You Say Zedonk, I Say Zonkey: 5 Best Hybrid Animals

Whatever you want to call it, a half-zebra, half-donkey hybrid was born last week in a wildlife preserve in Georgia. The offspring of a zebra father and a donkey mother, the "zonkey" looks like a donkey but has characteristic zebra stripes on its legs and face. Prompted by this cute little zonkey, Big Think has put together a list of some of our other favorite hybrid species: 


Liger: The liger pounced into the mainstream in the early 2000s thanks to a paper-and-pencil likeness drawn by one Napoleon Dynamite. Produced by a lion and and tigress, the liger is bigger than both of its parents—unlike its smaller cousin the tigron, the offspring of a tiger and a lioness. By far the most famous hybrid of them all (except perhaps the lowly mule), even Charles Darwin took notice: "There are several instances of the female tiger breeding with the lion," he wrote in "The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication." And though it does not actually possess any "skills in magic," the liger is unusually docile despite being the biggest cat in the world.

Cama: A mix between a camel and a llama, the cama doesn't exist naturally in nature. Because the size difference between the species makes mating physically impossible (camels are roughly 6 times heavier than llamas), camas only came into existence thanks to human intervention. In 1998 a male cama was created through artificial insemination, implanting camel sperm inside a female llama. The cama, named Rama, had "the short ears and long tail of a camel, no hump and llama-like cloven hooves." Scientist don't know whether this cama is fertile and hope that it will mate with a female cama that has since been born.

Wholphin: In 1985 a male false killer whale and a female bottlenose dolphin gave birth in captivity to a wholphin named Kekaimalu. The false killer whale is actually a type of dolphin, but it has noticeably different characteristics from a bottlenose dolphin, including half as many teeth and greater size. Unlike many hybrids, Kekaimalu has proven fertile, giving birth to three pups, each 1/4 whale and 3/4 dolphin.

Geep: In 2000, a rare goat-sheep hybrid was born in Botswana. Physically a mixture of its two parents, this unusual hybrid expressed some unique traits shared by neither parent. First of all, it rarely gets sick. The geep's owner said that when an outbreak of foot rot took hold amongst his other sheep and goat, the geep was resilient despite not being treated. The other salient characteristic is the geep's unbridled libido: despite being sterile, the male geep would repeatedly mount both goats and sheep even when they were not in heat, earning it the name "Bemya," or rapist. Eventually, this became such a nuisance that the animal had to be castrated. 

Grolar Bear: Alternatively known as pizzlies or polizzlies, grolar bears have whitish fur and long claws like a polar bear but are intermediate in size between the two species and have a shallow face and brown patches on their face and back like a grizzly. They exist in captivity as well as in the wild; two have recently been captured by hunters, in 2006 and earlier this year. They are relatively rare, but thanks to the shrinking of summer arctic ice, polar bears will be spending summers in closer proximity to grizzlies. So we should expect more polizzly sightings in the future. 

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Scientists just voted to change the definition of a kilogram

The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.

Greg L via Wikipedia
Surprising Science
  • The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
  • Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
  • Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
Keep reading Show less