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One day, for some reason on unbeknownst to man, animals in the same taxonomic kingdom can sexually reproduce and bear healthy offspring who are also capable of reproducing.

What effects would this have on today's society?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by James, bowlturner, Youstay Igo, Frostfyre, Culyx Oct 1 '15 at 20:31

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    $\begingroup$ Isn't this already the case? Or are you talking about an animal of one species mating with an animal of another species? $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Oct 1 '15 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 I'm talking about latter , where two different species can have children. $\endgroup$ – DohnJoe Oct 1 '15 at 0:30
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    $\begingroup$ Is this supposed to be science-based? Or magic? Are humans animals for this purpose? Are there limitations? Or can any two animals be mixed? E.g. an elephant and a sparrow. If a horse breeds with an eagle, do you always get the same result (perhaps a hippogryph)? Or can you get any combination of the parents' characteristics: four legs with claws; two legs with hooves; wings or no wings; etc. $\endgroup$ – Brythan Oct 1 '15 at 2:40
  • $\begingroup$ I think this question is fine. It's not as if he included the "hard-science" tag. The hypothetical offspring would have any combination of its parent's features, just like when humans of different ethnicities have kids. The minute details are hardly even important to the question "What effects does this have on today's society?" $\endgroup$ – Lorry Laurence mcLarry Oct 1 '15 at 4:34
  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure you meant to use taxonomic kingdom in this question? Because all animals are in the same kingdom, Animalia (for animals), from sponges to eagles. If that is not what you intended, Perhaps take a look at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxonomic_rank to decide what the mixing point should be for your world, and edit the question accordingly. $\endgroup$ – Neil Slater Oct 5 '15 at 8:15
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Well, we wouldn't have names for animals anymore because they would not be easily categorised into discrete species. We would have to describe each individual animal with a string of adjectives and verbs, ie: "a red and white striped fury short-necked quadraped with ring-tail"

There would be many ill-designed animals with functionless appendages. like, monkey tails on animals that are too heavy to hang from their tail (you could probably think of better examples) But on the plus side, their genetic diversity makes them virtually impervious to disease.

possibly, natural selection would favour animals that learn to "selectively mate" (ie: mate with other animals with logically compatible and advantageous traits)

Farming would also be interesting. Forget about genetic modifying food; just breed whatever food you want.

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  • $\begingroup$ Disagree with your answer. There are several types of specieation. Genetic is only one of them. On the Galapagos Islands, Darwin observed that certain birds had large beaks and some had small beaks. But none had sizes in between. The reason being is that those with medium beaks could not compete for food sources of either species, and hence the small beaks would never breed with large beaks. $\endgroup$ – Aron Oct 5 '15 at 5:32
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Obviously, they can't do that with real DNA. So you'd need to come up with some rationale for how the mixing works. Pick some traits that your "DNA" covers that should define every single animal. Then traits to define all plants. Etc.

Of course, you're not going to get all of them, but you should be able to do a decent job. Say anything undefinable just goes extinct.

So "DNA" could have things like: height, arm length, leg length, wing-like arms, arm-like arms, leg-like arms, tail length (can go to zero for no tail), back angle (vertical, hunched, horizontal), and so forth.

Then you just play pokemon with the different attributes and get crazy animals.

But remember that animals won't just arbitrarily mate with everything they run across. There will still be mating preferences, and there will still be selection pressures. So you'll ultimately end up with relatively few species still.

The problem with this method is that we've changed our creatures so they don't have low-level changes. This means you won't ever see completely new features, because that low-level re-coding can't happen. So you'd have to have some other mechanism to make new devices pop up on critters.

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