A new species of beaked whale has been discovered in the northern Pacific Ocean, close to Japan. The confirmation comes after several sightings of the mysterious creature, which sports a porpoise-like beak.
The discovery, made by a team of researchers from the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), was published in the journal Marine Mammal Science.
Phillip Morin, the head of the team that made the discovery told The Guardian:
“Clearly this species is very rare and reminds us how much we have to learn about the ocean and even some of its largest inhabitants,”
According to the researcher, whales are hard to observe since they barely come to the surface. The newfound whale will now receive a formal name, and Japanese researchers are already working on it. The whale's particular peculiarities will also be defined.
A study conducted by researchers in Japan in 2013 set off the search for the whale after it claimed that three washed up whale specimens in Hokkaido might belong to a yet unknown specie.
Morin told US media:
"There have been a lot of people out there surveying whales for a long time and never come across this in scientific research, -- So it is a huge thing to discover this; it's kind of baffling that we haven't seen it before."