Scientists Just Discovered A Dolphin-Whale Hybrid Off The Coast Of Hawaii—But That’s Not The Whole Story

So, the bad news is, we don’t have a new species of whale—or dolphin—on our hands.

The good news is, what we do have is still really, really cool.

An animal that appears to be a hybrid of a rough-toothed dolphin and a melon-headed whale was spotted off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii, in August of 2017, according to The Huffington Post.

And while this is a new find, it’s not quite a “new species,” as is being reported web-wide.

In fact, both the rough-toothed dolphin and the melon-headed whale are technically both dolphins.

Both originated from the biological family Delphinidae. Despite the name “whale,” which constitutes one of nine families of true whales, several species of dolphin carry the word whale in their names.  

Killer whales (Orcas) are also Delphinidae or dolphins.

Robin Baird, a biologist with the Cascadia Research Collective spoke to CBS News about his findings.

“Based on the genetics, the father was a rough-toothed dolphin and the mother a melon-headed whale” 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more hybrids between the two species ― they do associate quite regularly…We don’t have any information on population trends for either species in Hawaii, so can’t say whether this is the case, but we’ll be looking for evidence of additional hybrids.”

But some folks are already concerned about the new hybrids chances in the world.

As the discovery is still very new, additional hybrids—though likely—have not been pinpointed yet.  

Baird and associates plan to keep an eye on the two that were discovered through tracking to see what results it yields. 

Thus far, this news alone is incredibly exciting.

H/T: Huffington Post, Mashable