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back to article EXTREMELY RARE never-seen-alive WHALES found (briefly) alive

A pair of rare whales that boffins thought might be extinct has washed up on a New Zealand beach. A Grays beaked whale A Grays beaked, not a spade-toothed beaked, whale Marine biologists previously only knew the spade-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon traversii) from a few old bones: but then, not one but two of the rare …

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Amazing

A large mammal like that, obviously alive with a breeding population, and never seen alive before. It really says a lot about how urgently we need to explore the oceans ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Amazing

@Bumpy cat.

Congrats on getting a down vote for a perfectly valid point. My hats of to you good sir / ma'am

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Joke

Re: Amazing

"It really says a lot about how urgently we need to explore the oceans ..."

That might not really be the best thing... I mean; the sooner we find out what cool and interesting and valuable things are there that we've missed, the sooner we'll murder them all!

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Re: Amazing

Yeah, I saw the down vote and read my post word by word, trying to work out what could possibly have been worth the effort of clicking the thumbs down.

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Holmes

Re: Amazing

As it apparently takes a DNA test to tell it apart from its more common cousin, how can they be sure they've not been seen alive before? How many "Gray's beaked whales" do they run DNA tests on to find out whether they really are Gray's?

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Re: Amazing

> trying to work out what could possibly have been worth the

> effort of clicking the thumbs down.

How about your suggestion that humans ought to go and interfere with pristine environments? Is your "thirst for knowledge" more important than the survival of these ecosystems?

Presumably you imagine that it's possible to explore without destroying. History doesn't support that idea.

(No, it wasn't me that downvoted you.)

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Random downvotes

I've had problems in the past - if you upvote a comment and then use the spacebar intending to page down through the comments, it acts as a downvote. I think that you can only vote once, so your previous upvote is removed. I now conscientiously return and upvote the comment again. This behaviour happens in both IE9 and Chrome.

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Re: Amazing

The trouble is exploring the oceans seems to be done with a net.

If you find it someone will eat it or process it long before you can get it protected.

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Headmaster

Re: Amazing

@Phil Endecott,

How about your suggestion that humans ought to go and interfere with pristine environments? Is your "thirst for knowledge" more important than the survival of these ecosystems?

Bumpy Cat suggested no such thing -- only suggesting we need to explore, which can and has (albeit not as often as one would like) been done without significant interference to the environment.

The concept of interference was your inference, not Bumpy Cat's implication.

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Re: Amazing

you fools you are meddling with powers beyond your comprehension! the oceans! vast bodies of water! your minds...so small.

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Re: Amazing

Are you nuts?! The Mega Shark, Crocosaurus, Giant Octopus, Mega Pirhana, Frankenfish and Sharktopus will be clued in to our existence and KILL us all!!!!!

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Re: Amazing

"How about your suggestion that humans ought to go and interfere with pristine environments? Is your "thirst for knowledge" more important than the survival of these ecosystems?"

Did you think for 2 seconds that we need to understand the ecosystem in order to protect it?

eg are their food sources being overfished for but one example? Hard to know that and protect them if we don't know what they eat.

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Re: Amazing

I was struck by the need to DNA test in order to distinguish between these two species. I have always used the more reliable taste test. Usually one tast of the Gray's beacked whale is enough and we chuck it out and settle in to finish of the entire spade-toothed beaked one.

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Re: Amazing

If you use an iPad it is easy to down vote accidentally and not easy to unvote, has happened to me a few times.

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Devil

careful now...

We must be cautious in marine exploration, after all in R'lyeh beneath the see dead Cthulhu lies dreaming and we don't want to wake it up!

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Headmaster

Re: Amazing

NomNomNom, I so hope that's an Eco the Dolphin reference, but I expect it's not. :P

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Stop

Amazing how useless "Whaling Research" is

"Scientists are unsure why a whale like this hasn't been spotted before."

Especially with Japan still hunting (sorry, researching) whales, killing loads of them in the name of "science". Just shows that this "research" is totally useless and therefore should be stopped.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Amazing how useless "Whaling Research" is

I thought they were researching whether whale meat was better stir fried with teri-yaki sauce, or made into sushi

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Amazing how useless "Whaling Research" is

sushi, stir fried the meat gets too tough.

