Researchers Off Kauai Discovered a Strange New Whale/Dolphin Hybrid

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Scientists found a hybrid between a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin in the ocean off the Hawaiian island of Kauai past year.

And while many reports have referred to the animal as a whale-dolphin hybrid, it's worth mentioning that technically, melon-headed whales are part of a scientific family of ocean dolphins called Delphinidae. 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 off the coast of Hawaii have discovered a never-before-seen hybrid sea creature ― a cross between a rough-toothed dolphin and a melon-headed whale.

However, it wasn't until a biopsy that they were able to confirm their suspicions.

However, this specific case is unusual since only one melon-headed whale was seen mingling with a group of rough-toothed dolphins.

A whale-dolphin hybrid was observed by scientists in Hawaii in August of previous year. The biologist confirmed to HuffPost that the whale-dolphin hybrid "isn't and shouldn't be considered a new species".

From the Pacific Missile Range Facility range, the Navy were able to record acoustics of the animals in their habitat, which they were then able to pass over to Baird and his crew.

Scientists have spotted a hybrid whale-dolphin off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii.

Cascadia has conducted field research in the Canadian Arctic, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawai'i, Mexico, and the waters off Central America.

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He said: "That isn't the case, although there are example where hybridisation has resulted in a new species". 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.

'I always thought they were out there in the wild existing - it only makes sense, ' he said.

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

The researchers also determined that the hybrid is a male and that he stayed particularly close to its melon-headed whale companion for the duration of the observation period.

Hybrids generally occur when there is a decline in the population in one of the parental species.

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.

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.

Killer whales (Orcas) are also Delphinidae or dolphins.

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