- For other meanings, see Chimera
A Chimera - also known as a geep - is a cross between a sheep and a goat.
The unusual case of a goat-sheep hybrid was first reported by veterinarians in Botswana. The animal was born naturally from the mating of a female goat (which is generally thought not possible) with a male sheep that were kept together.
Interestingly in this case, the scientists involved found that the hybrid had 57 chromosomes, a number in between that of sheep and goats. The ram had 54 and the dam had 60 chromosomes, the large structures in the nuclei of cells that bundle up DNA. The intermediate number proved the animal was a real hybrid and not merely a case of mistaken identity.
Although such crossings have been reported elsewhere around the world, notably in Chile, Jamaica, and Malta, very few result in live births.
The animal has halfway features. It is white, with an outer coarse coat and inner woolly coat, and its tail hangs down. The hybrid grew faster than the kids and lambs born in the same month. It also had a very high libido, mounting both goats and sheep even when they were not in heat. This earned the hybrid the name Bemya, or rapist. This activity never resulted in any pregnancies suggesting the hybrid was infertile, and the animal had to be castrated because it was becoming a nuisance.