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A Rare Find

Two whales are found on a New Zealand beach and it was initially thought that they were Gray's beaked whales, or Mesoplodon grayi. However, after sequencing part of the whales' mitochondrial DNA, researchers from University of Auckland realized that the whales were actually spade-toothed beaked whales, or M. traversii. As they note in Current Biology, spade-toothed beaked whales are quite elusive, with them only previously being identified from pieces of bones.

"We can now confirm that the spade-toothed whale is extant … and for the first time we have a description of the world's rarest and perhaps most enigmatic marine mammal," the Auckland researchers write.

The Scan

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.

Effectiveness May Decline, Data From Israel Suggests

The New York Times reports that new Israeli data suggests a decline in Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine effectiveness against Delta variant infection, though protection against severe disease remains high.

To See Future Risk

Slate looks into the use of polygenic risk scores in embryo screening.

PLOS Papers on Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus, Bone Marrow Smear Sequencing, More

In PLOS this week: genomic analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, archived bone marrow sequencing, and more.