A Turtle-sheep Hybrid?



I am obliged to report that which is reported, but not to believe it.
—Herodotus, The History, VII, 152
reality thermometer
Reality Thermometer (estimated reliability of this cross).

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

The following transcript is of an odd story that appeared on page 2, column 3, of the April 12, 1873 issue of the Clarksville Weekly Chronicle, a newspaper published in Clarksville, Tennessee: (Access source): “A strange monstrosity was born on

the farm of Wm. E. Davis, in Mercer county [Tennessee], a week or two ago. It was the offspring of a cotswold ewe and was more like a turtle than anything else. In shape it was nearly round and flat, with a crust on the back. The only wool it had was a small tuft on the back of a small curiously shaped head. The feet set out at the sides like those of a turtle. Mr. Davis can only account for the monstrosity from the fact that the ewe must have been frightened when with lamb by a turtle in the branch which flows through the pasture.

Alligator snapping turtle Alligator Snapping Turtle
Macrochelys temminckii

Are turtle-sheep hybrids possible?

The alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii), one of the heaviest freshwater turtles in the world, is native to the southeastern U.S., including Tennessee. It reaches weights of at least 300 pounds and so, at least conceivably, would be capable of mating with a sheep. However, the authenticity of this hybrid has never been verified, nor does it seem to have been reported elsewhere. Moreover, a cross between a mammal and a reptile would be more disparate than any other cross ever verified. So the idea that this birth represented a turtle-sheep hybrid is dubious indeed.

sheep-pig hybrid Sheep-pig hybrids?

A similar cross >>

Bird-mammal hybrids >>

Table of contents >>

Bibliography >>

Internet citations >>

Biology Dictionary >>

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

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