EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS
Animal adoptions, in which animals of one kind adopt the young of another, occur both with and without human intervention. Within the context of hybridization, the fact that one kind of animal will raise the young of another is significant because many mammals and birds imprint on whatever kind of animal raises them, that is, when they reach sexual maturity they will choose a mate of the same kind as the foster parent who raised them in preference to a mate of his or her own kind (read a discussion of imprinting elsewhere on this website). Certain animals, in particular, dogs, cats, hens and canaries, are famous for their willingness to adopt the young almost any creature. The videos below give some idea of how strange the pairings in these adoptions can be.
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