Talk:Mule

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Comparisons need improving[edit]

There's a section that compares how a mule is better than a horse, but it doesn't compare it to a mule except for saying that a mule is equally intelligent as a donkey, which in turn is more intelligent than a horse. I'd be interested to know how the strength of a mule compares with the stength of a donkey. A comparison of their speed would also benefit the article - Owen214 (talk) 06:30, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Does this sentence make sense ?[edit]

"The chromosome match-up more often occurs when the jack (male donkey) is the sire and the mare (female horse) is the dam."

I'm not a native English speaker but since "dam" seems to imply motherhood I find it kind of difficult to imagine it's not the mare but the male donkey that is the to be impregnated. It would also explain why the chromosome matchup only works this way! :) More seriously as a small nitpick the sentence contains duplicate information. It should simply be the male donkey is the sire and the horse is the dam. 84.154.35.44 (talk) 19:56, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

The original sentence contains a lot of redundancy, which the suggested change does not completely eliminate. The simplest statement would be " ...donkey is the sire and horse is the dam." Crownfire (talk) 16:51, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Definition[edit]

Is it just me? or is this article lacking a first paragraph?.

It starts with: "In its common modern meaning, a mule is decended from the latin "matule" meaning "stubbourn". The much rarer offspring of a male horse and a female donkey, is called a hinny. The mule, easier to breed[citation needed] and usually larger in size than a hinny, has monopolized the attention of breeders[citation needed]. The ch[...]"

So, shouldn't this say something like: "Is the name given to the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse, commonly and artificially bred for agricultural work. Also known in popular culture for its temperament and alleged sterility". Or something to that respect? English not being my first language, I wouldn't dare to edit the article directly. Please correct this, it starts at the second paragraph.Vizoso (talk) 21:43, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Disregard, turns out somebody mangled the paragraph, I took the liberty if bringing it back from one of the previous versions, it has the same information, plus the prior needed explanation. Vizoso (talk) 21:52, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Definition of 'jack': a jack turns out to be a male donkey, but that's not clear. Later in the page, they refer to jacks, but it is not defined near the top. Can we add it in the first paragraph along the lines of 'offspring of a male donkey (a jack) and a female horse (a mare)'? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.66.104.132 (talk) 01:39, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Whatever works. The article needs a lot of general cleanup, but no one seems to have time to do more than vandal patrol. Feel free to dive in. Montanabw(talk) 06:11, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Racism[edit]

In my opinion, this section does not belong here, as racism is not the topic. This isn't a dictionary. I'd note that another use of the term "mule" -- a person who carries illegal drugs into the country -- is not mentioned.

But if it stays, could someone explain just what is meant by "white african american"? The phrase would call to mind, say, an immigrant from South Africa of European descent.

Bob Kerns (talk) 07:18, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree. It's rather erroneous. --Bentonia School (talk) 16:52, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Pictures[edit]

The animal in the top picture is probably a donkey. Lisa

Scientific classification[edit]

Does the mule have a scientific classification? I mean, it is a hybrid caused by man and all, but I don't see why it should be left out of the evolutionary tree... -- Natalinasmpf 15:07, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Probably because it can't be bred and thus create likenesses of itself, it won't have its own species name. I believe as a hybrid it would be referred to like this:
Equus caballus x Equus asinus
21:17, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

Mule fertility[edit]

I find the line "a female mule, called a 'molly,' that has estrus cycles and can carry a fetus..." to be confusing. Does the term molly refer to all female mules or only those that are fertile?

Sterility[edit]

The article says all males are sterile. I question this. I've read that when male mules are almost always castrated, because if they aren't castrated they are very se xually agressive. I think this means that the fertility of male mules is never really tested.

The article says female hinnies are always sterile, but that almost all female mules are sterile. I question this as well. I've read that while mules are generally larger, there is no sure way to distinguish between adult mules and adult hinnies biochemically. But that one can distinguish them by putting them in a paddock that contains both horses and donkeys. It will go hang out with its mother's species.

