Say hello to Ippo.
No, not the Japanese manga boxer (after whom he’s no doubt named), but this little fella:
He’s a zonkey. Or a zebroid. Or a zorse. Or a zony.
Or a zemule. Or a zebonkey. Or even a zebronkey.
Or a zebadonk. Or a donkra.
Or…wait for it…
…a horbra! (Just don’t say that one out loud).
Except he’s not exactly that. A horbra (careful) is technically a cross between a horse and a zebra, whereas this guy is a cross between a donkey and a zebra. Basically, he’s a zebroid.
The neat thing about a donkey-zebra hybrid is that donkeys and zebras are fairly different genetically — donkeys have 62 chromosomes, whereas zebras have between 32 and 46 — so the idea they can cross-breed helps to highlight the universality of the biological basis to all animal life. There’s no guarantee of any offspring whenever a donkey and a zebra, erm, you know, try for a baby. In fact, the odds are quite low. But yet it does happen. More often than you’d think.
Ippo was born in an animal shelter in Florence, Italy, just 4 months ago. In reporting the news, the Daily Mirror wasn’t altogether comfortable drawing on the extensive available lexicon of zebroid terms. Ever the salacious tabloid, the Mirror decided to describe poor Ippo as something else. In the end, they went with…”accidental love child“.
Brian Hughes is an academic psychologist and university professor in Galway, Ireland, specialising in stress, health, and the application of psychology to social issues. He writes widely on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, medicine, and politics.
I just recently finished darwin’s Origin Of Species, and in it he talks about the relationship between horses and zebras, and how horses with white on their faces actually have left over zebra stripes, and some breeds have 2 or 3 stripes on their sides, and others shortly after they’re born have zebra-like stripes that then go away. Humans in the womb btw have body-wide fur (including girls) which is shed before we’re born and a human fetus has a tail, which absorbs into the body.
Thanks for your comment. Yep, we’re all animals alright. Fascinating how apparent this is when looking at fetuses etc.
I am always astonished by finding out new ways in which we are similar to other species – one of the more recent ones was finding out that the amniotic sac is an egg lining and it contains an egg yolk. We lay eggs just like birds and reptiles, they just are missing the shell and stay inside until they begin to hatch.
(Perhaps better to be talking about embryos here, rather than foetuses. Foetuses are likely to look a bit more ‘full grown’.) This will be of interest — a quiz: ‘Which embryo is human?’ http://www.exploratorium.edu/exhibits/embryo/embryoflash.html
You’d like the book “your inner fish” it describes genetic, anatomical and developmental similarities we share with fish, then goes backwards to insects and microbes.