In 2017, a group of scientists discovered a new species – an animal that seemed to be a mix of dolphin and whale. Turns out, it’s actually a rare hybrid.
The new species was spotted swimming next to a melon-headed whale in Hawaii.
“Melon-headed whales have a very rounded head, and rough-toothed dolphins have a very long, gently sloping rostrum, or beak,” says Robin Baird, a researcher for Cascadia Research Collective. “Instead of having a rounded head like a melon-headed whale or the long, sloping rostrum of a rough-toothed dolphin, it had something in between. So it had a sloping rostrum, but a relatively short one.”
Melon-headed whales are not actually whales but belong to the dolphin family. Still, this is the first time that a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin hybrid was spotted.