Researchers Off Kauai Discovered a Strange New Whale/Dolphin Hybrid

Aug 02, 2018, 09:29
Researchers Off Kauai Discovered a Strange New Whale/Dolphin Hybrid

One melon-headed whale was also spotted chilling with a pod of rough-toothed dolphins.

There's a new sea creature swimming in Hawaii waters, researchers with the Cascadia Research Collective recently confirmed: a whale-dolphin hybrid.

"The head shape appears intermediate between the two species, with a gently-sloping rostrum rather than the rounded-head of a melon-headed whales but which is truncated compared to rough-toothed dolphins", researchers said. The family covers sea dolphins and some whales, which is why inter-species breeding is possible. "It isn't and shouldn't be considered a new species", Robin Baird, a biologist with the research group, told HuffPost.

Whales and dolphins both belong to the same taxonomic order, and are closely enough related that offspring between them can be fertile and have been recorded although they are extremely rare.

The hybrid wolphin is in the foreground, while the melon-headed whale is in the back.

The odd pair and their closeness to the other dolphins have led the researchers to speculate that the accompanying melon-headed whale is the hybrid's mother. Nevertheless, the findings are still exciting, and scientists are hopeful that there's more discoveries to come.

They were able to take a sample for a biopsy, which confirmed their suspicions.

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. They spotted a rare - possibly one-of-a-kind - whale-dolphin hybrid off the coast of Kaua'i while studying marine species there. Interestingly, nearly dinagalu dolphins are not found in the area.

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

For an entirely new and separate species to form, two hybrid individuals would have to mate and reproduce.

A mule, for instance, is a hybrid between a male donkey and a female horse.

Melon-headed whales, he explains, usually travel together in groups of around 250.

Hybrids generally occur when there's a decline in the population in one of the parental species, so scientists will be looking out for such a decline.

Scientists do not know how old the hybrid is, but believe it is close to adult age. This, the researchers believe, could be the hybrid's mother, who is now living with her new family.

It's unclear if this is true for this latest hybrid animal.

The hybrid, named Kekaimalu, still lives at the marine mammal park, where she helps teach children about genetics.

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