I suspect that rather than almost all mules being sterile, all mules are almost all sterile. I suspect that the chromosome match between the hybrid's gamete and the full-blooded horse or donkey's gamete is always problematic, without regard to the sex of the hybrid and the full-blood. I suspect that what the article states -- that some rare female mules are fertile, and all the rest are sterile is incorrect. Rather that all mules have the same slim chance of generating a gamete that can join with a full-blooded parent's gamete to make a viable offspring, and that we would be seeing male hybrids making the occasional baby if they weren't always all sterilized. -- Geo Swan 03:08, July 11, 2005 (UTC)

Male Mule Anecdote[edit]

My father knew of a fertile male mule owned by a neighbor. It may have been a freak, but it was apparently fertile. —Preceding unsigned comment added by MrInitialMan (talkcontribs) 03:37, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Since each gamete you produce includes half your DNA, isn't it inevitable that you'd produce one which perfectly mirrors the gamete that produced you? i.e. one with all the genes in question from one parent? That one would work fine, mated to another of the same species as said parent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.11.36.165 (talk) 20:11, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

63 chromosomes[edit]

I think it should be mentioned that mules have 63 chromosomes, thus an uneven number unable to divide into chromosome pairs. I didn't really understand why mules weren't able to reproduce until I looked elsewhere.

Here's the question though. A horse gamete has 32 half-chromosomes, a donkey gamete has 31... so how does the result not simply have 62 chromosomes plus one half-chromosome that doesn't know what it's doing? How do you instead get 63? Is the 63rd a half-chromosome? I realize there's some ambiguity here due to semantics, since 'chromosome' can either mean one complete double helix or a matched pair of double helices, connected in the middle making a little X shape.. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.11.36.165 (talk) 20:06, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Fertility in mule offspring[edit]

In those rare cases that mules have had offspring, is it known whether those offspring have been sterile or fertile? I figure that in the few cases that female mules have had offspring, it has been because they have been able to produce gametes with an even number of chromosomes. As the mule's total number of chromosomes is 63, the gamete should either contain 31 or 32 chromosomes. Then there should be four combinations of possible numbers of chromosomes for the mule offspring:

Offpsring to mule and donkey: 62 (31+31) or 63 (31+32) Offspring to mule and horse : 63 (31+32) or 64 (32+32)

So 50% of the 3/4 donkeys and 50% of the 3/4 horses should be able to mate normally, having an even number of chromosomes. Then if we have enough individuals who are, let's say 3/4 donkeys, 50% of them should be able to mate normally and all their offspring should be able to mate. Then we have a species with 25% horse DNA and 75% donkey DNA which is fully able to reproduce.

If it's all about the genetics, it should even be possible to produce fully fertile mules. If we have one 3/4 horse with 63 chromosomes and one 3/4 donkey with 62 chromosomes, then the 3/4 horse might produce either 31 chromosome or 32 chromosome gametes. If that offspring gets the 62 (31+31) chromosomes combination, then it should be 50% horse/50% mule and fully fertile. We do this procedure with a number of different individuals to prevent inbreeding and we have a fertile mule species.

The only real obstacles with this is that there are so few mule offpsring already (60 reported cases throughout history according to this article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2290491.stm). 50% of those 60 cases will be fully fertile while the other 50% will have the same fertility problems as the mules, having 63 chromosomes. But then we can take one of the fertile 3/4 ones and one 3/4 of the other side which has 63 chromosomes and there will be a 50% chance in having a fully fertile mule.

Citations needed[edit]

I find it interesting that someone wants a citation for a LACK of evidence. "There are no recorded cases of fertile mule stallions." How can a negative statement require proof via citation? Isn't it either self-evident or else contradicted by the existence of an actual documented case? (In the latter case, warranting removal of the quoted text from the article, of course, and replacing it with the appropriate statement and reference.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 170.141.56.4 (talk) 20:29, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

I added some {{cn}} in the section on fertility.

  • While the explanation that a mule mare is only fertile when the random roll of chance has her produce a gamete that has all the horse genes -- or all the donkey genes -- sounds credible, it is also completely unreferenced. It could be original research
  • Particularly disturbing are the mutual inconsistencies in the anecdotal accounts of offspring. Some are consistent with this claim that mule offspring will be 100% horse or 100% donkey. Others that mule offspring will be a mix with approximately 75% of the characteristics of the pure bred parent. Neither sets of anecdotes are referenced.

I think that if no one steps forth to supply the citations needed for this section it should be cut back to only that which can be documents. I suggest waiting one month.

