Apocolyptic science blogging: mule foals

“Colbran – When it reportedly happened in Morocco five years ago, locals feared it signaled the end of the world. In Albania in 1994, it was thought to have unleashed the spawn of the devil on a small village.

“But on a Grand Mesa ranch, the once-in-a-million, genetically ‘impossible’ occurrence of a mule giving birth has only drawn keen interest from the scientific world. That, and a stream of the locally curious driving up from the small town of Colbran to check out and snap pictures of a frisky, huge-eared, gangly-legged foal.

“‘No one has run away in fear yet,’ laughed Laura Amos, the owner of the foal, along with her husband, Larry.

“The foal is being called a miracle because mules aren’t supposed to give birth. Mules are a hybrid of two species – a female horse and a male donkey – so they end up with an odd number of chromosomes. A horse has 64 chromosomes and a donkey has 62. A mule inherits 63. An even number of chromosomes is needed to divide into pairs and reproduce.”
Mule’s foal fools genetics. It’s an event so rare that the Romans had a saying, “when a mule foals” – the equivalent of “when hell freezes over”, by Nancy Lofholm, Denver Post Staff Writer, Article Last Updated: 07/26/2007 06:33:16 AM MDT

Meh, red heifers, mule foals, can’t the world end without all this livestock!?

09-19-07 Update: More on the mule that shouldn’t be.

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