Tasmacetus shepherdii, Shepherd’s beaked whale skeleton holotype

About this object

Articulated skeleton of a Tasmacetus shepherdii, commonly known as Shepherd’s beaked whale, this was first recorded specimen. The whale washed ashore at Ohawe near Hawera on 7th November 1933, it was picked up by the then curator of the Wanganui Museum, George Sheperd who realised it was a type of whale he had never seen before. As he progressed with drying the bones and articulating the skeleton he became more and more certain he had found a new species of whale. Dr R W B Oliver, Director of the Dominion Museum in Wellington, came to Wanganui to inspect the skeleton. He confirmed Shepherd's discovery, that the whale's extra teeth and nine pairs of ribs distinguished it from all other whales. He described the new species naming it after George Shepherd and published this in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London in 1937. Sheperd's beaked whales are very rare and rarely sighted so not a lot is known about them.

Subject and Association Description

Type specimen of the rare Sheperd's beaked whale

Credit Line

Collection of the Whanganui Regional Museum

Object Type


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