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 23:40, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I removed some unreferenced material, as I suggested should be done a year ago. This passage strikes me as unlikely, possibly a hoax. But my personal impression is not what matters. Compliance with WP:VER is what matters. Geo Swan (talk) 06:06, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
I trimmed several more unreferenced anecdotes. Again, it doesn't matter whether or not the contributor who added them believes them -- or whether I believe them -- they are unreferenced. They have remained unreferenced for over a year. Geo Swan (talk) 06:34, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
While the following passage sounds reasonable, it is unreferenced, and is thus original research:

"In most fertile mule mares, the mare passes on a complete set of her maternal genes (i.e., from her horse/pony mother) to the foal; a female mule bred to a horse will therefore produce a 100% horse foal."

With exactly two documented cases since the introduction of modern DNA testing the phrase "most fertile mule mares" is, at best, highly misleading. Has someone studied the Moroccan mom? This is one of the first articles I worked on. And I looked for articles that documented the genetic studies of the 2002 Moroccan mare and foal -- without success. Maybe there are articles that talk about that birth. Fine. Cite them. In the meantime I am trimming this passage I tagged with {{cn}} a year ago. Geo Swan (talk) 06:47, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

"Enormous phallus"? Aggressive sex drive? Almost always gelded?[edit]

Possible defacement- I'm no expert on Mules, but I don't suspect that Mule's have particularly lengthy members (see Characteristics). Anyone care to look into this matter? No innuendo intended.

I have worked with mules for years and have been around thousands of them. The Penis size of mules will vary quite a bit from animal to animal, but there are some mules that are very impressive! I would say the largest equine penises I have seen have all been mules.
As noted in the main article mules are not universally sterile. Once every decade or so a female mule does give birth. I read that one reason the relative infertility of male mules is harder to document is that intact male mules are very sexually agressive. So male mules are almost always gelded, prior to puberty, to curb their sexual agressiveness. Because they are usually castrated their relative fertility is rarely put to the test. Anyhow, could this sexual agressiveness be the real source of the aphorism "hung like a mule"? Geo Swan 15:52, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Hung doesn't refer to sexual drive.
No, but an animal that was very sexually aggressive might be regarded as "hung" because his organs of generation were regularly seen in their engorged state. FWIW. Geo Swan 00:00, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I removed the sentence containing the phrase "enormous phallus" from the article because it is subjective and un-encyclopedic. Also, the (relative) size of an animal's penis is not a matter of primary importance, especially in the context of such a short article. Compare the articles Horse and Horse reproduction, which do not contain similar information. --Bwiki 15:49, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

A professional opinion [?][edit]

I regularly refer to the Wikipedia in my practice as a Veterinary Scientist of Equine and Alternative Livestock. I am presently a fellow at an OMAF research installation (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food [formerly Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, OMAFRA]) which is actively involved in the study of both Mules and Donkeys. That being said, I feel as though I might provide some much needed information with regard to the matter of the Mule's primary sexual characteristics and, more specifically, his phallus in particular. Thus I present the following obiter dictum, as I hope my commentary will be of some use to those whom are debating this issue.

As a prior reviewer mentioned, it is common knowledge that Mules, Horses, and Donkeys (Equus asinus) indubitably share several prominent physical traits. Hence, since it is commonly accepted that Equus caballus (the common Horse) possesses a particularly large phallus, it stands to reason that the Mule, while physically smaller, may very well sport a comparatively sizeable penis. Both donkeys and mules, however, differ greatly from their Horse counterparts: in particular, their jugular furrow (the place where blood samples are taken or tranquilizers are given) tends to be substantially more cartilaginous that that of most other animals. Further, the cutaneous coli muscle is much thicker than in the horse and hides the middle third of the jugular vein. More over, it is easier to find the upper third of the jugular in a Mule than a horse. The nasolacrimal duct of the donkey is located on the flare of the nostril rather than the floor of the nostril as it is in the horse. Picayune difference such as these seem to fool the untrained eye- people grasp the apparent aspects of the Mule and Donkey much more readily than they might acknowledge these finer nuances of the beast.

There are several classes of Mules to consider before I attempt an answer. These appear below:


Miniature: under 36 inches

Small Standard: from 36.01 to 48 inches

Large Standard: over 48 inches and under 54 inches for females; over 48 inches and under 56 inches for jacks and geldings

Mammoth: 54 inches or over for females and 56 inches or over for male


Traditionally, the Mules we read about in books and see in television programs tend to fall into the category of "Large Standard." These specimines most ostensibly possess particularly large phalluses. It occurs to me that some of the animals I have treated have displayed sexual organs nearly 1/6th of their body length when sufficiently excited.

