Turtle-cow Hybrids?

Hybrids out of History

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EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS, ΦΒΚ

     
A diligent scholar is like a bee who takes honey from many different flowers and stores it in his hive.
John Amos Comenius
Note: It has been my policy in listing reports of hybrids to include all serious allegations, especially those of scholars, whether or not the hybrid alleged seems possible or likely to me. This policy, I think, helps to eliminate subjective judgment on my part, and therefore should remove at least one source of systematic bias from my work. It also helps to fulfill the ethical obligation of telling not just the truth, but the whole truth.

Any claim that hybrids can be produced from this highly disparate cross would require confirmation.

Two turtle-cow hybrids were reported on page 3, columns 4 and 5, of the October 28, 1902, issue of the Evening Times-Republican, a newspaper published in Marshalltown, Iowa (source). The following is a transcript of the report:

A Freak Cow

Special to the Times-Republica.
    Waterloo, Oct. 28.—Circus men and museum managers will be after a cow owned by Nicholas Apple, east of Gilbertsville, when her wonderful freak-bearing record is made public. A year ago she gave birth to a calf bearing a mud turtle’s head. The calf was dead, and while it was looked upon as a strange freak of nature no mention was made of the fact beyond the neighborhood. She has now given birth to a second calf more wonderful than the other. The head is precisely that of a turtle, and, stranger still, the back is covered with the same horny shell that grows on a turtle. The calf was dead as in the case of the first, but the skin, head and hoofs were saved and will be placed in some museum.
    

So then could a mud turtle mate with a cow? Mud turtles are tiny. The Yellow Mud Turtle (Kinosternon flavescens) native to Iowa, is 4 to 6 in (10.2 to 15.2 cm) long. So it seems a Herculean task for one of these little fellows to mate with a cow even once, let alone twice.

Related crosses: Turtle × Sheep >>    Human × Turtle >>

sheep-pig hybrid Sheep-pig hybrids?

Table of contents >>

Bibliography >>

Biology Dictionary >>

By the same author: Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press (2006).


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