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Name:  Laurie
Status:  educator
Age:  30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
What is the origin of mules? When were they first bred? Was the name "mule" ever used interchangeably with "donkey", historically? When were they first known to be sterile?


Replies:
A mule as you know is a cross usually between a male donkey ( "jack") and a female horse. The mule is always sterile and can be quite large. I have owned a number of donkeys, mules and horses and my biggest mule was about 16 hands and almost draft horse weight. To my knowledge anywhere in the world where the donkeys and horses co-existed was sure to have the mule...jacks will chase a mare down when they have the hankirin to do so. As a matter of logic I think any farmer from the earliest times would have soon found that the mule was "barren". The Romans knew this to be so. As far as interchanging the terms...from my Latin I know the terms are NOT interchangable...the Latin word for mule is mulus and the latin word for donkey or ass is asellus So the Romans knew the difference between an ass and their ............mule. (-;

PF


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