Here’s What You Get When a Whale and a Dolphin Mate

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The so-called wolphin has been confirmed by scientists after it was spotted on a research trip near Kauai island.

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. "Based on the genetics, the father was a rough-toothed dolphin and the mother a melon-headed whale". The family covers sea dolphins and some whales, which is why inter-species breeding is possible. 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.

The researchers were in the area to study the marine mammals and other creatures that live in the area around the Pacific Missile Range Facility.

Cascadia has conducted field research in the Canadian Arctic, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawai'i, Mexico, and the waters off Central America.

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

News of the hybrid animal hit headlines across the globe when a paper describing the find was published in July 2018.

In conversation with CBS News, Baird said that the team will return to the island next month, where they aim to do further testing of the surrounding areas.

'Genetic analyses of a biopsy sample obtained from the putative hybrid in comparison to a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin indicated that the individual has the genotype expected for an F1 hybrid at 11 of 14 nucleotide positions, ' the authors wrote.

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Two of the ocean's most beloved sea creatures morph into one wonderful animal, as a team of researchers discovered in the past year. "It isn't and shouldn't be considered a new species", Robin Baird, a biologist with the research group, told HuffPost.

The male hybrid presents an opportunity to look for others.

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.

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

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

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.

Four years later, Keikaimalu was born at Hawaii's Sea Life Park in Hawaii, the result of "an unplanned union" between a false killer whale and an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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