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Other Names: Pacific Beaked Whale; Indo-Pacific Beaked Whale

Longman's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon Pacificus) is a very rare species with the appearance of a large dolphin, which never had been seen in flesh, until just recently, when a female example of this species had been found stranded in the Japanese province Kagoshima. The whale, originally believed to be a Baird's beaked whale, was stranded on the coast in Kagoshima on July 26 2002 and buried in the sand after it was confirmed dead. Before the burial, researchers at the aquarium took pictures of the whale as well as its DNA samples and sent them to the National Science Museum. A month later, aquarium and museum researchers dug up the whale and took the entire skeleton and tissue samples and confirmed the species. The whale found in Japan had a length of about 6.5 meters and was the first fully grown cetacean of this certain kind to be found.

Classification: Longman originally thought this species to belong to the genus Mesoplodon and to resemble True's Beaked Whale. In 1926 - some forty-four years after the first skull was found - he gave it the name pacificus, in order to distinguish it from the latter, which was only known by three specimens at the time. However, Alan N. Baker from New Zealand's National Museum has suggested that one of the skulls is too large for a Mesoplodon, and, like other scientists, believes that Longman's Beaked Whale should be in a genus of its own, Indopacetus. Anyway, scientific knowledge about this particular whale race is still very limited.

Description: The skull of this cetacean has forward-pointing teeth from the tip of the lower jaw, a characteristic shared with Cuvier's Beaked Whale and the two Bottlenose Whales. About halfway along the rostrum's length, there is a distinctive swelling. The habitat and breeding place of the Longman's Beaked Whale is still unknown, as well as how many are still left.

Sources: http://www.cetacea.org/longmans.htm
http://derstandard.at/standard.asp?id=1169299

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