Our paper on the teeth observed in a group of True’s beaked whales has been published on Peer J!
In 2018 a group of guests on board an ORCA Jessops photography Sea Safari had the extremely uncommon sighting of a pod of True’s beaked whales breaching and playing alongside the Brittany Ferries flagship vessels, the Pont-Aven. Not only was this a rare sighting but an additional pair of teeth were observed.
True’s beaked whales are very rarely seen and this was the first conclusive live sighting in the North East Atlantic taken during a scientific survey whilst on effort. On closer inspection of photos taken during this incredible encounter, the presence of protruding teeth from the lower jaw were noticed which is the first record of supernumerary teeth in this species.
This first definite sighting in the Bay of Biscay builds upon previous that are likely to have been this elusive species, and shows new details on this data deficient species, their behaviour and appearance. Some of the photos captured during this encounter are widely considered to be the best ever taken of this animals, live in the wild. And as well as the additional pair of teeth which had not previously been documented in a stranded animal, pink colouration in the genital-anal patch was also noted which had not been recorded before.
This has been discussed in a collaborative paper between ORCA, University College London and The Natural History Museum. The paper has now been published on Peer J and is available to read at peerj.com/articles/7809/.