This undated photo shows the skeleton of an unnamed whale species.

The whale's body was discovered in 2004 and the skeleton hangs in Unalaska High School, in Alaska's Aleutian Islands

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Genetic tests confirm that a mysterious, unnamed species of beaked whale only rarely seen alive by Japanese fishermen roams the northern Pacific Ocean, according to research published this week.

Japanese researchers sampled three black beaked whales that washed up on the north coast of Hokkaido, the country's most northern island, and wrote about them in a 2013 paper.

The challenge to confirm the existence of the new animal was finding enough specimens from a wider area for testing and matching genetic samples, said Phillip Morin, a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration research molecular biologist.

Japanese fishermen reported occasionally seeing a smaller, black beaked whale that they called "karasu," the Japanese word for raven, or "kuru tsuchi," black Baird's beaked whale.

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