I should point out that mules measuring greater than 54 inches at the withers are particularly endowed specimines. The few that I have studied posess penises of a startling girth and length. Indeed, had these Mules not been sterile, they would not be capable of participating in coitus as their female counterparts would be too substantially pained by the massive size of the male's penis to entertain the practice of copulation. One of my co-workers had been so startled by one animal's erection that he grew uncomfortable and was unable to continue the work he had been engaged in. He has been practicing veterinary medicine for more than 10 years.

That said, I would certainly condone the statement that Mules have particularly large phalluses. Hopefully this brief discourse will be of some use.

--RobertStuartson 03:07, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

(Note: the word dong hardly seems appropriate in the context of this article. Perhaps this word can be changed to "phallus" or "penis?")

I would vote for penis, since "phallus" usually denotes a "depiction" of the penis.

I suspect the erudite essay above to be a spoof, especially because of the sentence "One of my co-workers had been so startled..." towards the end. --Bwiki 15:08, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

And the fact that he claims to be a vet, but can't spell specimen... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 216.234.100.88 (talk) 22:18, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Intelligence[edit]

I'd be very interested if someone explained more about the claim that mules are more intelligent than either horses or donkeys.The_Irrelevant_One 21:54, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

If one may be allowed to speak in general terms about a group of individuals, mules seem to have a different type of intelligence than horses, particularly when it comes to reacting 1) to the use of their own bodies, 2) to handling by humans and 3) their surroundings.
1) Mules are often accused of being stubborn, in that they will seem to “suddenly stop and go no farther”. When they do this, the handler can move Heaven and Earth to get the mule to move, but the animal will (seemingly) rather die than take one more step. What the mule is actually doing is enacting a unique form of self-preservation. If you overwork a mule, too heavy a load, too long a ride or pull, the mule “knows” when it’s had enough, and will quit pulling or stop the journey away from home. I have misjudged a mule’s stamina, and had the mule pin it’s ears back and bow up and stop in the middle of a long trail ride. When I figured it out and turned around for home, had the mule very happily give a lovely, gentle ride back to the barn, where I could then see that he was really at his limit of strength. Shame on me! Only persons not “in tune” with the animal’s strength or conditioning level will accuse them of being stubborn, because a well-treated mule will work itself just about to death for a gentle, knowledgeable owner. So, their reputed “stubbornness” is actually a form of intelligence I have rarely seen in horses, who will very often let their beloved riders ride them – literally – to death.
2) A horse mistreated will (generalizing, again) “act out” right then and there. Action, reaction, and be done with it. Mules, however, will sometimes “bide their time” and wait for the human to inadvertently be caught in a compromising position (back turned, on the ground for some reason, overtired and not paying attention, etc.) and will THEN kick the snot out of the abuser! Mules seem, thereby, to have an amazing memory. I have seen a rescued mule act totally innocent when encountering a former abusive owner in a crowd of trail riders, very slyly get his current rider to saunter past him, then suddenly lash out, injuring the man very badly. Horses wear their emotions more “on their sleeves”, as it were, and are rarely as subtle as a mule (overall).
3) Mules make the absolutely best “watchdogs”. They can learn in one day who’s car or truck belongs where and when. They can protect their riders from snakes and other threats by simply, immediately, stomping the snake into the ground (which is why one must be very cautious with other pets around mules). There are even reports of mules killing mountain lions, although the pictures that went around email a few years back was, I think proven to be a hoax. Still, it’s very common practice to run a mule or donkey with a herd of cows, horses, ponies, llamas, etc., to protect them. Soltera 21:52, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, interesting and thanks. The neighbors where I recently moved actually have a mule amongst their cattle to protect them from wolves but I never really believed the reasoning. 67.142.130.40 12:28, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Major Citaion needed[edit]

Unless anyone cares to verify the mountain lion bit, I'll be removing it. VanTucky 02:03, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Way too many pictures[edit]

This article has so many pictures they're distorting the text. How many pictures of mules on grass does it need!? Bronzey 05:54, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree. We recently had the same problem with other such mammal articles. the problem seems to be only in those articles about animals that are kept as beloved pets. A maximum of five is what seems to work, and the more variation the better. VanTucky 20:49, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
IMO approximately one image per screenful is what works best. Geo Swan (talk) 02:37, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Mules of different colours[edit]