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Flame

Re: Amazing how useless "Whaling Research" is

Yes, always amazed at the amounts of 'research' Japan still has to do by chopping up dead whales.

Plus when are they going to finally publish the results of this research so they can stop? Surely they have chopped enough up already?

Doesn't say a lot for Japanese scientists.

Or is there some other reason....hmmmmmmmmmmmm

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Joke

Re: Amazing how useless "Whaling Research" is

"Doesn't say a lot for Japanese scientists."

All the smart ones are working on stuff to kill Godzilla.....

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FAIL

Hang on....

"The two whales were discovered in 2010 when they live-stranded and then died on Opape Beach."

What's the date again? Oh yeah it's November 2012.

WHY IS THIS NEWS? This happened 2 years ago, why are you reporting it now like it just happened?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hang on....

2 years for a DNA test is a long time. Its a lot faster on Jeremy Kyle.

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Re: Hang on....

Because they just got DNA confirmation.

2 years does seem absurd though.

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Re: Hang on....

Multiple DNA tests because they wanted to be really sure.

It's still not CSI: Miami speed though.

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Boffin

Re: Hang on....

Probably lots of DNA tests: first one to check that it's the expected Gray's beaked whale. That comes back negative. That's probably an error, run a couple more. Still negative. Blimey! Dig out some DNA sequences from other things it could be. None of them match. Double blimey! Go fossicking through the archives to see anything it could be - find a likely-looking thing, almost never seen. Now dig out a DNA sequence from that specimen (possibly have to run one first if nobody has already done that research). Huzzah! a match! Now run it a few more times before shooting off mouth in public...and there's your two years (especially if you had to ask your PHB for the funding to pursue it)

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Anonymous Coward

Did someone say CSI?

"It took them two years to confirm the DNA match."

"Sounds like a..." *puts on sun glasses* "whale of a problem."

YEEEAAAHHH

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Headmaster

Re: Hang on....

"Why is this news?" I think you'll find that the _news_ is actually the publication of a report in the biology journal, which presumably was noticed by Parnell or brought to his attention recently. You might not realise just how long it takes to publish peer-reviewed papers.

What I do not understand is how the NZ scientists managed to compare the DNA with that of the 'spade-toothed beaked' variety, when one of these has never been see alive previously - was there sufficient viable DNA in the specimen bones that were stored away?

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"...that boffins thought might be extinct..."

Since 2010 they probably are.

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Re: "...that boffins thought might be extinct..."

Jolly bad luck sir. It seems we are adding to our inventory of species rather more than we know to be losing.

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Re: "...that boffins thought might be extinct..."

"Jolly bad luck sir. It seems we are adding to our inventory of species rather more than we know to be losing."

And bizarrely conservationists turn that simple fact around to say "well that means species we haven't discovered have probably become extinct" no matter how fast the species list grows, humans are always wrong, so green groups need new laws and of course funding...

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Trollface

Whale

I never

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Coat

in other news....

reports of a strange craft that has the ability to disappear and re-appear have been denied,

Also physicists have detected a new phenomenon they have named tachyon pulses that they believe will eventually lead to time travel...

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"and we were lucky enough to find two of them"

Such a shame the same luck didn't extend to the whales.

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Oh no, not again!

Was there a bowl of petunias on the beach as well?

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Thumb Down

Re: Oh no, not again!

Yawn

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Shhh!!

Don't wake the Kraken

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Anonymous Coward

I misread "Mesopotamian transvestite".

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Yes, but...

...is it yummy?

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Anonymous Coward

much more exciting

Two skeletons were identified as belonging to the species after a 17-foot whale and her calf beached themselves in New Zealand in 2010. Scientists hope the discovery will provide insights into the species and into ocean ecosystems.

It was almost a missed opportunity, however, since conservation workers misidentified the carcasses as a much more common type of whale and buried them.

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Coat

So it wasn't extinct before...

...but since the only two specimen ever found are already dead, who's to say those weren't the last two?

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Happy

Re: So it wasn't extinct before...

The Moby Dick that knocked her up is still out cruising the single whale scene somewhere...

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Bronze badge

Re: So it wasn't extinct before...

Presumably the dad is still around somewhere.

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