New Species of River Dolphin Surfaces in the Amazon

This article was written by Phin Upham,

For the first time in 100 years, scientists have uncovered a new species of river dolphin from the Amazon. The dolphin was discovered in the Araguaia River, deep within the Brazilian rainforest. A recent announcement in the Plos One scientific journal made the discovery official.

The lead author of the study, biologist Tomas Hrbek operating out of the city of Manaus, claims that the new species is only the third ever to be found in the region.

Researchers estimate there may be approximately 1,000 of the Araguia River dolphins still in the wild. The group further suggests the dolphins be placed on the endangered species list, so that resources can be devoted to protecting their development. Current construction projects on hydro-electric dams threaten the habitats of these dolphins through fragmentation.

Hrbek said that river dolphins are extremely rare, and one of the Earth’s most endangered vertebrates. This discovery represents a new hope for the dolphin. Apparently the animal was commonly recognized, but never studied in detail. It was only after Hrbek’s team used DNA samples to determine that the dolphin was genetically different from other species already present in the Amazon.

The previous river dolphin discovery occurred in 1918, when scientists identified the Chinese baiji dolphin, which went into extinction in 2006. All river dolphins are threatened by extinction, so efforts must be taken to protect these creatures and their habitats.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his LinkedIn page.