Scientists spot unique whale-dolphin hybrid near Hawaii

Scientists spot unique whale-dolphin hybrid near Hawaii

"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.

A new species of aquatic mammal, a hybrid of a whale and a dolphin, has been identified in waters near Hawaii.

Fast forward to a year ago, when a team of scientists with the Cascadia Research Collective on an expedition near the island of Kauai spotted a odd creature - not quite a melon-headed whale, not fully a rough-toothed dolphin.

However, for that to happen other things need to occur, including more widespread hybridisation, Baird said.

Scientists are reluctant to use the term, however, and Dr Baird said the animals can not be considered their own species without more widespread hybridisation.

Although many reports have called the wholphin a brand new species, in reality, this isn't the first time a whale/dolphin hybrid has been found.

"There's no evidence to suggest it's leading toward anything like species formation".

A team of scientists with the Cascadia Research Collective got a surprise previous year. The team suspects this single whale to be the mother of the hybrid.

The organization wrote in a paper on Friday that after a biopsy of a sample collected from the creature in August 2017, suspicions were confirmed: The offspring of two species never before been known to mate, despite occasionally swimming in mixed groups, well, had.

And while this is a new find, it's not quite a "new species", as is being reported web-wide.

Two of the ocean's most beloved sea creatures morph into one incredible animal, as a team of researchers discovered in the past year. Science known cases where genetic hybrids are either completely sterile, or are reproduced with great difficulty, as is the case with the mule - a hybrid of a donkey and a Mare.

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

A whale-dolphin hybrid was discovered thanks to the efforts of scientists in Hawaii.

This latest hybrid animal is not the first to be branded with the "wholfin" name. The whales swam south of Kauai and then back to the channel between Maui and Oahu, while the dolphins lingered just off the coast of Hawaii before diving into deeper waters.

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

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