New Dolphin Species Found

Scientists have reclassified a population of dolphins as a new species due to a discovery of characteristic differences.

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Researchers have recently discovered a new species of dolphin—the Burrunan—and it may already be endangered. Burrunan dolphins had previously been grouped with two species of bottlenose dolphin, all of which inhabit the southeast coast of Australia, but a recent report published in PloS One indicates that this particular species has demonstrated unique characteristics, such as skull shape, coloration, size, and variation of DNA. Unfortunately, the scientists suspect that the species only has about 150 individuals, which may qualify them for protection under certain laws. The report says, “…only two small resident populations in close proximity to a major urban and agricultural center are known, giving them a high conservation value and making them susceptible to numerous anthropogenic threats.”

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