Author: Renee Cao
Editor: Cynthia Zhang
Artist: Tiffany Gao
When two different species, breeds, or varieties crossbreed through sexual reproduction, the result is a hybrid. The oldest and most common hybrid is the mule, which has been around for more than 5,000 years. Before camels were introduced to Egypt, mules were used as beasts of burden. Four thousand years ago, mules were considered treasures in China’s western and northern regions and in ancient Ethiopia. So what exactly is a mule? It is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. The crossbreeding of a female donkey and a male horse is possible, and the offspring would be called a hinny; however, hinnies have lower rates of conception; thus, they are less common. Since hinnies are a lot smaller, slower, more stubborn, and unpredictable, mules are also preferred over hinnies.
Hybrid vigor happens when an offspring’s traits are enhanced as a result of genetic mixing. Mules have been produced due to their many advantages—their features are a combination of the best characteristics of donkeys and horses. First, mules have the appearance (head-wise) and endurance of donkeys but are bigger, stronger, and more intelligent. Second, mules have simi