Hybrid Definition - What Is a Hybrid?

Plant lovers have created hybrids for hundreds of years, breeding desireable traits into their favorite tulips or irisses. A hybrid is a blending of two different species.

First, read up on What Is a Species. A species is a group of living creatures that normally breeds together. While many times the species is defined by physically able to breed with others (i.e. cats and dogs), at other times a species is defined by just not *normally* breeding with other similar creatures. So for example a Baltimore Oriole is different from a Bullock's Oriole because the two oriole groups do not normally mix.

However, there are times that these borders lessen for some reason. Maybe a group of Bullock's Orioles migrate into an area where they are near a group of Baltimore Orioles, and the two groups become intermingled. They form a "hybrid" group that shares traits of both groups.

A classic example of a hybrid in mammals is the mule. Normally, horses and donkeys do not interbreed and are considered separate species. However, if a male donkey breeds with a female horse, they create a "mule". The mule is sterile and cannot create any babies. The mule has traits of both its mom and its dad - it is easy to train, strong and has great endurance. Because there can never be a "group" of mules living and breeding in the wild, mules cannot be their own species.

New species are being created all the time as creatures adapt and mutate to best suit their environment - often because environments are being altered and destroyed by mankind's urbanization of the world.

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