New Whale Species Found Off New Mexico Coast

While the now called Rice’s whale was discovered in 2014, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, “recorded vocalizations [that] were consistent with but differed from those previously reported for Bryde’s whales elsewhere” confirm that Rice’s whales are indeed a different species than Bryde’s whales.

Which begs the question: how often are new species discovered?

According to the New York Times, “as many as 18,000 [species] are discovered annually, about half of them insects or arachnids.” However, “there are usually about 8,000 a year that turn out to be valid,” meaning only 8,000 of the ‘new species’ are actual new species; the rest being name or error corrections.

The compiling of these animals allows for the more even distribution of resources meant to protect endangered species. Take Rice’s whale for instance. Now that we know that it is a completely different species, it puts more emphasis on its protection since “to date, there are fewer than 100 of these whales remaining, making them critically endangered,” reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

By finding more species and systemizing their information into information banks, such as the Endangered Species List, researchers can prioritize which species need to be focused on to be secured and protected.