WASHINGTON POST: "Scientists Just Discovered a New Whale. Now They Fear It May Go Extinct."
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From the Washington Post news section:

Scientists just discovered a new whale. Now they fear it may go extinct.

‘The loss of even a single whale threatens the survival of the species,’ a group of more than 100 marine scientists wrote Thursday to the Biden administration, pleading for greater protection of the species

By Brady Dennis and Dino Grandoni
October 13, 2022 at 9:31 a.m. EDT

Early last year, researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration detailed a rare finding: After years of study, they had identified a new species of whale that has been seen only in the Gulf of Mexico.

Known as Rice’s whale or the Gulf of Mexico whale, the animal can grow to 42 feet long and up to 60,000 pounds — about the weight of a firetruck. Scientists long thought these were Bryde’s whales, which are found in oceans around the world. But only in recent years did they confirm that the Gulf of Mexico whales are structurally and genetically distinct.

I’ve long been fascinated by the philosophical issues raised by the Endangered Species Act. Such as, is a Rice’s whale, which looks from the outside just like a Bryde’s whale, actually a different species that needs preserving? Or maybe it’s merely a different race than its cousins in the “Bryde’s whale complex.” Maybe cetologists are exaggerating its distinctiveness to use as a tool to cut back on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster? Maybe it would be a good thing to protect whales? But maybe it would also be a good thing to pump more oil? What exactly is the difference between a species and a race? Perhaps species is sometimes a social construct?

But nobody else seems to share my fascination.

[Comment at Unz.com]

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