Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Dolphin-Whale Hybrid: Rare New Species Discovered off Hawaii Coast

Dolphin-Whale Hybrid: Rare New Species Discovered off Hawaii Coast

The animal was seen a year ago, 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.

Baird told ABC News the hybrid animal was pictured with a single melon-headed whale both times they spotted it, which added to the mystery surrounding the unusual animal.

To make matters more jumbled, a melon-headed whale is one of the various species that is called a whale but is technically a dolphin.

Scientists from the Cascadia Research Collective have discovered a rare dolphin-whale hybrid off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii, according to a report published last week.

Baird continued to explain that the "morphological appearance" of the animal promoted researchers to get a biopsy sample.

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The new hybrid marine mammal is part rough-toothed dolphin and part melon-headed whale - which presents all kinds of opportunities for portmanteau names should these creatures become more common. Note that the hybrid shares some physical characteristics with members of both species, including the colorization of the whale and a snout that resembles his dolphin brethren.

Apart from the unique hybrid find, the scientists also observed a group of melon-headed whales as well as pantropical spotted dolphins.

Remember being a kid and wondering what it would be like if a dolphin and a whale got together and created a dolphin-whale combo sea creature with special powers?

They plan to return to Kaua'i next month to continue their research.

The dolphin-whale hybridization is especially surprising in this region, as a sighting of melon-headed whales had never before been confirmed near the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) navy base.

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The hybrid had a typical melon-headed whale's dorsal fin shape and dorsal cape, but it was also blotchy in pigmentation and had a sloping forehead, more reminiscent of a rough-toothed dolphin.

It is, however, a delight to be reporting on new species which are emerging, as it is often the opposite which is covered in contemporary environmental news.

Some news organisations have described the melon-headed whale and rough-toothed dolphin hybrid as a new species, but other things would still need to occur, including more widespread hybridisation.

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

A mule, for instance, is a hybrid between a male donkey and a female horse.

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The hybrid named Keikaimalu still lives at the marine mammal park, where she helps teach children about genetics.

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