In 1913, an unidentified mammal washed up on Bird Shoal Island, located inside the entrance to Beaufort Inlet on the North Carolina coast. It was a whale that measured sixteen feet long and had a beak, but what kind of whale was it? Eventually the remains reached the Smithsonian Institution where Frederick W. True, the nation's foremost expert on marine mammals, realized the remains were from an undocumented species. Since he was first to describe the new species, he assigned its official Latin name--Mesoplodon mirus. The whale is commonly called True's beaked whale. In 1940, a pregnant beaked whale was found along the Outer Banks and examined by North Carolina's famed naturalist H. H. Brimley. It would be eighty years later, on May 29, 1993, before beaked whales were seen in the wild. Appropriately the sighting was off the Outer Banks, forty-five miles southeast of Hatteras Inlet. Since 1993, other sightings have been rare, and the creature remains one of the most elusive of the ocean's mammals.