Ligers—the result of crossbreeding lions and tigers—have roamed animal preserves and sanctuaries for years. It wasn’t until recently, however, that these intriguing animals gained wide fame—thanks in part to the film Napoleon Dynamite.
In one of his many memorable lines, Napoleon declared the liger “pretty much my favorite animal.” He didn’t mention the zorse, however, which is produced when a zebra and a horse mate.
Ligers and Zorses, but no Ponkey
Not all animals can be crossbred. You’ll never see a ponkey (pig and monkey). In general, the two animals must belong to the same genus and share the same number of chromosomes. Chromosomes are threadlike strands that carry genetic information. The offspring of crossbred animals share traits from both parents. For example, the liger inherits a full mane from the lion and stripes from the tiger. Hybrid animals are usually born sterile; they cannot produce offspring.
Scientists Are Skeptical
Here are some examples of animals that have been crossbred: