Subject: Info: Blue whale/fin whale mating II

Michael Williamson (whe_william)
Mon, 24 Mar 1995 12:33:05

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From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Info:  Blue whale/fin whale mating II
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From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 24-MAR-1995 11:15:18.94
Subj:	Fin whale / Blue whale hybrids
Date:         Fri, 24 Mar 1995 10:35:02 +0100
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Sender:       Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
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From:         Per Palsboll <>
Subject:      Fin whale / Blue whale hybrids
To:           Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
        Just to join in concerning the 'lonely' blue whales:
Of the three reported cases, the most interesting one is (as Phil
mentioned) the female hybrid which carried a fetus. This implied that such
a hybrid could indeed be fertile, and thus a potential for a 'merging' of
the two species.
However, there are a few points to keep in mind;
  i)  The fetus was quite small - and it may never have developed fully.
  ii) The fetus was a result of the hybrid mother mating with a male blue whale.
Hence the 'lonely' hybrid choosed to mate with the rarest of the two
species, and thus lend little support to the 'lonely outbreed' hypothesis.
The remaining two hybrids were sterile males 7 and 24 years old,
repspectively. In the three cases crosses happen both ways (male blues with
female fins and vice versa).
As Peter Corkeron correctly pointed out, then there are a number of
Balaenopterid species, which in fact consists of several 'subspecies'. The
most controversial finding is probably the fact that the sperm whales seem
more closely related to the baleen whales than the remainder odontocetes.
This has sparked numerous studies on the phylogeny of cetaceans as a whole,
but many of these studies will produce data which will provide additional
insight into the Balaenopterid relations.
However, the Baleanopterids are closely related genetically -- that is the
number of 'mutations' separating the genomes of these species are few --
and thus the statistical support for one branching pattern over the other
is often quite meager.
So it will probably be a while before enough data have been produced to
provide a solid basis for elucidating the branching pattern WITHIN a group
of closely related species as the Balaenopterids. The age of these species
are similar to those of higher primates (human, chimpanzee and gorilla)
which still causes a lot of debate due to lack of a sufficient amount of
Best regards
Per Palsboll
Per Palsboll, Ph.D.
Dept. of Population Biology
Zoological Institute, University of Copenhagen
Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen O, Denmark
Phone: (+45) 35 32 13 11, Fax: (+45) 35 32 13 00,
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