A Long(man's) Story2nd Jan 2003 There was a posting on 28 December about Longman's Beaked Whale,
Indopacetus pacificus. It refers to a BBC report of an individual
stranded in Japan in July as "the most complete specimen ever seen"
and also notes "other fragmentary remains found in South Africa, the
Maldives and Kenya".
Just for the record, the Maldives "remains" were a complete pregnant
female. I saved the complete skeleton (including teeth), which is now
in the collection of the Maldivian Marine Research Centre.
The South African "remains" were two complete juvenile males. These
were initially misidentified as Southern Bottlenose Whales, but DNA
analysis revealed that they were Longman's Beaked Whales.
In external appearance Longman's Beaked Whale does look like the
Southern Bottlenose Whale. However, there are subtle differences in
melon colouration, which are clearly revealed in photos of the fresh
stranded South African specimens. It is now realized that "Tropical
Bottlenose Whales" seen in the tropical Indo-Pacific (including
sightings in the Maldives) are Longman's Beaked Whales.
A scientific paper describing these findings is in press with the
journal Marine Mammal Science, and should be published in July
Dr. R. Charles Anderson
The Whale and Dolphin Company
P.O. Box 2074
Republic of Maldives
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