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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Mule

M is for Mule.

When a daddy donkey, or jack, and a mommy horse, mare, love each other very, very much, God gives them a little baby mule to take care of.  A daddy horse, or stallion, can also love a mommy donkey, or jenny, very, very much, but God isn't nearly as likely to give them a baby if they do.  Even better, zebras sometimes love horses or donkeys, creating sporty mules called zedonks.  I am not making this up, so help me.

The mule, except in very rare instances, cannot have babies of its own.  It is considered as sturdy, sure-footed, and patient as a donkey, but as fast and strong as a horse.  Plus it never takes maternity leave, so it's pretty much a win-win unless you're a mule.  Basically a mule is an animal with absolutely no purpose in life but to do what humans tell it.

The reason mules are sterile is that a horse has 64 chromosomes and a donkey 62.  The mule compromises at 63 chromosomes which evidently is a bad number if you're looking for off-spring.  A zebra has between 32 and 36 chromosomes.  And since you're probably wondering, a human has 46, putting us closer to the zebra end of the spectrum than that horse.  I have no idea what horses are doing with all those extra chromosomes.

A male mule might be sterile, but it's not impotent, and a stud mule - there is such a thing - is notoriously mean, and have to be fixed.  The mules themselves do not feel they were broken in the first place.

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