New Hybrid Dolphin: Neat Curiosity or Bad Omen? Page 2

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"It is not clear if diminishing populations led to these hybridization phenomena," Amaral said. "There also can be other contributing factors, such as the need to explore new habitat with new resources."

If human activities affected the dolphins' original habitat and food supply, then we could be partly responsible for the spinner-striped dolphin matings.

It is known that all of these dolphins are susceptible to incidental capture as bycatch in fishing nets. They are also directly hunted for either human consumption or shark bait. Pollution, habitat loss and climate change pose additional threats.

Photos: Sharks, Marine Mammals Hang In Paradise

As it stands, it's unclear if the emergence of clymene dolphins signals good or bad news for ocean ecosystems.

"Very little is known about the clymene dolphin, whose scientific name translated from Greek is 'oceanid,' but ironically also can mean 'fame' or 'notoriety,'" Howard Rosenbaum, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Ocean Giants program said.

Further research may determine if the clymene will gain fame as a marine mammal novelty, or notoriety as further evidence that marine mammal populations are in jeopardy.

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