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EU scientific body confirms stronger measures are needed to protect dolphins and porpoises from death in nets

The expert body that provides scientific advice to the European Commission on the management of...
A magical sperm whale encounter

Can space technology tell us how many whales there are?

This exciting project is part of Deloitte's Gravity Challenge, a global programme that encourages corporates,...
minke whale breaching

Norway urged to abandon plans to experiment on captured whales

WDC has teamed up with the Animal Welfare Institute and NOAH (Norway's largest NGO for...
Dolphin disturbance

Environment Minister backs WDC public awareness drive to prevent dolphin disturbance

Whilst we have been locked in as a result of the pandemic nature has reclaimed...

Fossil of river dolphin relative identified after 65 years

The skull of an ancestor of the river dolphins that live today in South Asia, has been identified over 60 years after being discovered in Alaska according to a new scientific paper. Over 25 millions years old, the fossil belongs to a group of dolphins that lived in a sub-arctic marine environment unlike their modern-day relatives, which inhabit the major rivers of Asia such as the Indus and Ganges.

Like other river dolphins, the South Asian river dolphin is under threat due to habitat loss and the impact of other human activities throughout much of its range.

The skull had been stored at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC before being re-examined. The scientists who wrote the report, Alexandra Boersma and Nicholas Pyenson, have identified the specimen as a new genus and species, which has been named Arktocara yakataga. It lived around the time that whales were evolving into the two groups we know today – baleen whales (mysticetes) such as blue and humpback whales, and toothed whales (odontocetes) such as sperm whale and dolphins.


George Berry

About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.