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Tags: killer whale | species | discovered

Researchers Discover New Species of Killer Whale

killer whale swims in ocean
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Wednesday, 06 October 2021 10:14 AM

A group of Canadian researchers say they have discovered a new type of killer whale that preys on large mammals and prefers to hunt in the Pacific's deep-water canyons.

The scientists identified 150 members of the new group after analyzing over 100,000 photographs taken off the Canadian and U.S. west coasts, according to the CBC. The new species, which has been dubbed the "outer coast transient whales," is believed to be a subset of transient orcas known as Bigg’s killer whales. There are several notable differences between the two. 

"We see a seasonal trend where they show up in the spring and they follow the grey whale calves that are migrating up from Baja," said Josh McInnes, a marine mammal researcher at UBC who led the study

McInnes added that these whales, which also have a distinct dialect from their cousins, hunt grey whale calves, along with elephant seals and oceanic dolphins. Bigg’s killer whales meanwhile prefer smaller mammals like harbor seals and porpoises.

Scientists also made another astonishing discovery during their research. McInnes explained that an unknown group of killer whales that eat sharks was discovered past the continental shelf in the open waters of the Pacific.

"We have no idea who they are," he said. "They looked like transients. There were some similarities to them as well. Some of them had what we call cookie-cutter bite marks, which are these circular scars on the body of the animal."

McInnes added that the discoveries were just the beginning for his team. 

"For me, this is big because there's been a lot of information missing for some of these animals," he said. 

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TheWire
A group of Canadian researchers say they have discovered a new type of killer whale that preys on large mammals and prefers to hunt in the Pacific's deep-water canyons.The scientists identified...
killer whale, species, discovered
274
2021-14-06
Wednesday, 06 October 2021 10:14 AM
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