Many people are familiar with hybrids, animals that are mated and produce offspring of mixed genes. Chimera are different these are animals out of the pages of science fiction books and made into real life.
A Chimera is an animal that is physically visible to be part one animal, and part another. This is very different from a hybrid animal where the genes are mixed. A mule is a perfect example of a hybrid, when we look at it the mule is a blend of both horse, and donkey, it falls somewhere in between its parents. To compare if a Chimera were made of horse and donkey it would look very different, perhaps the head and neck of a horse, with the body and legs of a donkey, and a horses tail.
The geep is an animal that is part goat and part sheep – literally. Scientists took embryos of each and fused them together – unlike the blend created in a hybrid, these animals were physically part sheep, part goat. The parts that were goat grew goat hair, the parts that were sheep grew sheep fleece (wool).
By Gangsterphobia [FAL], from Wikimedia Commons
Unlike the Geep, the Jackalope was made after death. It is a gimmick animal, a joke among hunters and woodsmen. The Jackalope is a rabbits body with a deers antlers.
Chimera mice are not so extreme, however they are a good place for science to look at the study of genes, in the above photo we see the larger mouse was created using parts of two different colored mice. She has two pups with her who of course did not get her unnatural genetics but rather inherited one color.
By Pearson Scott Foresman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Throughout history man has invented many Chimeras, although most have not been brought to life, and are only on the pages of books, or in sculpture. We know of mermaids, and other beasts created through imagination. Creating Chimeras was so common that when the Australian platypus was first discovered people thought it was fake, the product of a duck and otter being sewn together.
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