There is still so much we don’t know about our oceans. Due to the sheer vastness, humans are still (quite literally) doggy-paddling on the surface. To this day, there are species to be discovered, phenomena documented, and uncharted depths to be mapped. Case and point, here’s one species of whale, rarely seen by the human eye, that had gone nearly unknown by scientists. Until now.
As published in a new release, a group of scientists have just documented the Omura’s whale off the coast of Madagascar for the first-ever encounter in the field. The species is so rare that nobody knows exactly how many of them exist. And so little was known about them that they were often misidentified as the similar-looking Bryde’s whales. But the one telling facet of these guys was their very strange lower jaws – one side is white and the other is black.
So far, only 25 Omura’s whales have been documented via photographs.
“Over the years, there have been a small handful of possible sightings of Omura’s whales, but nothing that was confirmed,” said the study’s lead author Salvatore Cerchio. “They appear to occur in remote regions and are difficult to find at sea because they are small—they range in length from approximately 33 to 38 feet—and do not put up a prominent blow.”
At 33 to 38 feet, that’s not extremely small. If one of these guys popped up in the water next to you, I doubt you’d think they were tiny. But in whale standards, that’s on the shorter end – with blue whales topping out at 100 feet. But the sheer strangeness of Omura’s whales is something to behold. They look like friggin’ alien spaceships! Hopefully the scientists don’t take a cue from South Park, believing these guys to be actual aliens, and send them to the moon.