existence known in a study posted by the PLOS ONE scientific journal.
“It was an unexpected discovery that shows just how incipient our knowledge is of the region’s biodiversity,” biologist Tomas Hrbek, the study’s lead author of the Federal University of Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil, told Phys.Org. “River dolphins are among the rarest and most endangered of all vertebrates, so discovering a new species is something that is very rare and exciting.”
Hrbek told Phys.Org that scientists concluded the large dolphin was a new species by analyzing and comparing DNA samples of several types of dolphins from the Amazon and Araguaia river basins.
“The Araguaia dolphin is very similar to its Amazon river cousin, although somewhat smaller and with fewer teeth,” Hrbek told Phys.Org, adding that National Geographic reported that the new species in central Brazil was isolated from other river dolphins (Inia geoffrensis and Inia boliviensis) in the adjacent Amazon Basin to the west by a series of rapids and a small canal. According to the study, they’ve been separated for more than 2 million years.
The new species was named Araguaian boto (boto means river dolphin) or Inia araguaiaensis. Hrbek said there were only