The "Indus river dolphin" is a subspecies of freshwater river dolphin found in the Indus river of India and Pakistan. This dolphin was the first discovered side-swimming cetacean. It is patchily distributed in five small, sub-populations that are separated by irrigation barrages. The Indus dolphin does not form easily defined groups who interact. Instead, they're typically found in loose aggregations. From the 1970s until 1998, the Ganges River dolphin and the Indus dolphin were regarded as separate species; however, in 1998, their classification was changed from two separate species to subspecies of a single species .
The species was described by two separate authors Lebeck and Roxburgh in the year 1801 and it is unclear to whom the original description should be ascribed. Until the 1970s the Indus and Ganges river dolphins were regarded as a single species. The two populations are geographically separate and have not interbred for many hundreds if not thousands of years. Based on differences in skull structure, vertebrae and lipid composition scientists declared the two populations as separate species in the early 1970s. In 1998 the results of these studies were questioned and the classification reverted to the pre-1970 consensus of a single species containing two subspecies until the taxonomy could be resolved using modern techniques such as molecular sequencing. Thus, at present, there are two subspecies recognized in the genus "Platanista": "Platanista gangetica minor" and "Platanista gangetica gangetica" .
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