Last Living Yangtze River Dolphin Was Not Swept Up In Dolphin Rapture
The Yangtze River Dolphin from China is the first Texas Liberal Marine Mammal of the Week.
This creature was recently in the news because it is now believed to be extinct.
The Latin name for this creature is Lipotes vexillifer. The Lipotes is from the Greek word leipo meaning “one who is left behind.” This name was given because of the limited range of the creature.
Left Behind is a religious fiction series about people left behind after the rapture.
The Yangtze River Dolphin is not extinct because it was taken up in a dolphin rapture.
Rather, it was the victim of pollution, colliding into boats, the damming of lakes and other assaults by humans.
The Yangtze River Dolphin was not discovered until the early 1900’s.
A captive Yangtze River Dolphin named Qi Qi lived alone in a tank for 22 years. Much of what is known about these creatures was learned by studying this so-called Qi Qi.
How you could learn anything of value from a creature kept in isolation for 22 years I’m not sure. How would you act if alone all that time?
Like other fresh water dolphins, the Yangtze River Dolphin had small eyes and weak eyesight because river water can be murky. However, the dolphin’s capacity to navigate and find prey with sonar was impaired by boat traffic in the Yangtze.
This dolphin was also called baiji in China which means “river goddess.” A lot of good that title did this animal.
8/29/07–Update! The Yangtze River Dolphin may still be with us.