Researchers have discovered a new species of dolphin in Australia, reports ABC News.
Analysis of bottlenose dolphins in Port Philip and the Gippsland Lakes in Southeastern Australia revealed them to be declared a new species.
“This is an incredibly fascinating discovery as there have only been three new dolphin species formally described and recognised since the late 1800s,” ,” said Kate Charlton-Robb, a biologist at Monash University who published the findings in the latest issue of PLoS ONE.
Burrunan dolphin (Tursiops australis). Picture courtesy of Monash University.
“What makes this even more exciting is this dolphin species has been living right under our noses, with only two known resident populations living in Port Phillip Bay and the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria.”
The newly identified dolphin has been named the Burrunan dolphin after “an Australian aboriginal name given to dolphins in the Boonwurrung, Woiwurrung and Taungurung languages, meaning ‘large sea fish of the porpoise kind.'” Its scientific name is Tursiops australis.
CITATION: Charlton-Robb K, Gershwin L-a, Thompson R, Austin J, Owen K, et al. (2011) A New Dolphin Species, the Burrunan Dolphin Tursiops australis sp. nov., Endemic to Southern Australian Coastal Waters. PLoS ONE 6(9): e24047. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024047