Sunday, April 02, 2006

Zenkey, zonkey, zebra donkey!

Well, it's been a really busy week for me.... So I'm sorry I haven't posted in a couple of days...

But anyway, here's an interesting story from Answers in Genesis:


A zoo in Japan has proudly announced the birth of a zebra-donkey hybrid, describing it as a ‘zenkey’—a story excitedly picked up and relayed around the world by news media. Actually, the offspring of a zebra stallion and donkey mare (jenny) is more usually defined as a ‘zonkey’ or ‘zedonk’, or even ‘zebrass’. But whether zenkey, zonkey or zedonk, the appearance of this little foal sure caused a stir at Nasu Safari Park (near Tokyo).

‘As we keep herbivorous animals without separating them, the unbelievable can happen’, said Osamu Ishikawa, deputy head of the safari park. ‘A donkey was pregnant and everybody was expecting a donkey foal.’

But the keepers were surprised when, in August 2003, a striped foal was born! Was it a donkey, or … ? It had a donkey’s ears, and the black cross mark on its withers is characteristic of donkey foals, but oh … those stripes!

This is not the first time the arrival of a half-zebra foal from a non-zebra mare has surprised observers. A Shetland pony astonished its UK owners by giving birth to a half-zebra, half-horse foal—a ‘zorse’ or ‘zony’. The owners had earlier purchased the pony from a wildlife park, where, like the donkey mare at Nasu Safari Park, it had shared a field with a male zebra.

This ability of donkeys, horses and zebras to breed with one another indicates they all descended from the same original created ‘kind’, as specified in Genesis 1. This again helps us understand that Noah needed far fewer animals on the Ark than sceptics claim. Only two animals (maybe not horses as we know them today) were needed to represent the equine kind on the Ark.

Some people might argue that because hybrid offspring are often sterile, the horse, ass and zebra must therefore be separate created kinds. But this definition goes beyond the biblical text—no-one would say that a human male/female couple unable to have children must therefore be separate species!

Infertility in hybrid offspring can be due to rearrangements of chromosomes. Such (non-evolutionary) changes within the horse kind sees zebras today with 44 chromosomes, donkeys 62, and horses 64—so mules, the offspring of donkeys and horses, are often sterile as they end up with 63 chromosomes, which theoretically cannot divide into chromosome pairs.

However, accounts of mules giving birth show they are not always infertile, and also demonstrate that the genetics in such cases is not yet fully understood. Occasional fertile hybrids such as these strengthen the case that all Equus species and their offspring (mules, hinnies, zorses, zonies, zedonks/zonkeys and whatever other inventive names we give them) are the same created kind—descendants of the ‘horses’ that Noah let loose after the Flood around 4,500 years ago.

23 Comments:

  • That was really weird, kinda cool though. I wouldn't mind seeing a zonkey!

    Thanks for the birthday wish! And the song was much appreciated too! :-)

    By Blogger Kaitlin, at 7:20 PM  

  • Very cool! I saw a zebra-donkey once (its owners called it a zedonk) but it was so mean I couldn't go anywhere near it. Very odd looking animal!

    By Blogger Hannah Beth, at 7:35 PM  

  • Wow, very interesting, thanks for the education. I vote for zenkey since it has that Asian sound to it. So where does a zlinky come from, jk:o)

    By Blogger Mercy Now, at 11:07 PM  

  • Haha! Very interesting. I actually read that last night on AiG's site.

    Here's a question which I've been finding difficult to answer (perhaps you have some idea):

    What is it that causes the negative results, genetically and phenotypically, in INBRED creatures? It surely can't be similarities in genes because Adam and Eve most likely had an almost identical genome.

    By Anonymous David Peyton, at 5:41 AM  

  • I believe it's got something to do with the repeated mistakes that build up over time, causing deformities...you have to have new blood because otherwise the old blood becomes repeatedly weaker. Although, it is quite acceptable for a filly (female foal) to be bred to her father, but not to her brother. I think it's got something to do with the fact that if a brother and a sister are bred they have the same information and hence, often the same mistakes; But if a mare is bred to her sire then there's new blood in the form of the mother's genes, although the father and the daughter share the same genes, and there's not as many mistakes resulting from similarity. In superior animals that can be done and often produces an animal just as good as its parents. But that sort of thing has to be done very cautiously and judiciously.
    *looks cryptically at comment*
    Did that make any sense at all?

    By Anonymous aly, at 7:54 AM  

  • Ooh. I know what to add to make sense...okay.
    The reason that-even though Adam and Eve most likely had nearly identical genes-they did not have any negative results, was because they were perfect. God made them perfect; mutations and deformities and diseases are mistakes-like copying errors. Adam and Eve were perfect; their children had a couple mistakes; their grandchildren had more, and so on. By the time 'inbreeding' ('scuse the term, that was the only one I could think of) would have occured and been serious, (probably around the time of Moses) there were enough people that God forbid close relations to marry-by this time, there were enough 'copying mistakes' that this was necessary.
    Which is why, actually, I think it is similarity in genes does cause the negative effects in inbreeding.
    Hopefully that made sense.

