Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology (1925)


(…) In 1872, Louis Agassiz undertook a voyage around the continent of South America on the ship Hassler for the purpose of zoological investigation. No detailed account of this expedition was ever printed, but the collections made under Agassiz’s inspiring leadership were large and valuable. While the vessel was at anchor in the harbor of Payta, northern Peru, a porpoise was obtained, the head, flukes, pectorals, and dorsal fin of which were preserved in alcohol entire, while the remainder of the axial skeleton was cleaned for permanent keeping. This specimen I have lately had an opportunity to study and find that it represents Burmeister’s Porpoise, Phocaena spinipinnis, a species of which apparently but three other specimens are known. True (1889) in his review of the Delphinidae felt no doubt as to its distinctness from P. phocaena, basing his opinion on Burmeister’s (1865) account, and added: “It is probable that the skeleton of this species when known will be found to differ considerably from
that of P. communis [= phocaena],” a surmise which is fully warranted. (…)