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By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Ewan Fordyce
The spade-toothed beaked whale is so rare that nobody has seen one alive, but scientists have proof the species still exists.
It was a slender bird, with long wings and a spear-like bill to catch swift ocean prey. And scientists say the first glimpse of the extinct giant penguin species was worth the 26 million-year wait.
"This is pretty fantastic," said Ewan Fordyce, a geology professor at the University of Otago who specializes in the evolution of whales and who was not involved in the research. "There would be few, if any, mammalian species in the world that would be rarer. And we know much more about panda bears and other iconic, rare animals."
Fordyce said it may be possible to use the skeletons of the rare whales to reconstruct their muscles and tissues and to find out more about how they live and die and why they are so reclusive.