First New Species of River Dolphin Discovered in a Century

The proposed new species of river dolphin, the Araguaian boto (Inia araguaiaensis).

A suspected new river dolphin species has emerged in Brazil, and scientists warn that it is highly endangered.

River dolphins (also known as botos) are among the rarest, and most endangered, dolphins in the world. Three of the four known species are listed as “threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The discovery of a wholly new species—the first such find in a century—is thus exciting news for biologists and conservation officials.

Scientists led by Tomas Hrbek of the Universidade Federal do Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil, announced the existence of the proposed new species of river dolphin in PLOS ONE on January 22. Discovered in the Araguaia River Basin in central Brazil, the animals were isolated from other botos (Inia geoffrensis and Inia boliviensis) in the adjacent Amazon Basin to the west by a series of rapids and a small canal. As a result, the scientists suggest calling the new species the Araguaian boto, or Inia araguaiaensis.

The study scientists “make a strong case based on the data,” says Howard Rosenbaum, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Ocean Giants program in New York. The discovery, he says, is “amazing because we’re starting to get insights into how these animals become distinct species.”

Read the full story here.

 

 

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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