Half whale, half dolphin . . . just call me a wolphin

Kimberly A. Wood under Cascadia Research Collective NMFS permit 20605

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.

While surveying whales and dolphins off the Hawaiian Islands, scientists spotted a creature they've never seen before: a peculiar hybrid between a dolphin and a small whale.

Some other news organisations have described the melon-headed whale and rough-toothed dolphin hybrid as a new species.

They were able to take a sample for a biopsy, which confirmed their suspicions. 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.

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.

Cascadia has conducted field research in the Canadian Arctic, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawai'i, Mexico, and the waters off Central America. "It isn't and shouldn't be considered a new species", Robin Baird, a biologist with the research group, told HuffPost.

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Scientists are reluctant to use the term, however, and Dr Baird said the animals can not be considered their own species without more widespread hybridisation. "And to know she has cousins out there in the ocean is an unbelievable thing to know".

"I wouldn't be surprised if there are more hybrids between the two species ― they do associate quite regularly", Baird said.

We all know the Tiger Lion hybrid the Liger, or the Zebra Horse hybrid: the Zorse and of course the ill-fated Human Chimpanzee hybrid; the humanzee.

Despite the name, melon-headed whales aren't actually whales - they're part of the dolphin family, and they tend to swim in large pods with hundreds of others of their kind.

It's unknown whether this new animal - which the researchers named Steno bredanensis - could produce viable offspring, but in any case, one hybrid animal does not make a new species.

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

Below the leading edge of the dorsal fin, the patterns on it were like those of melon-headed whales, but at the base of and immediately below the dorsal fin, it had darker-colored blotches, similar to those found on rough-toothed dolphins.

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