Hybrid Whale Discovered in Arctic

A cross between an Antarctic minke whale and a northern minke whale has been discovered. Both species of whale migrate in the spring and autumn. However, the two hemispheres’ seasons are opposite from each other. The two breeds don’t usually share waters on the same side of the equator, so the fact that one has crossed their normal boundaries is surprising. What is even more of a shocker, is finding out that not only have these whales come in contact with the other species, but they were also able to successful mate.

The DNA evidence of this finding was discovered by Geneticist, Kevin Glover. In Norway a DNA registry is kept to analyze whales that are killed for commercial use. Glover discovered that a whale hunted in the Northern Atlantic in 2007 was a hybrid of the two whale species. He also discovered that another whale, which was hunted in the Northern Atlantic in 1996, was a pure Antarctic whale.

Japanese studies of Antarctic minke whales show a decrease in the whale’s food supply and population in the southern hemisphere between the 1980s and 1990s. It could suggest that the whales are going to new territory looking for food. Scientists are not yet sure if the hybrid whale was the result of an accident, or coincidence.

Sources: National Geographic

Nita Michelle

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