Pacific Ocean

Uncovered Underwater: Local Researchers May Have Discovered a New Whale Species

Sail on an expedition with two San Diego marine researchers and hear them recount to NBC 7 the expedition which may have ended with the discovery of a new whale species in the Pacific Ocean

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When Doctors Jay Barlow and Elizabeth Henderson set sail from San Diego back in November, they couldn’t have predicted what was awaiting them off the coast of Baja California. 

With a team of marine mammal researchers, the pair believe they may have discovered a new species of a beaked whale that approached them while they were out on the open seas. 

“We could not have predicted the day that we ended up having,” Henderson told NBC 7. “Blew all of us out of the water.”

Dr. Elizabeth Henderson snapped this photo of what researchers believe to be a new species of a beaked whale discovered off the coast of Baja California. Photo Credit: Sea Shepherd / CONANP

Cooped up in their homes for months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the local marine mammal researchers were just excited to be outdoors again on November 19, 2020. 

The expedition’s goal was to find an already known species of beaked whale, Perrin’s beaked whale, and confirm its acoustic sounds. Now, the researchers believe they may have found the 24th species of beaked whales known to researchers. 

Join NBC 7 as Barlow and Henderson chronicle their expedition and recount the exciting moments of their research voyage in Uncovered Underwater: A New Species of Beaked Whale.

You can watch the video above, or on the NBC 7 app on Apple TV, Roku, or YouTube.

The research voyage was through Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, aboard the organization’s vessel the “Martin Sheen” pictured here. Photo Credit: Sea Shepherd / CONANP

The news of a new whale discovery is great, Barlow said but that’s not the main message for viewers learning about their findings.

“The discovery of a new species of beaked whale I think is probably not the main message here,” Barlow said. “The main message is there are still mysteries out there in the ocean. We can discover these mysteries and hopefully by discovering them inspire other people to not only care about this new animal but also to care about all animals.”

Underwater photography captures the potential new species of beaked whale. If confirmed, the species would be the 24th species of beaked whale known to researchers. Photo Credit: Sea Shepherd / CONANP

Barlow and Henderson’s voyage was with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. You can learn more about their discovery, and the group’s mission here.

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