Aug 28, 2007

Look up in the sky! Is it a Moose?! A Horse?! No, it's Ugly!

You know, because I am nothing if not loyal to my unintentional theme of the day. I bring you another oldish story involving genetic oddities. This one comes from Canada - Quebec to be exact. A Canadian rancher claims his horse gave birth to a horse-moose hybrid. This is Bambi, the hoose. Or morse. Whichever. Frankly, I think Bambi is just a very unfortunate-looking baby horse. But Canadian rancher-dude (For real? A rancher? In Quebec?) is convinced that this foal is a hoose based on the following evidence:
  • It has an ugly moose-head.
  • It's legs are long.
  • It likes to sleep lying down.
  • And his stallions were castrated shortly before the mare became pregnant.

Okay, let me first say Canadian fake-rancher: horses can carry their foals for nearly 12 months sometimes. In my mind, this does not rule out your stallions. Secondly, some horses are butt-ugly. I'm sorry. That sucks, but mostly for poor Bambi. Finally, I would think that even as a fake-rancher you would know this, but horses sleep lying down more than people realize and foals have long legs. Always.

However, in his defense (I have some French blood, never trust me entirely), let me just mention a few things here: It is apparently fairly well-documented that moose and horses do attempt to mate. These are not successful matings (i.e. no pregnancies). It is not completely impossible for a baby to be conceived from such a mating, but it is EXTREMELY improbable. From my rudimentary understanding of genetics, the simple fact that a moose has 70 chromosomes and a horse has 64 would make it virtually impossible for a live baby to result from the pairing. Simply speaking, a baby receives one set each of chromosomes from the mother and father. The wider the discrepancy between the amount of chromosomes the mother and father have, the more difficult it becomes for a hybridization to naturally occur. It could happen, but it would be HUGE NEWS.

So, Bambi is probably just an ugly horse baby. And since scientists were supposed to be doing testing on whether he was a moose-horse, and there is no news since (this happened like a year ago), I suspect that he was not a freak of nature. Well, genetically speaking.....

1 comment:

Ali said...

hey :)
ha, i found your blog through some of our mutual young barn minions ;)

seeing as how I just got home from visiting colleges in maine (where I didn't get to see a moose - which I was pretty sure was the whole purpose of going...) I found it very fitting to finally get back to civilazation, find your blog, and low-and-behold something semi-moose related! clearly you were just on my very bored Maine wavelength....

anywayz, e-mail/call

looove you lots!