The Mules of many colours reads like a website for a passionate mule breeder. Not appropraite here IMHO. 145.253.108.22 14:36, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Your opinion is respected. That having been said, I added that information because most mules are solid colored, and the variety now seen in mule coloration is important to an understanding of the modern mule and the mule fanciers who own them. No less relevant than the colors that a breed of dog may come in. I think it is necessary to a complete discussion of the subject. By the way, I admit to being a passionate mule owner, but frankly, who else would write about them? 76.107.19.242 01:13, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
A mule that weighs 10000 lbs? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 12.154.72.130 (talkcontribs) 05:28, 2007 May 15
This caught my attention too. A quick search reveals the largest horses are around 3,000 lbs, so I would imagine the largest mules are something less than this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.246.195.163 (talkcontribs) 20:39, 2007 June 5
What about the whole part about blue mules? I think the useful parts of that section should be merged into the Characteristics section, with the rest being removed.Nullav 17:22, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

Mule train[edit]

Redirects to this article, but there is nothing in the history or useage of mules which even hints to a mule train.
~ender 2007-05-12 22:45:PM MST

I don't think this means what it sounds like[edit]

Sometimes people let a stallion (male horse) run with a jenny (female donkey) for as long as six years before getting her pregnant.

I dunno, maybe my brain is punny, but it sounds to me like people get her pregnant...what does the sentence mean, anyway? --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 16:03, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

I believe it means that breeders have let the stallions try to impregnate jennies -- and have waited up to six years for the stallion's efforts to succeed. Geo Swan (talk) 02:35, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Sources[edit]

This article really looks like it needs a few sources replaced. One even leads to what amounts to some sort of mule flea market with essentially no information. (http://longearsmall.com/) Nullav 17:27, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

hi —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sammy2324 (talkcontribs) 15:55, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Mule saddles?[edit]

Input re mule saddles (both riding and packing) would be appreciated on Crupper. Thanks. --Una Smith (talk) 05:10, 1 September 2008 (UTC)


Chesnuts on Mules[edit]

The statement about mules not having chesnuts is not true. I have two mules myself and they both have chesnuts. There are many things wrong with this article and needs to be fixed. Also it said something about the tail not growing all the way up to its rump and that is incorrect too.

Equus Mule?[edit]

I'm no biologist, but I guarantee that the binomial name of a mule is not Equus mule. Equus mulus, maybe, but mule is not a Latin word. Rwflammang (talk) 20:21, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

"After World War II, mules fell on hard times"[edit]

Does this sentence sound ridiculous to anyone else? Feeeshboy (talk) 18:18, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it's a more journalistic phrase than an encyclopedic one. Landroo (talk) 19:38, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
I rewrote this sentence a few months ago. Today, an IP editor restored it. I just reverted the change. Comments from other editors would be appreciated. Cullen328 (talk) 05:49, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. Your version is better and less romanticized. Probably the other was a copyvio cribbed from somewhere too. I'm with ya! Montanabw(talk) 22:16, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

history of mules[edit]

There should be a section on this. I don't know where it belongs in the article or how extensive it should be. I do know the mule is mentioned in Gilgamesh(Tablet 6), which means they were used more than 3,000 years ago. And they were common beasts of burden in the Roman Empire. Nitpyck (talk) 01:50, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

That would be cool, all we need is someone with access to good source material (Per WP:V) to add what they can. Basic thing will be to not repeat popular misconceptions or inaccurate myths. I know there are also images of mules in ancient Egyptian art... Montanabw(talk) 03:54, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree. The absence of a history section is made more conspicuous by the section entitled "The Modern Mule."Landroo (talk) 19:37, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Category question[edit]

Why does this article have the category Donkeys, but not the category Horses? --DThomsen8 (talk) 23:33, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Good point, excess cat, tossed it. Montanabw(talk) 19:08, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Why does this article link to aficianado??[edit]

Many W articles, including this one, include links that have absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter, presumably in order not to be classified as orphans. Why in the world does this article link to aficianado?? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.228.225.134 (talk) 19:56, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Johan Franzen[edit]

In the see also section, I added a link to Johan Franzen, a hockey player whos nickname is The Mule, but it was instantly deleted. That's not fair. :( 68.69.130.86 (talk) 20:56, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

