Scientists confirmed this month that a strange marine animal first spotted in Hawaii in 2017 is in fact a new type of dolphin hybrid, according to news sources.
The hybrid animal is a combination of two already rare members of the oceanic dolphin family, the rough-toothed dolphin and the melon-headed whale. The hybrid is the first of its kind to ever be seen, and only the third confirmed instance of dolphin family hybrids in general, according to ABC News. The head of the project, Robin Baird, told local Kauai publication The Garden Island that it was a “most unusual finding.”
This kind of sight at sea is comparable to spotting a snow leopard on land. Most types of dolphins and whales swim in deep waters, making them difficult to study and unlikely to encounter.
The discovery is very exciting, but CNN reported that the dolphin hybrid is not yet considered a new species. More of the same type of marine animal would need to be seen in order to consider it a species. Baird’s research team is heading back to Kauai this year to try find more and to continue their research.
As infrequent as these types of encounters with deep-sea dolphins are, they do still occur. Earlier this year, the guests of And You Creations’ dolphin swim tour Dolphins and You were treated to a sighting of rare Pygmy Killer Whales. And it was all captured by the tour’s photographer.
Pygmy Killer Whales Spotted on Dolphins and You Tour
During his work as a photographer with Dolphins and You, Photographer Josh was able to spend some time with the amazing and very rare Pygmy Killer Whale. One in particular was quite inquisitive, spending an unusually long time circling Josh and our boat.
It made for a truly unique experience, and one that our crew and guests will never forget,
Check out the Dolphins and You Photographer Clip with Josh’s amazing photos and footage of these animals: