Strange ‘Hybrid’ Buffalo That Resembles A Crocodile Amazes Village In Thailand

Dustin Wicksell - Author
By

Oct. 6 2015, Updated 5:14 p.m. ET

A mysterious animal, which appears to resemble a hybrid of a crocodile and a buffalo, has been uncovered near a village in Thailand, leaving local residents both bewildered and amazed by its strange appearance.

The animal recently turned up in High Rock, Wanghin, in Thailand. According to the Daily Mail, the creature was born to a buffalo, which local villagers claim had previously given birth to a litter of healthy calves. The particular calf in question, however, was anything but normal, displaying a dark, scaly skin that appeared distinctly reptile-like. Its head was elongated, much like a crocodile’s, though it also possessed hooves, like any normal buffalo calf.

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The animal possessed a number of other characteristics associated with a normal buffalo calf, including a tail, yet the highly unusual shape of its head left it distinctly similar to a crocodile in appearance. The odd hue of its skin, meanwhile, further separated the animal from its more run-of-the-mill brethren.

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The strange creature wasn’t long for the world, dying shortly after it was born, according to the Express. According to local news sources, villagers believe that the odd crocodile-buffalo “hybrid” is a sign of good luck not only for their town, but also the family that made the odd discovery. Villagers not only went out of their way to visit the family (in the hope that good luck would rub off on them), but some even asked for lottery numbers from those responsible for discovering the animal.

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Though some news outlets have suggested that the calf could indeed be a hybrid between a buffalo and a crocodile, the reality is that the unfortunate animal was most likely afflicted with some sort of severe skin problem. Hybrid animals do occur in nature (though many have been created artificially by mankind as well), yet such a disparate cross-species pairing (mammal and reptile) would be all but a reproductive impossibility, in both a practical and genetic sense.

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Though the unusual buffalo calf almost certainly isn’t the result of hybridization with a crocodile, such an odd mixture of characteristics isn’t completely unprecedented. In 2008, researchers succeeded in mapping the genome of the platypus, in an effort to better understand the animal’s odd ancestry. As U.S. News and World Report points out, the platypus is not a true hybrid, as it does not possess a mixed ancestry. Rather, researchers assert that its genetic line diverged from mammals as a whole roughly 166 million years ago. For this reason, the platypus retains characteristics generally associated with both mammals and reptiles.

Scientists believe that all mammals evolved from reptiles, and the unique history of the platypus allowed it to retain certain characteristics that have since fallen by the wayside for all other mammals. The existence of the platypus, however, is a far cry from a single-generation hybridization between a buffalo and a crocodile (which would be certain to fail genetically, due to a variety of limiting factors).

Footage taken of the unusual animal showed locals surrounding it as it lay stretched out across a table. The gathered crowd poked at the unusual calf, lighting incense and commenting on the odd creature. As for what actually caused the calf to appear to be a hybrid of a buffalo and a crocodile, the ultimate cause of its deformity remains unknown.

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