Scientists make groundbreaking study on the world's most elusive whales

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This Is One Of The World's Most Elusive Whales
For the first time, scientists have conducted a field study of an obscure species called Omura's whale.They have documented observations about the elusive mammal including feeding, vocalizations, and habitats in a recently published paper.

During the two years of research, the team determined that the animal's low profile is likely due to its smaller size, about 33 to 38 feet long, and more subtle blow. In fact, the animals were previously often confused with another species called Bryde's whale but were confirmed in 2003 as a distinct group based on genetic testing.

Omura's whales also have distinctive white and dark markings on the right and left sides of the lower jaw, respectively. Researchers first spotted one of the whales while conducting research in the waters off Madagascar in 2011 and saw more of them in an adjacent location in 2013. Of the studied population, four pairs were mothers with their calves which resulted in recordings that possibly link specific sounds with reproductive habits. Thus far, 25 members have been identified based on photographs.

Additional field study is expected to resume in November.

To see adorable images of other whales, scroll through the gallery below:
18 PHOTOS
Whales breaching
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Scientists make groundbreaking study on the world's most elusive whales
AT SEA, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 26: A young adult Humpback Whale breaches into the air during a miratory frolic in Australia's Hervey Bay Marine Park off Fraser Island, north of Brisbane, 25 August 2001. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read DANIEL BAYER/AFP/Getty Images)
SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 23: A southern right whale breaches the water at Hermanus, east of Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, September 23, 2005. The whale-watching industry is helping fuel a boom in South African tourism, which accounted for 7.4 percent of the country's gross domestic product in 2004. A record 6.7 million visitors spent a total of 47.8 billion rand ($7.5 billion) on lodging, food and safaris, according to South African Tourism, the government's official promotion agency. (Photo by Dave Fish/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - 1989/01/01: USA, Washington, San Juan Islands, Haro Strait, Orca (killer Whale), Breaching. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Humpback breaching
A female resident orca whale breaches while swimming in Puget Sound near Bainbridge Island as seen from a federally permitted research vessel Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration followed about two dozen of the killer whales from J pod through the Sound Saturday after being alerted to their presence the night before from whale L-87, who carries a satellite-linked tag. L-87 was tagged by NOAA several weeks ago as part of ongoing research on the southern resident killer whales. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Babe Whale in Berners Bay early morning.
In this May 25, 2013 photo provided by the Pacific Whale Watch Association, a humpback whale breaches into view of a state ferry and a tour boat in the San Juan Channel near Friday Harbor, Wash. A video shot in May 2013 shows a rare wildlife sighting in a big city, a lone humpback whale surfacing at twilight in the Puget Sound just yards from Seattle's busy waterfront. (AP Photo/Pacific Whale Watch Association, Justine Buckmaster)
In an Oct. 25, 2011 photo provided by the Santa Cruz Conference and Visitors Council, kayaker Alan Brady is surprised by two breaching humpback whales while kayaking off the coast of Seabright State Beach in Santa Cruz, Calif. Photographer Paul Schraub was shooting pictures from a boat while on assignment for the Santa Cruz Conference and Visitors Council when he captured the moment. (AP Photo/Santa Cruz Conference and Visitors Council , Paul Schraub)
A one-ton female juvenile orca breaches the waters off Seattle as a ferry passes in the distance on Thursday, June 13, 2002. The whale has a skin disease and she has been approaching boats, which is unusual and dangerous behavior. A team of experts plan to capture transport the whale from her current location to a temporary holding pen in Manchester, Wash. The long-term goal is to return the whale to her pod in Canadian waters. (AP Photo/Cheryl Hatch, pool)
A humpback whale breaches on Stellwagen Bank about 25 miles east of Boston, Monday, Aug. 22, 2005. The area around Stellwagen Bank is designated as a national marine sanctuary. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Nosey showing off
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Humpback Whale
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Hervey Bay Whales 3944
Humpback Whale breaching right next to a pair of kayakers
In this Jan. 23, 2005 file photo, a whale leaps out of the water in what is called "breaching," as seen from a whale watching boat operated by the Pacific Whale Foundation in the channel off the town of Lahaina on the island of Maui in Hawaii. On the sidelines of a UN wildlife conference in Rome, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008, United Nations officials and environmental groups say human-made noise in the oceans is increasing, further threatening endangered animals like whales and dolphins that use sound to communicate and orient themselves. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, files)
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