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Northern Right Whale Dolphins Strand on Santa Rosa Island

I had the pleasure this morning of learning about a species of beautiful marine mammals I had never heard of before. Along with this pleasure, however, was the unfortunate fact that I learned about these marine mammals only because they were found dead.

northern right whale dolphinsI had heard of northern right whales, and I had heard of dolphins, but I had never heard of northern right whale dolphins before. These dolphins are only related to right whales in as much as they are both cetaceans. Northern right whales are large baleen whales, and northern right whale dolphins are small toothed whales. When I call the dolphins small, that’s relative, of course. They’re actually larger than a human being, reaching almost ten feet in length. Northern right whale dolphins have a distinctive white patch on their bellies, and also are notable in that they lack a dorsal fin.

On Monday, five northern right whale dolphins were reported stranded on the shore of Santa Rosa Island in the Channel Islands National Park, off the coast of Southern California. Four of these dolphins were recovered, all dead. The fifth was not found.

I was unable to find any information about why these dolphins have received the name of right whale dolphins, though they don’t look much like right whales at all. In looking for more information about northern right whale dolphins, however, I came across many useful sites that provide information about the species, and will be of more general use to people interested in discovering more about the diversity of marine life. These resources include the Convention on Migratory Species, the MarineBio Society, and the Encyclopedia of Life.

santa rosa island map

4 comments to Northern Right Whale Dolphins Strand on Santa Rosa Island

  • Anonymous

    I think it is sad that animals die. Its even worse when we cause it and could have prevented it. What I am more concerned about is that countries like N. Korea are looking to possibly start a nuclear war and nobody seems all that concerned about it. A nuclear drop would make 9/11 look like a pony ride. This seems ro be a pretty serious deal

    • A nuclear drop would be serious. However, this is just North Korea’s version of diplomacy. Or, did you think when the US was testing bombs it was trying to start a nuclear war? When the US now tests missiles, is it trying to start a nuclear war?

      Calm down. Don’t get all swine flu about this North Korean thing.

  • qs

    Sounded like a fission bomb to me not an H-bomb anyway not that it’s still not dangerous if they do indeed have that.

  • Tom

    i stopped counting all the dead deer, squirrels, raccoons, badgers, woodchucks, cats, fox and birds i see every day on the road to work.

    It’s all a sign of the general degradation, but if you don’t use it to try to change things and just become abyssmally depressed and morose about it, it’s hard to live.

    By the way, we may be joining the extinct soon enough if the continuing permafrost melt dumps as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as the reports i’ve been reading say. We’ll reach that tipping point of concentration faster than we thought and then it’s all over as far as us doing anything at all about it. It’ll be totally out of our control.

    Like the economy, we’re just kicking the can down the road, but the days of reconning are coming hard: i see four horsemen ridin’ this way. i can barely make out the one in the lead, but he’s becomin’ clearer every day.

    i’m scared. Let’s get busy.

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