New Species Of River Dolphin DiscoveredBy: Ellisha Rader Mannering - January 28, 2014
A new species of river dolphin has been found in the Brazilian rainforest. The recent dolphin discovery is the first in over 100 years. The new dolphin species was named Inia araguaiaensis and it was discovered in Araguaia River. The Inia araguaiaensis is the third dolphin species to be discovered in the Amazon.
“It was an unexpected discovery that shows just how incipient our knowledge is of the region’s biodiversity,” said Tomas Hrbek, a biologist at the Federal University of Amazonas. “River dolphins are among the rarest and most endangered of all vertebrates, so discovering a new species is something that is very rare and exciting,” he continued.
The new dolphin species is a little strange looking, with a long beak full of sharp teeth. The beak allows the dolphins to hunt for food under rocks and submerged trees that may be at the bottom of the river. It is perfectly shaped to snatch up fish and other small aquatic creatures.
River dolphins are rarely seen and 3 out of the 5 known species are considered endangered. The river dolphins have become endangered because they often get tangled in fishing nets or are struck by boats in the river. Many fishermen will kill river dolphins to prevent them from eating the same fish they are trying to catch.
The new species is closely related to the pink river dolphin, which is believed to be the smartest species. They are believed to be high up on the river food chain and will eat almost anything.
It is not known how many of the new dolphin species exist. Scientists plan to study the new dolphins to learn more about them and hopefully develop new ways to protect this species and other river dolphins from extinction.
What do you think about the new dolphin species?
Image via Wikimedia Commons.