Although beaked whales live everywhere from the polar regions to the equator, they remain mysterious.
The animals swim in the deep waters off the continental shelves, ranking among Earth's champion divers. In the Journal of Experimental Biology, scientists recorded one species, Cuvier's beaked whale, diving to 1,888 meters (6,194 feet) and staying down for 85 minutes.
"They are rarely seen at sea due to their elusive habits, long dive capacity and apparent low abundance for some species," said Merel Dalebout of the University of New South Wales, in a press release. Dalebout led the team that described the new species.
Blainville's beaked whale, Mesoplodon densirostris, a relative of the newly described species. (NOAA, Wikimedia Commons)
Male specimen of Mesoplodon hotaula that washed up on Desroches Island in the Seychelles in 2009, shown with men from the island. It was found by Wayne Thompson (far right in picture) and Lisa Thompson of the Island Conservation Society of the Seychelles. (CREDIT: Lisa Thompson)