Questions for ‘The mixed-up world of hybrid animals’


If a zoo keeps a male lion and a female tiger in the same enclosure, a liger can result. It has a mix of its parents’ traits.

Алексей Шилин/Wikimedia Commons

To accompany feature “The mixed-up world of hybrid animals”


Before Reading:

1.  What are some traits that animals inherit from their parents?

2.  List at least three different but similar animals — for example, different types of birds or fish or rodents. What are some similarities between the animals in that group? What are some differences?

During Reading

1.  What is a hybrid?

2.  What is notable about the golden-crowned manakin?

3.  How are hybrid offspring produced?

4.  What are two reasons that can lead to an animal mating with a different species?

5.  How might hybridization affect biodiversity?

6.  What is one thing that differs between russet-backed thrushes, olive-backed thrushes and their hybrid offspring?

7.  Why does Kira Delmore say that the behavior of hybrid thrushes might help keep the two subspecies separate?

8.  How did Anders Nilsson and his colleagues determine that hybrid fish are more likely to be eaten than bream or roach?

9.  What did Marjorie Matocq and her team learn about mating preferences between desert and Bryant’s woodrats?

10.  What might a hybrid animal’s food preferences tell researchers about its parents?

After Reading: 

1.  Not all pairs of species can hybridize. What characteristics can you think of that might be important to allow two species to mate and produce hybrid offspring?

2.  Now imagine you could make a hybrid of any two animals. What animals would you pick, and what characteristics might you expect their offspring to have?