A group of scientists who were on a expedition in the waters off Cape Horn, Chile, got a close look at a type of whale that they have long been searching for.
Robert Pitman, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and his team found and studied a number of ocras or type D killer whales – which are actually dolphins – during a trip in January.
The New York Times reported that Pitman had been looking for the unusual-looking killer whale for 14 years, which had been seen only a few times before. His team finally announced the discovery on Thursday, stating that the genetic samples they had collected proved that this was a rare find.
According to National Geographic, as many as 25 killer whales approached the anchored vessel. The scientists captured footage of the mammals both above and under water. They also took a piece of blubber from one of them, using a safe technique.
According to Pitman, the fact that they live in the open ocean under one of the most inhospitable weathers conditions on the planet is why there is so little information available about the killer whales. A rounded head, a pointed dorsal fin, and a small eye patch set them apart from other species of orcas.