Tiny group of whales in Gulf of Mexico is a new species

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that the whale peviously known as the Bryde’s whale is actually a new whale species living in the Gulf of Mexico. (via National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The tiny group of endangered whales that make the Gulf of Mexico their home turns out to be a previously unknown species.

The best count is that there are about 33 of the long, slender filter feeders – and definitely fewer than 100 of these whales, now called Rice’s whales. They’re listed as endangered in the U.S. and as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

They were classified as a Bryde’s (pronounced BROO-duhs) whale subspecies, but many scientists suspected they were something different. An expert who didn’t work on the paper calls it very exciting.

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