Dolphin-whale hybrid spotted near Hawaii

Charlene Craig
August 2, 2018

Luckily, they were able to collect a biopsy sample of the animal suspected to be a hybrid, and genetic tests now reveal that it is a whale-dolphin hybrid indeed. "Based on the genetics, the father was a rough-toothed dolphin and the mother a melon-headed whale".

Scientists from Cascadia Research Collective, off the coast of Hawaii have discovered an unusual mammal - a hybrid of a whale and a Dolphin. Here's where things get a little confusing though, because melon-headed whales are technically part of the oceanic dolphin family, AKA Delphinidae.

The parent whales and the hybrid are pictured in this undated photo.

Despite the fact that earlier hybrids among different species of whales and dolphins have been recorded, the baby of these two species found for the first time.

Rare whale-dolphin hybrid discovered in Hawaii, scientists say

A document published this month by the Cascadia Research Collective details their findings, noting that the creature was found past year near the island of Kauai, where it was was swimming alongside a whale that might have been its mother.

Cascadia has conducted field research in the Canadian Arctic, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawai'i, Mexico, and the waters off Central America.

While the discovery of this hybrid's existence is certainly a great accomplishment, Huffington Post cautions that calling it an entirely new species - which many reports have been doing - may be jumping the gun.

It is, however, a delight to be reporting on new species which are emerging, as it is often the opposite which is covered in contemporary environmental news.

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After all, individual hybrid cases are not usually officially recognized as new species since many hybrids are unable to reproduce.

News of the hybrid spotted in the wild during navy-funded research to study the effects of sonar, proves the "genetic diversity of the ocean", Sea Life park curator Jeff Pawloski said. "I always thought they were out there in the wild existing - it only makes sense", he said.

Two of the ocean's most beloved sea creatures morph into one incredible animal, as a team of researchers discovered in the past year.

A likely scenario for how the hybrid came to be a melon-headed whale getting separated from its group and ending up travelling with rough-toothed dolphins.

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The male hybrid presents an opportunity to look for others.

Scientists don't know how old it is but believe it's close to adult age.

SEE ALSO: Iceland gets away with killing dozens of huge, endangered whales.

This latest hybrid animal is not the first to be branded with the "wholfin" name.

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