Week eight: YAKOW (probability 10634), by David Sutton

A YAKOW is a cross between a yak and a cow. This is an example of a true hybrid, between different species, as distinct from a mongrel or crossbreed which is between different strains of the same species. Of course, using hybrid words to name hybrid animals is a fairly obvious ploy, but I still find it rather pleasing. The same tactic has given us, for example:

BEEFALO A cross between a cow and a buffalo.
CATTALO or CATALO A cross between domestic cattle and North American bison.
COYDOG A cross between a coyote and a wild dog.
GEEP A cross between a goat and a sheep.
LIGER A cross between a lion and a tigress.
TIGON or TIGLON A cross between a tiger and a lioness.
ZEBRASS A cross between a male zebra and a female ass.
ZEBRINNY A cross between a male horse and a female zebra.
ZEBRULA or ZEBRULE A cross between a male zebra and a female horse.

And in the next update of the word list, watch out for WHOLPHIN, the hybrid of a whale and a dolphin.

A GEEP is an example of a INTERGENERIC hybrid, since sheep and goats belong to different genera. Normally hybrids are INTERSPECIFIC, between different species in the same genus. Hybrids tend to be sterile because the species involved have different chromosome counts and this interferes with the production of viable GAMETES.

Of course, not all hybrids are named by the portmanteau method. Thus we have MULE, the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse and HINNY, the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey.

Finally it is also mentioning the JUMART, the (mythical) offspring of a bull and a mare, or stallion and cow. This is from the French, presumably influenced by jument, the French for mare.


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