Scientists describe new species of orca

Orca type D on Wetpixel

A study in the journal Polar Biology has described a new species of orca that has been discovered off the coast of New Zealand. The whale has been classified as Orcinus orca Type D and is characterized by a very small white eye-patch and bulbous forehead. Genetic sequencing has shown that this species diverged from other orca species around 390,000 years ago. Although it is a “new find” in terms of a living species, it transpires that it is the same species as that found in a stranding event in 1955. A skeleton from that event has been genetically matched to that of the Type D orca.