30 Sep '14, 2pm

50 whales may be a new (and very endangered) species

50 whales may be a new (and very endangered) species

About 50 mysterious baleen whales live in an underwater canyon off the Florida Panhandle, making them the only resident baleen whales, aka great whales, in the Gulf of Mexico. Several other baleen species visit the Gulf, but these 50 leviathans are the only ones known to live there year-round. They've long been classified as Bryde's whales — pronounced Brooda's , thanks to 19th-century Norwegian whaler Johan Bryde. Bryde's whales are found in warm seas around the world, growing up to 55 feet long and 90,000 pounds as they feast on plankton, crustaceans and small fish. But new genetic testing suggests the 50 Gulf whales might be a distinct subspecies of Bryde's — or a new species altogether. If so, they would be "the most endangered species of whale on the planet," says Michael Jasny, director of the marine mammal program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), whi...

Full article: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/50-whales-...

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