Nickname not about mules. Lots of famous people nicknamed after mules. Trivia lists not relevant here. Montanabw(talk) 06:35, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Language variant[edit]

The English language variant for this article seems to have been established here ("colour"), and to have been changed subsequently. Does anyone object if I restore the article to that variant in accordance with WP:ENGVAR? Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 10:18, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Since it is a worldwide topic, we should use the variant the article started out with. I agree though personally, I prefer American spellings. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 16:08, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't entirely clear before. I would not normally suggest changing a consistent established usage even if it wasn't the original one. But this article contains a mixture (both "fetus" and "vigour"), which is why I looked back in the history. I'll give it a day or so before making the small necessary changes, in case there are other comments. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 16:51, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
On one hand, I have no interest whatsoever in starting yet another round of tendentious arguments with JLAN. On the other hand, I believe it is useful to standardize the article in US English. On a cursory glance, it looks to be mostly US English, to change everything to UK English is going to take more effor. But more to the point, I have no stats on the relative number of mules in modern English-speaking nations, but I suspect that the USA has more than the UK and Australia combined. The fact that mules exist worldwide is not relevant to this discussion, we are not writing in, say, Chinese. On an article this old, who won the "race to the courthouse" for starting the article is irrelevant. But I am also not going to waste more than another 5 or 10 minutes on the topic, so when a vote is called, I'll step back around. Montanabw(talk) 18:14, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree that the large number of mules in China does not oblige us to write in Chinese (luckily, as I don't know how). Nor does the number of mules in any other country oblige us to write in the language of that country. This being Wikipedia, what we do here is follow the MOS, and specifically WP:ENGVAR. Is there anything in that bit of the MOS that might suggest that this article, which has no current established language variant, should not be restored to that of the first version? As for the work involved, it is minimal, and I have already offered above to do it. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 00:10, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
The best option is to use variant neutral words where possible, maybe coloration (same in both), and i'm sure vigour could be substituted with a synonym. Fetus is more difficult, but you could go for 'in the womb' or 'embryonic' with rewording. Failing that, ENGVAR says you go for the first use. I can't be bothered to look, but if you say it is BrE, then so be it. I dream of the day when the MediaWiki software supports language variants in the markup. OwainDavies (about)(talk) edited at 16:28, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Owain that variant neutral wording is an elegant solution where possible and I support that approach. However, there are words like color/colour where it may be awkward to avoid them totally. The "race to the courthouse" standard is probably the best that can be done, but when an article was a stub in one form, and then someone does a big expansion in the other form, where it stays for years, it seems absurd to go back to whatever was done in 2004 or whenever. The truth is that ENGVAR also allows a consensus to be reached one way or the other. But at the end of the day, this is the most ridiculous discussion for this article I can imagine. So, at the end of the day, I'm not going to fight about this, but really, I suspect that JLAN is now going to be seeking out thousands of articles (especially equine ones) and every single one started in UK English he will want to change back, even if US English was used for the last half-decade. So go for it, buddy, have it your way. The rest of us have a life. Montanabw(talk) 17:43, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
From the historical standpoint alone, using American English for this article makes sense. But, as always, I suspect that some Wiki-standard that bears no relation to the real world will eventually triumph. If one can't "own" an article, it doesn't make sense that whoever happened to type something first would by default set the standard language. But I'm learning that making sense is often a defect...Intothatdarkness (talk) 19:07, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Original version isn't the only criterion, acutally. I found this: Wikipedia:ENGVAR#Retaining_the_existing_variety It appears hat this article has been mixed for a long time. If the stable version has a majority American English and only a few British or other varieties words, then it should swing to the American variation and consensus would be required to make the more major change. It's stupid to count words, so maybe we should just vote on it. Montanabw(talk) 23:05, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Vote here[edit]

VOTING. One vote per person, please. No comments below, confine comments to the discussion above the line. Sign your vote

US English Montanabw(talk) 23:05, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

US English Intothatdarkness (talk) 23:09, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Comments[edit]

OK, call me stupid, but I did actually count the words. I would say that the premise for this isn't great, as I can only find four AmE exclusive words in the article (estrus, fetus, plow and color) two of which are in the same sentence (one editor) and one of them was changed from BrE. On the other hand there are two BrE words (draught (also the first variant word in the article) and grey).

