Animals / Mammal Facts / Cetacea - Marine Mammals / Orca - Type D, the Southern Ocean Recluse

Orca - Type D, the Southern Ocean Recluse


bulbous head orca

 

You'd think that it would be pretty hard for a whale to hide from anyone, but when you think of just how vast and relatively unexplored the oceans of the world are, this animal's story makes a lot more sense. You see, a recent study of the waters of Chilean Antarctica is speculating that the rare and very different killer whales spotted in the sea are actually a previously undocumented species. As early as 2005, fisherman and tourists were reporting having seen orcas described as "different" and having "an incredibly distinctive look". Phillip Morin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that when compared with other types of orcas or "killer whales" this group is distinct with its very small white patches around the eyes and bulbous forehead. They also have a dorsal fin that is curved backwards. It is thought that these whales are mostly mostly fish-eaters as that is all that they have been observed eating.

 

 

killer whales types

 

type d orca

 

It has since been concluded that these whales are "type d" orcas, which have never been found alive. There was only specimen that washed up in New Zealand in 1955, but it was considered to have been a deformed "normal" species of orca until its descendents were spotted. The skeleton of that specimen is still hanging around New Zealand 60 years later. Now biologists hope to study a live specimen up close, but have thus far had no luck, as the killer whale inhabits some of the most dangerous waters in the world. However, DNA evidence culled from the New Zealand specimen suggests that "type d" whales diverged from the common species over 400,000 years ago! That's a long time to go undiscovered, way to stay hidden whales!

 

type d pod

 

 

 

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