Three simple questions that I found myself unable to answer

William Tivol tivol at
Wed Jun 7 15:38:12 EST 1995

Rich Young (young at wrote:

: 	OK...I'll try my hand at these.....


: >3. Gorillas, Chimpansees and Orang-Utans each constitute a 
: >species of their own. Does that mean that two individuals that 
: >do not belong to the same species are strictly infertile, does 
: >it mean that they can have babies which turn out infertile themselves,
: >or is there no data available because apes of different species have a 
: >natural barrier to mate and experiments with in vitro fertilisation have 
: >not been carried out (for ethical or other reasons)? 

: 	I *think* it's the first: a mating between the species would not
: 	produce offspring.  It's kind of a moot point, however, because
: 	they live in different habitats and don't generally run into each
: 	other (especially orangutans).

Dear Rich,
	In the case of the apes, you're right.  It's interesting that, in the
case of Hawaiian fruit flies, there are species which are interfertile; how-
ever, these species have developed different mating rituals.  They are on dif-
ferent islands, so they rarely encounter one another, and the differences in
the rituals cause them not to mate on the occasions of the rare encounters.
It is believed that eventually these species will evolve to the point that they
are no longer inteerfertile.
				Bill Tivol

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