Monday, December 19, 2005

Animal of the Week of the Year, 2005

Dear All,
I don't really believe I have been doing this for a whole year... this time last year, there were four people on the mailing list for my sporadic nonsensical outpourings. Little would I have believed you if you'd told me that 12 months hence there would be over 130 people receiving said nonsense (it may not sound like many, but I'm impressed). Still here we are. Thanks to everyone who voted, the results are now in! There was an early surge centred around a certain Kennington residence for the flammulated owl (24/01/05). However, as in the fable of the hare and the tortoise, slow and solid voting for Brian Sewellel (the mountain beaver [25/07/05]) took this weepy eyed bundle of fluff out into the lead. The mountain beaver managed to fight of the challenge mounted by the Sunda stink badger (04/04/05), but in the end was bested by your Animal of the Week of the Year, 2005: the wholphin (18/04/05)! I had a look and can't find any updates on the health or the name of the do-wholphin calf, but nevermind. Anyway, that's me done for this year, have lovely holidays/new years. See you in 2006.

Hello Lovelies,
This week's animal of the week is a tricky one, normally I just rattle off the latin name, put the common name in brackets after, and then launch into the informative and entertaining text about the animals. But, in a break with style, this is not about a whole species, rather it's about Kekaimalu and her un-named daughter -- the world's only known wholphins!

19-year-old Kekaimalu was born from an unholy union between a female bottle-nosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and a male false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens). Now, the saucy thing has gone and had a female calf with another bottle nosed dolphin. Typically species hybrids are infertile (mules, for example, so rarely are able to have offspring that such an event is considered a portent of Armageddon in parts of north Africa), so no-one expected the only wholphin to be able to reproduce.

The convention for naming hybrids (mule doesn't fit obviously) is to combine the first part of the sire species' common name with the latter part of the dam species' common name, hence wholphin (male whale, female dolphin)--in researching this week's animal I came across the example of li-liger (cat sired by a lion with liger dam [male lion X female tiger]), so really the calf is a do-wholphin! Other hybrids include ligers and tigons, leguars, lijaguleps (I kid you not). Some of you may be interested in this website, which contains, among the many battles, an account of a fight between a lijagulep and a giant anteater I do not believe it to be true.


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