, particularly holdings at Museum Victoria.

  • Flamewulf - 2011-09-15 09:48


  • Jan die Boom - 2011-09-15 11:13

    Ok cool... So what time does the rugby start...

  • trevb - 2011-09-15 11:21

    just dont let the japanese population in australia find out

      handbanana - 2011-09-15 14:24

      I doubt any of the Japanese people living in Australia eats dolphin meat as most Japanese people living in major metropolitan areas in Japan doesn't even know about dolphin meat being available for consumption. Norway is another story though... They've all been having it, um nom nom nom!

  • aryantoo - 2011-09-15 12:28

    Good news for the yellow bastards

      daaivark - 2011-09-15 13:21

      trev and aryantoo: Silly, uncalled for remarks. There is quite a bit of ocean between Aus and Japan, and I think it is generally understood that not all Japanese people support the slaughter of dolphins. For instance, in recent times there have been instances of cannibalism in Europe, notably Germany, Mr Aryan. So would you go around dissing all Germans as cannibals? I don't think so. Perspective...... A useful thing to have.

      NuttyZA - 2011-09-15 13:57

      I think the difference is tho, daaivark, is that it is not the German governments policy to eat other ppl... The Japanese government still support whaling!

      daaivark - 2011-09-15 14:12

      Sure, but haven't you noticed, there's a difference between whales and dolphins. The one is a little larger. As far as I know dolphin slaughter is NOT general practice in Japan. I might be wrong.

      ~daisy_d~ - 2011-09-15 14:28

      @ daaivark: they slaughter both. next time you pick up a tin of tuna, make sure it says it's dolphin friendly :) (there's a little icon on the tin)

      handbanana - 2011-09-15 14:31

      Actually daaivark, in some parts of Japan (Taiji for instance) dolphin consumption has been a way of life for hundreds of years but it is not common practice all over Japan, most Japanese don't even know what goes on in Taiji.

      daaivark - 2011-09-15 14:40

      handbanana, From my comment ("not all Japanese support the slaughter...." I think you will see that I do concede that some do. My objection, as always, is about the gross generalisations people come up with.

  • aryantoo - 2011-09-15 16:18

    Hi daaivark Fair comment.The japanese goverment issues permits for hunting or killing dolphins.Is the german goverment issuing permits for cannibalism ?

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