Has reproduction ever occurred in different species of animals?

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Yes, reproduction can occur between members of different species. However, the offspring produced is sterile--this means that the offspring cannot themselves reproduce. This is, in fact, one of the ways in which we define a species--that organisms can only reproduce, creating fertile offspring, if they are members of the same...

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Yes, reproduction can occur between members of different species. However, the offspring produced is sterile--this means that the offspring cannot themselves reproduce. This is, in fact, one of the ways in which we define a species--that organisms can only reproduce, creating fertile offspring, if they are members of the same species.

The classic example used to illustrate this aspect of what defines a species is the example of the horse, Equus caballus and the donkey, Equus africanus asinus. They are different species. However, they can breed together and create a mule. Mules themselves are sterile--the only way to get a mule is to breed a horse and donkey. Despite the fact mules themselves cannot reproduce, humans have consistently produced mules because they are extremely powerful animals. Dogs, on the other hand, no matter how different they look, they are all members of the same species, Canis familiaris. All dogs can create fertile offspring with other dogs. The different types of dogs are instead referred to as breeds.

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