rhamphotheca: The Elusvie Hourglass Dolphin This elusive mammal…


The Elusvie Hourglass Dolphin

This elusive mammal is the only species of cetacean to be formally classified without a specimen

by Becky Crew

Named for the distinct white shape along its sides, the hourglass dolphin (Lagenorhynchus cruciger) is found throughout the cold open waters of the Southern Ocean, never straying anywhere warmer than about 13°C.

Rarely seen since its discovery almost 200 years ago, the hourglass dolphin is said to be the only cetacean – a large group of marine mammals that includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises – to have been classified based on eyewitness accounts alone.

In fact, it was declared a new species by French naval surgeons and naturalists, Jean René Constant Quoy and Joseph Paul Gaimard, using nothing but a sketch made as they ran an expedition to the Antarctic in 1824. Fortunately though, with markings as distinct as the hourglass dolphin’s, you’re not likely to misidentify one…

(read more: National Geographic)

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Tags: wow, i had no idea these existed.

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