Don't call this melon-headed, rough-toothed dolphin hybrid a 'wholphin'

Rare whale-dolphin hybrid discovered in Hawaii, scientists say

The animal was seen past 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.

The label "wholphin" was the name given to a hybrid born in 1985 at Hawaii's Sea Life Park of a false killer whale and an Atlantic bottle-nose dolphin. Even if hybrids can reproduce, they'd likely face other challenges in their environment, like being disadvantaged by their uniquely inherited traits or competition from other species.

Scientists first discovered off the coast of Hawaii cub krupnosortnogo melon-headed whale and dolphins.

The team was able to obtain a biopsy, using a crossbow equipped with a special dart that prevents deep penetration and returns a skin sample. In the 11-day period, the scientists made hundreds of sightings of various species such as bottlenose dolphins, rough-toothed dolphins, sperm whales, and spinner dolphins.

The whale-dolphin hybrid is the first recorded example of an offspring of melon-headed whales and rough-toothed dolphins, and only the third recorded sighting of a Delphinidae hybrid in the wild. This provided additional information on the effects which Navy sonar has on local marine life. The family covers sea dolphins and some whales, which is why inter-species breeding is possible.

Rough-toothed dolphins are also known to swim in tropical and warmer temperate waters.

The melon-headed whale, which the researchers also observed hanging around during their expedition, is also relatively rare in the waters of Hawaii. "Based on the genetics, the father was a rough-toothed dolphin and the mother a melon-headed whale".

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

"After studying the morphological characteristics of the photos, we realized that it was a hybrid of two different species", says marine biologist Robin Baird.

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

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

Although they are present in all three major oceans, rough-toothed dolphins are still not as widely studied as other dolphin species.

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

"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".

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