Beaked whales and purple disco balls: New and unusual species discovered in our oceans.

I never cease to be amazed by the fact that we are still finding new creatures on this planet. In the past week I’ve read two stories on about discoveries of animals that appear to be new to science. What’s particularly cool is that these animals couldn’t be more different, and we’re still not really sure what one of them is.

First was a story from NPR about an unusual beaked whale that Japanese fisherman refer to as the “raven.” Turns out that the Raven is not an unusual, darkly colored variant of th Baird’s beaked whale. Rather, it appears to be a new species. Amazing to think that a mammal this large could have gone undiscovered for this long!

Here’s a short video about the whale:

The other discovery comes from the Nautilus Exploration Vessel off California’s Channel Islands. While exploring the ocean floor in the area, the team noticed a strange purple orb near what appears to be some kind of ledge.

Purple orb from Nautilus expedition

Screen capture from Nautilus footage via NPR

Nobody on the team recognized the creature, so they sucked it up and brought it to the surface. According to NPR, they think it might be some kind of sea slug, but further investigation is needed. Very cool – check out the video of the discovery below:

About Peter Larson

I'm a recovering academic, current high school biology/zoology teacher, blogger, and science geek with diverse interests (and experience) in the areas of zoology, anatomy, evolutionary biology, developmental biology, and exercise science. I made the fairly unusual jump from higher ed (10 years, including tenure, as a college biology professor) to teaching high school biology at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy in Northwood, NH. In addition to being a dedicated teacher, I'm also an avid distance runner - I write about running at You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.