new dolphin species discovered

To: John Leonard <>
Subject: new dolphin species discovered
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2008 17:38:14 +1000
On Sat, Aug 02, 2008 at 05:26:18PM +1000, John Leonard wrote:
> I'm sure the people claiming the new species know the answer to this,
> but could someone explain wh
y the dolphins in the video aren't
> Irrawaddy Dolphins?

I've appended the abstract of the paper describing the species..

Isabel Beasley, Kelly M. Robertson, Peter Arnold
Marine Mammal Science Volume 21 Issue 3, Pages 365 - 400 July 2005

Comparisons of the Irrawaddy dolphin, Orcaella brevirostris, between
Australian and Asian sites documented geographic differences in height
of dorsal fin, presence or absence of a median dorsal groove in front
of the dorsal fin, and coloration (presence or absence of a dorsal
cape). Analysis of genetic data provided support for two clades within
the Asian samples, the Mekong River samples from Cambodia and southern
Laos, and all other marine and freshwater sites from Thailand, Indonesia,
and the Philippines. The major separation, however, was between sites in
Asia and those from Australia (5.9% of base pair differences, compared
with 1.2% for within Australia and 1.5% for within Asia). Within a
403 base segment of the mtDNA control region, Australian specimens
had 17 diagnostic sites with 16 fixed base pair differences and one
insertion/deletion. Consistent, statistically significant differences in
skull characters of Australian specimens have previously been demonstrated
and are reviewed in this paper. There was a high concordance in character
differences demonstrated between O. brevirostris from all Asian sites
and Australian specimens, especially in the genetic and osteological
characters. Based on the range and concordance of character differences,
we propose that the Australian dolphins be recognized as a new species,
Orcaella heinsohni (suggested common name: Australian snubfin dolphin).

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