Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Some Hybrid Animal Math

An animal of one species plus one of another species usually results in two animals wondering why they were confined to the same enclosed area. Or, you know, lunch. But as our friend the zedonk has taught us, some species can interbreed, creating hybrid offspring that are often tragically infertile but always adorably named.

Beefalo (domestic cattle + American bison)

Yakow (a.k.a. dzo or zho; domestic cattle + yak)

Yakalo (a.k.a. alternative bison; yak + American bison)

EDIT: A reader has informed me that the animal pictured here is not a yakalo but a Himalayan ovine called the takin. There is a photo of a yakalo in this Modern Farmer piece, however.

Zubron (domestic cattle + wisent, the European bison known in Polish as ┼╝ubr)

Note: Zubron beat out hundreds of other choices in a Polish contest to name this creature in 1969. I love learning about other countries’ national pastimes.

Geep (sheep + goat)

Note: A sheep-goat hybrid can also be called a shoat, but let’s not since that word already refers to a baby pig. We don’t want to throw a third animal into this mess.

Cama (camel + llama)

Note: The resemblance to cama, the Spanish word for “bed,” is entirely coincidental, as these hybrid beasts of burden are used not for sleeping but instead more as one might use a loveseat.

Huarizo (male llama + female alpaca)

Note: I would have called it a alallamapacala.

Coydog (male coyote + female dog)

Note: The product of love between a male dog and a female coyote, however, would be a dogote. I’m perplexed about animals that take their names regardless of the gender of their parents, as opposed to animals like this one whose parents’ genders seem to dictate its name. A coyote-wolf hybrids seem to be called a coywolf in all instances — a pity, since wolfote is fun to say. Also, dog-wolf hybrids are known variously as the Kunming Wolfdog, the Saarlooswolfhond and other names, but tragically never as the dolf or the wog.

Wholphin (whale + dolphin)

Note: Thank Dave Eggers for making you know this.

Mule (male donkey + female horse) and hinny (male horse + female donkey)

Note: Pictured here are hinnies. Because god dammit you should have seen a mule by this point in your life.

Yet even more zebroid madness:
Donkra (male donkey + female zebra)
Zorse or Zebrule (male zebra + female horse)
Zony (male zebra + female pony)
Zetland (male zebra + female Shetland)
Zebrass (male zebra + any female ass)
Zebret or Zebrinny (female zebra + male donkey)
Hebra or Horbra (female zebra + male horse)

Note: A peculiarly high number of names exist for zebra hybrids. I can only assume that zebras are the most sex-positive members of the equine family.

Wallaroo (wallaby + kangaroo)

Note: The casual observer would have difficulty in differentiating the kangaroo-wallaby offspring from mere smallish kangaroos and largish wallabies. Veterans of the Australian outback, however, can spot the hybrids easily, as wallaroos tend to spend their day seeing how many small rocks they can stuff in their pouches and then try to show off to their full-blooded counterparts.

Blynx (lynx + bobcat)

Note: Pictured feline is not a blynx. I could not find any pictures clearly marked as being of bobcat-lynx hybrids, so Pretty Kitty is subbing in. But isn’t Pretty Kitty pretty? Yes him is! Yes him is!

Caraval (female serval + male caracal)

Note: After much searching, I found the above image, which I understand to depict a typical caraval, known worldwide for its elaborate parades and buxom dancers. The offspring of a male serval and a female caracal would be a servical. Whereas caravals are celebrated by many South Americans on the last day before Lent, servicals are celebrated by Ecuadorians twelve days after Christmas, on the day known to Catholics as Epiphany.

Pumapard (puma + leopard)

Note: Is fun to say! This particular pumapard, however, is sad to look at.

Note: If zebras are harlots, making stripey babies with any member of the equine world that trots their way and offers them a sugar cube, then the Panthera genus is a sort of megafeline swinger party. Wikipedia lays out the various combinations that can result from the mating of lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards and notes the names of each. (Personal favorites: Leopon, Leguar and the puzzling Dogla.) No pictures needed. They all look about the same — like cats, but bigger. Read about them at your local Wikipedia!

The Grizzly-polar hybrid bear (a.k.a. the Pizzly or the Grolar)

Note: Is last because the best picture I could find depicts a dead pizzly. Whamp-whamp.

Now that you know some of the more famous mammal hybrids, can you make your own new crimes against nature? Let your imagination run wild! But please — show your work.

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