For the first time ever, a team of researchers in Madagascar have filmed the rare and elusive Omura’s whale (also known as the dwarf fin whale). Led by Salvatore Cerchio of the New England Aquarium and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the researchers positively identified the whale, which made the encounter the first confirmed sighting of this unusual baleen whale.
First described by Japanese scientists in 2003, Omura’s whale is a rather recent discovery and very little is known about its diet, behavior, and population numbers. To add to that, they are not the easiest whale to identify, especially from a boat.
To the untrained eye, they are no different from very fin whales, Bryde’s whales, and other ocean-going rorquals. Even biologists studying dead Omura’s whales during expeditions in the 1970s failed to differentiate them from Bryde’s whales.
Makes you wonder what other mysterious species that have yet to be recognized.
Whales aren’t exactly small animals, so after so many centuries of whaling worldwide, it’s amazing that Omura’s whale wasn’t positively identified as a new species until the 21st Century.
To watch the full video capture of Omura’s whale (and view some amazing images), check out the video below.