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Watch: This rare seahorse has just been discovered in Spain

The first ever seahorse living around the Cíes Islands off the coast of Galicia has just been discovered. Now the little fellow needs a name.

Watch: This rare seahorse has just been discovered in Spain
Screenshot from video of seahorse.

Scientists for the Institute of Marine Investigations recorded a video of the first known seahorse living in the waters around the Cíes Islands, Galicia's scientific research portal GCiencia announced on Wednesday.

The video shows a small reddish seahorse drifting through the turquoise waters off the coast of Galicia, hanging onto plants with its tail and then meeting a diver, revealing that the sea creature is no bigger than a human finger.

This was the first time scientists had been able to confirm the existence of the Hippocampus hippocampus, or short-snouted seahorse in these waters.

This seahorse is normally a “discreet creature who does not show itself in public”, according to GCiencia.

Before the photos and video were taken, scientists had only heard anecdotally of the sea horse living in the area.

The discovery was part of a project led by the Institute to observe and conserve the marine animal because it is “threatened in oceans all over the world” due to its sensitivity to pollution.

Now, local newspaper Faro de Vigo is asking readers to submit their ideas for what the little sea monster should be named.

“Faro wants to launch a campaign to baptize the seahorse that debuted in from of the scientists' cameras,” the newspaper wrote on Wednesday.

The best submissions will be voted on over the weekend.

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SCIENCE

Was Columbus actually Spanish? A new DNA study aims to discover explorer’s true origins

Researchers are restarting a DNA study of the remains of Christopher Columbus to try to settle the question of where the explorer came from.

Was Columbus actually Spanish? A new DNA study aims to discover explorer's true origins
Photo: A portrait of Christopher Columbus by Italian painter Domenico Bigordi

Was Columbus from the Italian port city of Genoa, as most historians believe? Or was he Spanish or Portuguese? There are several theories.

Five centuries after his death in 1506, this study could finally end the debate over the geographic origin of the navigator whose voyages on behalf of the Spanish monarchs between 1492 and 1504 opened the door to Europe’s colonisation of the Americas.

The results of this “pioneering study” are expected in October, Jose Antonio Lorente, a professor of forensic medicine at Granada who is leading the investigation, told a news conference.

Launched in 2003, the study achieved a major breakthrough after DNA tests established that bones in a tomb in the cathedral in the southern city of Seville were those of Columbus.

But it was suspended in 2005 because the research team felt that DNA technology at the time required a significant sample of the bones of the explorer “to obtain very little information”, said Lorente.

The research team decided to preserve the bones “until there was better technology” which can use small bone fragments as is the case today, he added.

The DNA of small bone fragments from Columbus which are stored at a vault at Granada University in southern Spain will be compared to those from the remains of suspected family members of the explorer.

Columbus in the court of Spain’s Catholic Monarchs. Artist: Juan Cordero, 1850 (Wikipedia)

It will also be compared with the DNA of people alive with the same family name as Columbus from the different parts of the world where he is believed to have come from.

While Lorente hopes the results will be “totally conclusive”, he acknowledged researchers were not certain they could obtain genetic samples from all the bones “in sufficient quantity and quality  to reach a conclusion”.

“The goal is to try to offer as much information as possible for historians and experts to interpret,” he added.

The study is being carried out with the University of Florence in Italy and the University of North Texas in the United States.

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