Tuesday, April 15, 2014
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.