Sunday, April 17, 2005

Whale-Dolphin Hybrid reproduces!

"Whale-Dolphin Hybrid Has Baby Wholphin." By Jeannette J. Lee. Associated Press, 14 Apr 2005. The World's Only Known Whale-Dolphin Hybrid Gives Birth to Playful Female Calf, a Wholphin.

Excerpts - 'The world's only known whale-dolphin hybrid has given birth to a playful female calf, officials at Sea Life Park Hawaii said Thursday. The calf was born on Dec. 23 to Kekaimalu, the only known living hybrid of a false killer whale and an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin.

The young as-yet unnamed wholphin is one-fourth false killer whale and three-fourths Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Her slick skin is an even blend of a dolphin's light gray and the black coloring of a false killer whale. She is jumbo-sized compared to purebred dolphins, and is already the size of a one-year-old bottlenose.

"It's very significant in the scientific world that they are able to reproduce because it shakes family and class information on these two species of dolphins and whales."

Kekaimalu was born 19 years ago after a surprise coupling between a 14-foot, 2,000-pound false killer whale and a 6-foot, 400-pound dolphin. Kekaimalu has given birth to two other calves. One lived for nine years and the other, born when Kekaimalu was very young, died a few days after birth. Park researchers suspect the wholphin's father is a 15-foot long Atlantic bottlenose dolphin named Mikioi, who has not shown any behavioral changes since the birth.

False killer whales grow to 20 feet long, weigh up to two tons and have a tapering, rounded snout that overhangs their toothed jaw. Atlantic bottlenose dolphins reach a maximum size of 12 feet and can weigh up to 700 pounds.

Read the complete article here.

Thanks to Huang Danwei for the alert.

1 comment:

chengpuay said...

Hey I was planning to post that one! Sigh... the result of procrastination. Anyway my students were very interested in the news too.