Don't call dolphin hybrid spotted off Hawaii a 'wholphin'

Don't call dolphin hybrid spotted off Hawaii a 'wholphin'

Don't call dolphin hybrid spotted off Hawaii a 'wholphin'

The hybrid was especially rare because of its melon-headed genes: The toothed-whales are rarely seen in these Hawaiian waters, the researchers wrote. They belong to the Delphinidae family, otherwise known as oceanic dolphins, which also includes orcas and two species of pilot whales.

Some news organisations have described the melon-headed whale and rough-toothed dolphin hybrid as a new species, but other things would still need to occur for this to be the case, including more widespread hybridisation, Mr Baird said.

In a study published last week, experts said the animal first spotted off the island of Kauai in August 2017 appears to be the first time there has been a hybrid between the two species.

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.

"It isn't and shouldn't be considered a new species", Robin Baird, a biologist with the research group, told HuffPost in an email. Note that the hybrid shares some physical characteristics with members of both species, including the colorization of the whale and a snout that resembles his dolphin brethren.

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The Navy-funded research had aimed to study the effects of sonar.

Kimberly A Wood/Cascadia Research The hybrid is in the front, with the melon-headed whale that researchers suspect is the mother. Aww!

The team was able to obtain a biopsy, using a crossbow equipped with a special dart that prevents deep penetration and returns a skin sample.

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

He said: "Calling it something like a wholphin doesn't make any sense".

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

The male "wholphin", which is believed to be close to adult age, was spotted swimming with dolphins near the island of Kauai previous year, according to Dr Robin Baird, the marine biologist who headed the expedition.

But an animal hybrid doesn't necessarily mean a new species - not even established hybrids, such as the mule. The Wholphin is a rare find in the wild and can only be produced by the mating of a female bottle nosed dolphin and a male killer whale.

"To know she has cousins out there in the ocean is an wonderful thing to know", said Sea Life park curator Jeff Pawloski in response to the new discovery, which he said was proof of the "genetic diversity of the ocean".

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