River Dolphin

Bethany Bresnahan

What are River Dolphins?

These dolphins are also known as botos. River Dolphins are some of the most endangered and rarest dolphins in the whole world. Three out of the four known species are listed as "threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
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New Discovery!

The discovery of a whole new species Scientists was in Manaus, Brazil. This new river dolphin was found in the Araguaia River Basin in central Brazil. They were isolated from Inia groffrensis and Inia boliviensis, other botos, in the adjacent Amazon Bazin. Thomas Hrbek of the Universidade Federal do Amazonas announced the existence of the proposed new species of river dolphin in PLOS ONE on January 22. Scientists came up with the names Aruguaian boto or Inia araguaiaensis, for the new species.
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DNA Testing

In a DNA testing study, the Brazilian team found that the DNA of the Araguaian river dolphins is different enough from other botos to categorize it as a new species. The degree of physical and genetic differences suggests that over two million years ago the Araguaian boto separated from other dolphin species. The Araguaia River dolphins represent a distinct biological group.
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Threats to River Dolphins?

River dolphins face many threats. Dam construction on rivers can cut off the animals from others of their kind, limiting their ability to reproduce. Also they are sometimes killed off by local fishermen that think the dolphins compete with them for fish, and they end up ensnared and killed by fishing gear.
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Unique Characteristics

Scientist found lines of evidence that show the Araguaian boto were seperated from other species of boto for a long period of time. The new boto demonstrated unique diagnostic characters in maternally inherited, or mitochondrial, DNA and other genes. They also have a compelling size differences in cranial features, and in their number of teeth.

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