Elephant and beaked whale taxonomy

A new paper documenting broad hybridization zones between forest and savanna elephants: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mec.13472/abstract?campaign=woletoc

On a separate note, a poster presented a few days ago at a marine mammals conference in San Francisco showed that Baird’s beaked whale is actually two species: the larger, more common slaty-gray form and the smaller, more rare black one. The former occurs from Japan to California, the latter is so far known only from Japan, the Aleutians and the Bering Sea. By the way, our trip to Bering Sea Islands next July will be an excellent chance to see both 😉

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4 Comments on “Elephant and beaked whale taxonomy”


  1. Do you recall if the people behind the Berardius poster were from Japan? While I was there…4? years ago, I recall seeing a skull from a putative new Berardius whale as part of a whale evolution exhibit at the natural history museum in Tokyo. Wondering if it’s the same animal and same folks behind it.

    • vdinets Says:

      They were not from Japan, but they cited Kitamura et al, 2013. Apparently, Japanese whalers have been aware of the difference for a long time.


      • IIRC there are a decent number of stranded individuals of the new species from Japan, which is what the Japanese work was based upon. looks like it might be a situation where perhaps two different research groups might be racing to describe the same species. Unless a THIRD Berardius is also out there

  2. vdinets Says:

    The whole thing looks strangely similar to the black tapir story (even including the references to native hunters’ opinions). I hope the evidence is better in this case.


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