The dolphins we see swimming our coastal Carolina waters may not be the bottlenose dolphins we’ve always thought.
A decade-long study involving the University of Miami and NOAA scientists has revealed that common bottlenose dolphins inhabiting nearshore coastal and estuarine waters between New York and Florida are likely a separate species from their offshore counterparts.
The authors found that they are more closely related to other coastal populations in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico than their neighboring offshore common bottlenose dolphins.
Researchers used DNA and tissue samples, skulls, and vertebral columns from dolphins that stranded along the East Coast.
The new scientific name for our coastal dolphins: Tursiops erebennus.