According to a newly released study published in Plosone.org, scientists have discovered a new species of river dolphin living in Brazil’s Araguaia (means: river of red macaws” in the local Tupi language) river basin.
The last time a new species of River Dolphin was discovered was during World War I when American women didn’t have the right to vote.
This study reports that the newly discovered Araguaia river dolphins diverged from the Amazon river dolphin over 2 million years ago when these Araguaia dolphins became separated from the Amazon river system.
The Araguaia river dolphin likely only numbers around 1,000 individuals making them a critically endangered species. Humans in the Araguaia area are hard on these dolphins as we pollute the river, destroy habitat, build dams, and shoot them when they steal fish from fisherman’s nets.
There are only 6 river dolphin species on Earth with one already having been declared extinct. The world’s river dolphins live in Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Pakistan, China, Argentina, Uruguay, and Bangladesh.
- South Asian river dolphins, Platanista gangetica, with two subspecies
- Amazon river dolphin (boto), Inia geoffrensis
- Araguaian river dolphin, Inia araguaiaensis
- Bolivian river dolphin, Inia boliviensis
- La Plata dolphin (Franciscana), Pontoporia blainvillei
- Baiji (or Chinese river dolphin), †Lipotes vexillifer (functionally extinct, since December 2006)