Scientists: 1st sighting of dolphin hybrid is no ‘wholphin’

Rare whale-dolphin hybrid discovered in Hawaii, scientists say

They tagged a pair of the melon-headed whales that live in the region to see where they traveled, only to realize one didn't look quite like it should. Kekaimalu, the only known living first-generation wolphin, which is a cross between a false killer whale and Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, gave birth to a female calf in 2004, and today the two live together at Oahu's Sea Life Park.

"I think calling it a wholphin just confuses the situation more than it already is".

Despite it being a hybrid of a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin, scientists have said not to call it a "wholphin".

'That isn't the case, although there are examples where hybridisation has resulted in a new species, ' he said.

A whale-dolphin hybrid was observed by scientists in Hawaii in August of a year ago.

Scientists say the animal likely came to be when a melon-headed whale was separated from its group and ending up traveling with rough-toothed dolphins.

Manyoutlets described the creature as a "wholphin".

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.

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While the discovery of this hybrid's existence is certainly a great accomplishment, Huffington Post cautions that calling it an entirely new species - which many reports have been doing - may be jumping the gun.

Scientists who found the specimen tracked numerous species during a study off the island of Kauai previous year. "Based on the genetics, the father was a rough-toothed dolphin and the mother a melon-headed whale". "We were able to get a biopsy sample of the animal" as reported by

'This is the first known hybrid between these two species'.

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

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. For one thing, hybrids can occur when the paternal species goes through a population drop and "individuals have difficulty finding mates".

Scientists do not know how old the hybrid is, but believe it is close to adult age.

This latest hybrid animal is not the first to be branded with the "wholfin" name. Wholphins have also been conceived in captivity with the last one at Sea Life Park in Hawaii.

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