Whale Dolphin Hybrid Discovered Off The Coast Of Hawaii
Whale Dolphin Hybrid Discovered Off The Coast Of Hawaii
Rare whale-dolphin hybrid discovered in Hawaii, scientists say
02 August, 2018, 21:57
Perhaps in the future, there could be more dolphin and whale hybrids, but it remains to be seen if this previously rare event will become more commonplace down the line.
Scientists are touting the first sighting of a hybrid between a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin off Hawaii. He suspects the one melon-headed whale traveling with the rough-toothed dolphin group is likely the hybrid's mother and has been hanging out with the pod for a while, creating "a greater than normal likelihood of inter-species mating".
The Independent reports that scientists have discovered a rare whale-dolphin hybrid near the Hawaii coast.
"It increases their ability to understand not only how species are using the range, but what effects Navy sonar may have on them", Baird says.
In a study published last week, scientists say the animal spotted off the island of Kauai in August 2017 appears to be the first record of a hybrid involving either 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.
"If we were lucky enough to find the pair again, we would try to get a biopsy sample of the accompanying melon-headed whale, to see whether it might be the mother of the hybrid, as well as get underwater images of the hybrid to better assess morphological differences from the parent species", said Baird.
But an animal hybrid doesn't necessarily mean a new species - not even established hybrids, such as the mule.
'I always thought they were out there in the wild existing - it only makes sense, ' he said.
"This is the first hybrid between two particular species", said Robin Baird, principal investigator of the project.
"To know she has cousins out there in the ocean is an incredible thing to know".
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.
Of the creatures detected, the scientists observed rough-toothed dolphins the most times, the longest encounters of which were of the mixed-species kind, while one other sighting was of a mixed group of rough-toothed dolphins and bottlenose dolphins.
Scientists don't know how old it is but believe it's close to adult age.
But a hybrid can also tell us something interesting about animal interactions.
The hybrid, named Kekaimalu, still lives at the marine mammal park, where she helps teach children about genetics.
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