First ever 'wholphin' hybrid spotted in wild

First ever 'wholphin' hybrid spotted in wild

First ever 'wholphin' hybrid spotted in wild

Here's where things get a little confusing though, because melon-headed whales are technically part of the oceanic dolphin family, AKA Delphinidae.

This is the first hybrid of these two types.

The sighting is also only the third confirmed instance of a wild-born hybrid between species in the Delphinidae family.

The animal was seen previous year, but a new report from Cascadia Research Collective confirms the sea creature is the result of a whale and a dolphin mating, the team's head researcher told CBS News. "I wouldn't be surprised if there are more hybrids between the two species ― they do associate quite regularly".

"Based on the genetics, the father was a rough-toothed dolphin and the mother a melon-headed whale", he told the outlet.

The animal was spotted off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii in August 2017, as detailed in a new report from Cascadia Research Collective and first reported by local newspaper The Garden Island.

Both pigmentation and morphological characteristics suggested it may be a hybrid resulting from a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin mating, scientists explained in the new report.

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

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We all know the Tiger Lion hybrid the Liger, or the Zebra Horse hybrid: the Zorse and of course the ill-fated Human Chimpanzee hybrid; the humanzee.

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.

While some news organizations have described the hybrid as a new species, research biologist Robin Baird says in order for that to happen other things need to occur, including more widespread hybridization.

"To know she has cousins out there in the ocean is an fantastic thing to know".

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.

The hybrid was only traveling with one companion - a melon-headed whale.

Some hybrid animals, such as the mule - a hybrid of a male donkey and female horse - are mostly sterile and therefore can not propagate easily. Other animals belonging to that category are killer whales and pilot whales.

"To know she has cousins out there in the ocean is an unbelievable 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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