    By Anonymous aly, at 8:02 AM  

  • Thanks for the reply aly!

    That was very helpful. I think you are definitely on the right track there.

    You're right that it is similarity among genes - but perhaps to be more precise, similarity among genes with common mutations. If I'm not too mistaken, there are immunological factors which influence the "inbreeding" probability. I'll ask my Immunology lecturer when I get back to varsity.

    Btw - do you have a blog/website?

    Dave

    By Anonymous David Peyton, at 4:48 PM  

  • MVB - I sent you am email a while back informing you of a reply in response to your comment on my rebuttal. It didn't get delivered though - and I kept on forgetting to let you know. You might want to quickly login and read my response. I am sure it will help alleviate some mistrust of AiG that you may have delevoped :-)

    By Anonymous David Peyton, at 4:55 PM  

  • No, unfortunately, I don't...
    *jaw drops* Zach has a distrust of AiG?

    By Anonymous aly, at 6:00 PM  

  • Haha! Noooo... sorry. I probably shouldn't have posted that. It's so out of context. Zach and I have been discussing the issue of "quote mining" (i.e. taking quotes out of context). I am having a raging debate with an agnostic at my site here:

    http://www.peyton.co.za/content/view/12/28/

    ... and he accused AiG of quote mining. Unfortunately, we both (or at least I) didn't take into cognizance some other factors surrounding the issue in general.

    It's no real issue anyway! lol

    You should start a blog! I can imagine you would write very well. You would have at least 1 reader (me!) lol.

    By Anonymous David Peyton, at 6:31 PM  

  • Well, try to convine my mom that:) I'm more than ready for it, I even have a name...but my mother isn't cooperating.

    By Anonymous aly, at 8:54 PM  

  • If you don't mind me asking... what is her rationale behind not allowing you a blog? Is it the whole Myspace/internet stalker/pedophile etc thing?

    By Anonymous David Peyton, at 3:19 AM  

  • I guess it is a little of that. Also we are just breaking into this blog/forum thing and Aly is quite young. So,we are taking things slowly, and yes I am a little over protective but that's where my comfort zone is right now.

    By Anonymous aly's mom, at 4:16 PM  

  • Translation: I'll probably get one in a couple months:)
    I am not quite young!! I'm a teenager!! *makes face*

    By Anonymous aly, at 4:19 PM  

  • Hi Aly's mom :)

    I understand your concern. The internet can be a very dangerous place. Indeed, it is probably one of the most dangerous places on earth.

    I think you have overlooked something though: as a forum member with a contact email, it is just as easy for a "stalker" to contact someone. By the same token, someone can be verbally abused or stalked in blogs - even if they post anonymously. I understand there is a lot more privacy like this - but there are still risks.

    When you have a blog, your location is pretty much "centralized" and permanent... so I guess there can be a concern there. If Aly were to start a blog, I can imagine that the blog would form part of the Rebelution/Regenerate our Culture network in which case there are many godly teenagers which will be providing encouragement and oversight.

    In this part of the blogosphere... there are almost no risks. We will all give any potential stalkers a solid dose of the Gospel! heh

    Anyway, my apologies for taking sides here :D. I understand where Aly is coming from... and it is a nice thing to have a blog wherin you can post your thoughts and so forth. But we must honour our parents... so, Aly's mom - you win no matter what I say! Haha

    Anyway... must be off.

    Dave

    By Anonymous David Peyton, at 5:42 PM  

  • "We'll give any potential stalkers a solid dose of the Gospel"..Hah, I like that:)

    By Anonymous aly, at 9:40 PM  

  • Points well taken Dave, and when we cross that bridge we will be very thankful for all the Godly teens that encourage her. But for now as her father would say " she is a precious jewel entrusted to us and we wouldn't just leave a precious jewel out anywhere unprotected.soooooooooo with that (I can sense Aly's groaning at the precious jewel story ) I will leave off, but not with out saying that we are very thankful for all of you out there who are seeking the Lord with your whole hearts and share important issues on your blogs so that others can read and participate in varying degrees.
    P.S Thank you for defering to me even though you understand where she's coming from.

    By Anonymous Aly's mom, at 11:29 PM  

  • ...

    By Anonymous aly, at 8:54 AM  

  • *silently watches the ongoing discussion*

    By Blogger MVB, at 10:38 AM  

  • Sorry Zach, The write up was very interesting.I really enjoy reading what you write about. We'll get off your Blog now.

    By Anonymous Aly's Mom ( A D), at 11:31 AM  

  • *chuckles*

    By Anonymous David Peyton, at 1:12 PM  

  • No, no... that's not what I meant!

    :) Go ahead and talk, I don't mind at all.... I've been a little too busy to post anything of interest lately...

    By Blogger MVB, at 2:26 PM  

  • Hey, Zach, you might want to take a look at Arda..we were *taking pictures and webcasting*...involving you...and pink:)

    By Anonymous aly, at 2:33 PM  

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