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Scientists name new species of cetacean: The Australian humpback dolphin
Date:8/1/2014

distinctive dark dorsal "cape."

Another interesting finding with the designation of the Australian humpback dolphin is the support its distribution provides to a zoogeographical barrier described by Alfred Russell Wallace, one of the first naturalists to examine in detail the life of the Malay Archipelago. He identified a barrier now known as the Wallace Line. To the west of the line, terrestrial animal species are mostly of Asian origin; to the east, animal species largely descend from Australasian ancestors. Researchers have also found the Wallace Line to be a barrier for marine species as well, and the divide between Indo-Pacific and the Australian humpback dolphins seems to coincide with this border.

There is currently no population estimate for the Australian humpback dolphin, but the authors warn that it is unlikely that more than a few thousand dolphins of that species exist, based on available sighting data. Potential threats to all humpback dolphins include coastal development, accidental capture by fishermen, vessel collisions, and in a few cases direct hunting.


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Contact: John Delaney
jdelaney@wcs.org
718-220-3275
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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Scientists name new species of cetacean: The Australian humpback dolphin
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