There has been a new Amazon dolphin species found, but the creatures may soon be extinct because of the activity of humans. Scientists who first discovered the new dolphin state it is a first in almost 100 years. A team of scientists told of the amazing find of the Inia araguaiaensis, which is the fifth known kind of river dolphin species in the world. They decided to name it after the river Araguaia, which is one of two major waterways in Brazil, where the dolphin was found.
This new species find comes nearly 100 years since the discovery of the river dolphin, Lipots vexillifer, which is now extinct, back before 1920. Any kind of discovery of brand new river dolphins are hard to do because the species are one of the most scarce vertebrates living on the Earth. But this find happened because researchers had DNA from the river dolphins which lived in both the Tocantins and Araguaia rivers and they discovered that these dolphins were different from any of the other known dolphins that lived in Brazil. These dolphins also have about 24 teeth in their jaws as compared to the 26 to 30 that are in the other mouths of the other species of river dolphins that live in the Amazon river.
Regardless, scientists think that this brand new species might have originated from the river dolphins that exist inside the chief basin of the Amazon River but happened to become separated over two million years ago after the Araguaia and Tocantins basin became separated from the other parts of the main river structure, the report stated. The changing landscape and the river dolphins’ incapability to be able to swim fast have caused them to become isolated from other South American river types.
While all the news about the newly found species is very exciting, the new river dolphins futures are already appearing to be hopeless and dreary. Its future is very drab, stated research study author Tomas Hrbek, who works for the Federal University of Amazonas located in Brazil. He added that the Araguaia-Tocantins basin endures much human commotion and there are most likely less than even 1000 of the newly found I. araguaiaensis river dolphins in existence at the present time. The river dolphin discovered in 1918, Lipotes vexillifer, was soon extinct after its discovery because of human destructiveness, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that scientists fully think the very same thing will happen to the new species unless someone steps in and attempts to change the activity around the river. Since back in the 1960’s the Araguaia and Tocantins river basin has been going through substantial anthropogenic compression due to ranching and agricultural activities. There has also been the building and construction of dams which are hydroelectric. These are bringing in more changes every day. The researchers reported all their findings in the study and had it printed up in the science journal PLOS ONE on Jan. 22. With the alterations to the river, the new Amazon dolphin species may be extinct before it was ever really discovered in full detail, because of the actions of humans. That is such a tragic statement to make about the new dolphin since it is a first discovery in almost 100 years.
By Kimberly Ruble
Investors Business Daily