Clymene Dolphin May Be A Product Of Natural Hybridization

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Natural hybridization between two dolphin species likely helped to bring about the mysterious clymene dolphin, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

Researchers from several institutions found in a molecular analysis that spinner dolphins and striped dolphins helped create the clymene dolphin. Questions about the clymene dolphin’s origins have been unanswered for many years, so the team from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History’s Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, the University of Lisbon, and other contributing groups decided to solve this riddle once and for all.

Taxonomists originally considered the clymene dolphin a subspecies of the spinner dolphin,but in 1981, scientists began to recognize it as a distinct species. However, the latest study sought to clarify its origins, finding that it was a result of natural hybridization.

“Our study represents the first such documented instance of a marine mammal species originating through the hybridization of two other species,”stated Ana R. Amaral, lead author of the study and research associate at the American Museum of Natural History. “This also provides us with an excellent opportunity to better understand the mechanisms of evolution.”

Clymene dolphins have a similar physical appearance to their relatives, and the latest genetic results show why. Natural hybridization is a fairly common process in the evolutionary history of plants, fishes and birds, but is considered rare among mammals.

Written By: Lee Rannals
continue to source article at redorbit.com

5 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting notion, natural hybridization. The reverse of specietion (sp?) It must bedevil evolutionary biologists. And I wonder if that explains the traces of Neanderthal DNA in modern homo sapiens.

  2. I has been said many times – “Species” is an artificially devised classification, which can have vague boundaries where intermediates have not died out, or subspecies have not separated enough for offspring to be sterile.
    There are many examples (especially in plants) where sub-species are only separated geographically, so when they are brought together by humans in gardens or zoos, they can cross-breed to produce either fertile or sterile hybrids.

    • In reply to #3 by Alan4discussion:

      I has been said many times – “Species” is an artificially devised classification, which can have vague boundaries where intermediates have not died out, or subspecies have not separated enough for offspring to be sterile.
      There are many examples (especially in plants) where sub-species are only…

      It is a common error, especially among those who do not, or refuse to, understand even the basic tenets of evolution to consider a species a fixed and unchanged entity. The truth is that the only fixed example of a species is the one living now. You, and me, and my dog and so on. Our descendants and our ancestors are different. Not very different, true, but different none the less. All species are fluid and constantly changing with every generation.

      A common, and surprisingly neglected in discussion, example of the cross hybridisation of two “Close but no cigar” species is the almost invariably infertile offspring of horses and donkeys. “Almost” invariable because of a recent and remarkable example in (I think) the Caucases region of a mule that gave birth to a live and viable foal.

      • In reply to #4 by Sheepdog:

        In reply to #3 by Alan4discussion:

        It is a common error, especially among those who do not, or refuse to, understand even the basic tenets of evolution to consider a species a fixed and unchanged entity.

        I have hybrid plants which I have personally produced from geographically separated related species, using hand pollination. Such hybrids can easily occur in the wild where expansion into overlapping habitats of once separated species or sub-species produces hybrids, It can go on to re-integrate them into a larger more diverse gene-pool. It can also give rise to totally new species, where a hybrid mutates to become polyploid.

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