Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Clymene Dolphin

I'm just going to do a quick little post about the clymene dolphin, a very interesting dolphin because it seems to be a hybrid species.

Now, hybrid species tend to be rare. This is because it need two species to be able to breed and produce viable offspring, and breed enough for a new population but infrequently enough to be considered separate species rather than subspecies. In addition, the hybrids then have to prefer mating with each other rather than either of the two species, thus making it truly a species in its own right. Hybrid species are exceptionally rare among marine mammals, with the clymene dolphin being the only one science knows about currently.

The clymene dolphin seems to be a mixture of the spinner dolphin and the striped dolphin. Interestingly, clymene dolphins' have nucleic dna which is more similar to the spinner dolphin and mitochondrial dna which is more similar to the striped dolphin, which is what provides the evidence that it is a hybrid species.

This is most spectacular because not only is this a rare evolutionary process that has hardly ever been observed while all three species are alive, but it is also occurring among more advanced (evolutionarily speaking) animals, which makes it all the more incredible that we get to witness it.

Spinner Dolphin
Clymene Dolphin
Striped Dolphin

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