New species of hybrid dolphin discovered in Hawaii
02 August, 2018, 22:00 | Author: Angel Logan
The so-called wolphin has been confirmed by scientists after it was spotted on a research trip near Kauai island.
While surveying whales and dolphins off the Hawaiian Islands, scientists spotted a creature they've never seen before: a peculiar hybrid between a dolphin and a small whale.
The hybrid had a typical melon-headed whale's dorsal fin shape and dorsal cape, but it was also blotchy in pigmentation and had a sloping forehead, more reminiscent of a rough-toothed dolphin.
Researchers off the coast of Kauai spotted something weird in mid-July: a odd hybrid creature that's a mix between a rough-toothed dolphin and a melon-headed whale. The unusual thing about this case, he added, was that scientists only saw one melon-headed whale (not counting the hybrid) spending time with a group of rough-toothed dolphins. The biologist confirmed to HuffPost that the whale-dolphin hybrid "isn't and shouldn't be considered a new species".
Cascadia has conducted field research in the Canadian Arctic, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawai'i, Mexico, and the waters off Central America.
However, reports identifying the animal as a "wholphin" are entirely false, they say.
"We're hoping that just by talking to some tour operators and fishermen, especially folks heading across the channel to Niihau, we might get tips and encounter something like pilot whales", Baird said, as he outlined his plans to track the species further. 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.
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.
He said: "Calling it something like a wholphin doesn't make any sense".
Two of the ocean's most beloved sea creatures morph into one unbelievable animal, as a team of researchers discovered in the past year.
Which is a technical way of saying this odd fellow didn't have look exactly like the other whales, but it also didn't look exactly like the other dolphins.
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.
Scientists don't know how old it is but believe it's close to adult age.
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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