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

Kimberly A. Wood under Cascadia Research Collective NMFS permit 20605

Kimberly A. Wood under Cascadia Research Collective NMFS permit 20605

And, perhaps surprisingly, you might even be a hybrid yourself, considering scientists have identified slight traces of Neanderthal DNA in humans.

The rare creature has predictably been termed a "wholphin" in media coverage, but Dr Robin Baird, one of the study's authors, has urged reporters to resist the tempting portmanteau.

'I think calling it a wholphin just confuses the situation more than it already is'. One melon-headed whale was also spotted chilling with a pod of rough-toothed dolphins.

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

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.

The cross appears to be the first instance of a wild-born hybrid between the two species.

Manyoutlets described the creature as a "wholphin".

The melon-headed whales are typically found in deep, tropical waters across the globe.

The cetacean was first spotted in August 2017, by researchers with the Cascadia Research Collective on a two-week field trip funded by the US Navy to document marine life around the Pacific Missile Range Facility ahead of a training course. Genetic analysis showed the whale-dolphin hybrid seemed to be a first-generation mixture of the two different species which, despite the melon-headed whale's name, are both actually members of the Delphinidae family. Researchers believe a melon-headed whale was the mother of the hybrid.




To continue to study the tropical Hawaiian waters, the scientists plan to return to the coast in August where they spotted the animal to continue their research.

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

About the discovery of a new species of dolphins, scientists have not yet spoken, because it is not known whether this is a new animal to create viable offspring.

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

The male hybrid presents an opportunity to look for others.

A likely scenario for how the hybrid came to be a melon-headed whale getting separated from its group and ending up travelling with rough-toothed dolphins.

The male "wholphin", which is believed to be close to adult age, was spotted swimming with dolphins near the island of Kauai past year, according to Dr Robin Baird, the marine biologist who headed the expedition.

It's unclear if this is true for this latest hybrid animal. 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.

Recommended News

  • Great-grandmother and kids killed in California wildfires

    Great-grandmother and kids killed in California wildfires

    Temperatures were forecast to reach 42.8degC on Saturday, with winds of up to 13kmh, according to the National Weather Service . A 32-year-old man has been arrested and charged with 15 arson counts, though it is still unclear if he started the Carr fire.
    Trump Paid Hush Money to 3 More Women, 1 Pregnant, Says Avenatti

    Trump Paid Hush Money to 3 More Women, 1 Pregnant, Says Avenatti

    The judge is also considering whether to continue delaying Daniels' case because Cohen is under federal investigation in NY . Avenatti has been representing Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) in a lawsuit against Trump and Cohen.
    Twitter’s stock plunges on weak user numbers

    Twitter’s stock plunges on weak user numbers

    Twitter shares have more than doubled over the past year as it shows signs of sustaining profitability after years of losses. Twitter shares tumbled 19 per cent to $34.75 in afternoon trading, marking their biggest one-day drop since October 6, 2016.
  • I don't blame Bottas for collision - Vettel

    I don't blame Bottas for collision - Vettel

    I was the only one damaged, which was fair enough. "I wasn't sure what was going on", Vettel said. I don't believe there's ever a moment that you've got your hands on the title or the trophy.
    Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi released from Israeli prison

    Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi released from Israeli prison

    Israeli police said they were caught in the act along with another Palestinian and arrested for vandalism. She was aged 16 at the time and turned 17 in prison. "I salute everyone who supported me and my case".
    Cubs acquire Cole Hamels in trade with Rangers

    Cubs acquire Cole Hamels in trade with Rangers

    The Cubs, however, don't appear to be discussing the possibility of taking on all of that almost $14MM commitment. He was activated from the 60-day disabled list Tuesday after being sidelined by a right groin strain.
  • Harley-Davidson will launch an all-electric motorcycle

    Harley-Davidson will launch an all-electric motorcycle

    Harley-Davidson has been in the media recently for its overseas production and battle with President Trump. Smaller bikes, electric engines, online sales and urban storefronts, Harley-Davidson, we hardly knew you.
    British Foreign Secretary makes 'Japanese wife' gaffe in China

    British Foreign Secretary makes 'Japanese wife' gaffe in China

    At the beginning of their meeting, Hunt sparked laughter when he misidentified his Chinese-born wife as being Japanese. Hunt was using visit to show Britain's commitment to deepening ties post-Brexit between the nations.
    A good end to a bad week for President Trump

    A good end to a bad week for President Trump

    Later, Giuliani added: "I don't see how he has any credibility". "Anything you can think of", the employee said. CNN quoted sources as saying Cohen lacks evidence such as an audio recording to corroborate his account.
  • Willian absent from Chelsea training amid Real Madrid rumours

    Willian absent from Chelsea training amid Real Madrid rumours

    Which makes reports that he failed to report back to the club for pre-season training on the expected date all the more unusual . They are confident that the situation is not a repeat of the Diego Costa saga which plagued last year's pre-season preparations.
    Manafort hid millions in foreign accounts, USA  prosecutor says

    Manafort hid millions in foreign accounts, USA prosecutor says

    If the judge rules in their favor, prosecutors could present evidence that delves deeper into Manafort's Russian connections. Last week, Ellis issued a series of guidelines for topics that would be off limits during the Manafort trial.
    New Samsung smartphone with 'Infinity Display' in India next week

    New Samsung smartphone with 'Infinity Display' in India next week

    The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, unveiled earlier this year, came with 128GB and 256GB internal storage, and rumours are the Note 9 will be offering up to 512GB.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.