The scientists believe they discovered a mythical whale from Japan. The adventure started with a corpse washed up on St. George Island, Alaska.
The Japanese Mythical Whale
In the 1940s, the Japanese whalers started to speak about a strange animal, small and dark, similar to Baird’s beaked whale. They named the mammal karasu and stated it could be seen at the Namuro Strait during the spring.
While the Japanese researchers looked into the matter but did not find any specimen of this curious species, the body showing up in Alaska may be the first real proof that the animal exists, and it’s not just a legend.
At first, the scientists that discovered the corpse thought they were dealing with a Baird whale. However, the head shape, the dorsal fin, and the coloration were entirely different.
The unusual exemplar caught the attention of Phillip Morin from the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in California. As he knew about the karasu, the researcher compared the samples with what was already known on the mythical whale.
After further analysis, the researchers came to the conclusion that the animal was indeed a new species. In order to make it clear, they performed a DNA comparison with each species of beaked whales in the world. The result was that the new specimen was indeed completely different from all the other ones.
As another proof of its origins, the DNA of the whale found in Alaska was similar to the one of Arnoux’s beaked whale which lives in the South Pacific, in an area close to where the Japanese spotted the karasu.
Conservation of the Species
There is not much information on the new species of whale, other than the legends surrounding the karasu and the little data gathered from the Alaska body. The scars from the corpse may suggest that the animals migrate to tropical waters, where they can be a prey for sharks.
The scientists are excited by the fact that there are still discoveries to be made in our time when our planet seems to have been stripped out of mystery by a large number of scientists keeping an eye on everything that moves.
The discovery is more intriguing as it is connected to a large mammal, and the researchers ask themselves what could have been the odds of not finding it earlier.
The conservation experts believe that finding such a rare new species of whales may be a sign that the efforts to protect whales must be increased, to make sure that the animal will be able to survive. This may be quite an impossible task, considering that no karasu has ever been seen alive.
Image Source: Wikipedia