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Wholphins, Ligers, And Other Crazy Animals Hybrids (PHOTOS)

Huffington Post     First Posted: 09/24/2010 3:47 pm   Updated: 05/25/2011 5:45 pm

You've probably seen a hybrid in your time. The mule is a hybrid between the horse and a donkey. Plants and flowers are frequently mixed to create new, fantastic colors. But sometimes mixing up two species seems just plain wrong.

As a matter of fact, The New York Times reports that some biologists estimate that as many as 10 percent of animal species and up to 25 percent of plant species may occasionally breed with another species.

The result may sometimes be a distinct new species that is stronger or larger than the originals (like the terrifying prospect of a rock python and Burmese python in Florida) but often the hybrid is a genetic dead end, infertile and unable to reproduce.

We've rounded up some amazing examples of animals that have been bred in captivity, or have even found each other in the wild to produce a brand new animal.

The Wholphin
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In May of 1985, it became abundantly clear that Punahele, a female dolphin at Hawaii Sea Life Park, had been doing more than just swimming with the false killer whale in her tank.

She gave birth to Kekaimalu, a whale/dolphin hybrid that combined the traits of her 2000 pound father and 400 pound mother. While a dolphin has 44 teeth, and the false killer whale (which is also in the dolphin family) has 88, Kekaimalu has 66.

Unlike many animal hybrids, Kekaimalu is fertile and has given birth to three baby wholphins. One died in infancy, another died at nine years old. The third, Kawili Kai (pictured), was born in 2005 and is living in the park with her mom. A quarter false killer whale and three quarters dolphin, Kawili Kai was the size of a year old dolphin at only a few months.
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Totally Normal

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