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Scientists say they've found a mysterious type of killer whale that they've been searching for for years. It lives in parts of the ocean near Antarctica - and it could be the largest animal to have remained unidentified by biologists. The notion that there might be some unusual kind of killer whale emerged in 1955. Photos from New Zealand showed a bunch of whales stranded on a beach. "This was a very different-looking group of killer whales," says Robert Pitman, a marine ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The whales were smaller than other killer whales, and they had rounded heads and pointier fins. "And most importantly," Pitman adds, "they had a little tiny eye patch," a white spot under each eye characteristic of killer whales. These patches were unusually small, in some cases almost nonexistent.
Scientists say they've found a mysterious type of killer whale that they've been searching for for years. It lives in parts of the ocean near Antarctica - and it could be the largest animal to have remained unidentified by biologists. The notion that there might be some unusual kind of killer whale emerged in 1955. Photos from New Zealand showed a bunch of whales stranded on a beach. "This was a very different-looking group of killer whales," says Robert Pitman, a marine ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The whales were smaller than other killer whales, and they had rounded heads and pointier fins. "And most importantly," Pitman adds, "they had a little tiny eye patch," a white spot under each eye characteristic of killer whales. These patches were unusually small, in some cases almost nonexistent.