A previously unknown species of humpback dolphin living off the coast of northern Australia has been identified, report scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the American Museum of Natural History.
Scientists traced the animal's evolutionary history and used genetic testing, examining tissue from 235 dolphins, to identify the currently unnamed species. Humpback dolphins are divided into two groups, one group in the Atlantic Ocean and the other group found in the Indian and Pacific oceans.
VIDEO: Dolphins Give Each Other Unique Names
While the Atlantic humpback dolphin is a recognized species, the researchers argue new evidence should split the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin into three species, one of which would be new.
"Based on the findings of our combined morphological and genetic analyses, we can suggest that the humpback dolphin genus includes at least four member species," said Martin Mendez, assistant director of the society's Latin America and the Caribbean program, in a press release. "This discovery helps our understanding of the evolutionary history of this group and informs conservation policies to help safeguard each of the species."