On that basis the AmE 'stable' version is based on the action of two editors on an article written in BrE. I think the policy is fairly clear, this should revert to original BrE. Yours pedantically as usual. OwainDavies (about)(talk) edited at 07:19, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

Oh yeah, and I think votes on this sort of thing aren't usually constructive, as it usually just depends on whether more AmE or BrE editors watch the article in question. OwainDavies (about)(talk) edited at 07:20, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
The policy is a bit short of perfect, "When no English variety has been established and discussion cannot resolve the issue, the variety used in the first non-stub revision is considered the default. If no English variety was used consistently, the tie is broken by the first post-stub contributor to introduce text written in a particular English variety." I have to admit even determining that default will be fraught with danger here: It appears the very first edit was a direct import from the 1911 Britannica, and a stub or close to a stub, IMHO. The first noticeable expansion adds US English. Beyond that, we can figure out if the 67945 edit de-stubbed it, or if the verbatim 1911 import was or was not a stub, or whatever. So Owain, vote anyway, what the heck. I really will go with the consensus here, I just am very frustrated that we even are wasting our time on this. Montanabw(talk) 20:01, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

No need for emotion about ENGVAR[edit]

Mules exist worldwide, and so there is no reason to advocate for American English just because we have more mules these days than the British do. I assume they had more 500 years ago. Whether a word is spelled "grey" or "gray" is trivial, as both are fine with me. As for "colour", it seems an extra letter to me, but I don't wan't to re-ignite the War of 1812. Who cares? Cullen328 Let's discuss it 03:46, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

"I don't wan't to re-ignite the War of 1812", you say. But they burned the White House! The White House!!
Seriously, though, doesn't the manual of style say that: British topics should probably have British spelling and American topics American spelling, and for others it doesn't really matter; and that whichever is used should be used uniformly throughout the article? This article comes under the "doesn't really matter" category, which means it doesn't matter enough to change what's already there, not that it doesn't matter if you change it just for personal taste. As for "grey" vs. "gray", that to me is the least bothersome of all the English spelling dichotomies, and I didn't even realize that one is considered British and the other American. (Hmm... knowing that now, maybe it does bother me -- remember the White House!) --Kbh3rdtalk 04:44, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Which is why voting on this one may be the best solution. I can see people arguing over which version was the first non-stub expansion. It's silly. Let's just keep the poll open for a week or so and then do whatever consensus adds up to be. Everyone who cares, please go vote! If you don't care, don't vote (grin) Montanabw(talk) 00:30, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

how do they get them to mate?[edit]

normally animals don't want to copulate with another species. how do they get a male donkey to even want to copulate with a female hores? (and historically how has this been done.) I assume the process isn't, historically as well, artificial insemination. If it is, how do they collect the male semen? 84.3.160.86 (talk) 11:44, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Horses and donkeys are both genus equus, even if different subspecies. Similarly, the domestic cow and the American bison can be crossed, resulting in a beefalo. Coyotes and wolves can mate with dogs. All the same sort of thing. Montanabw(talk) 04:52, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Some vocabulary in lead different from that in body[edit]

I added some vocabulary to the body, but after realized that it's defined differently than some vocabulary in the lead. I gave the source with what I added, but the info in the lead isn't sourced. I will keep my eyes open as I work on the article, and if I can correct this, I will. Lightbreather (talk) 20:44, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

See the cleanup I did to hinny and (if I have time) here. You are doing good work. Read WP:LEAD - generally you don't source what's in the lead if it's sourced elsewhere. In this cas, my suggestio is to improve everything else first, then rewrite the lead to matech thenew content -otherwise you are rewriting the lead every time you turn around. Montanabw(talk) 22:50, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Proposal re Biology section[edit]

I propose that we merge what's currently in the Biology section into the Characteristics section and get rid of the former. Some of the content is already redundant, and there's really more about mule biology in the Characteristics and Fertility sections. Lightbreather (talk) 21:41, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

"Characteristics" generally includes all the biology stuff in the horse bred articles. But mules are sort of more a species. Maybe see how horse is structured (it's a GA) and make the sections parallel that article? Where that article isn't helpful, try comparing it to one of our better horse breed articles, such as the FAs Appaloosa or [{thoroughbred]], or maybe a simpler one like Suffolk Punch. Also look at the horse breed task force guidelines if you want (see project box in any horse breed talk page) Montanabw(talk) 22:53, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

To develop[edit]

In case I don't get around to it, or just plain forget, there is good content in the article currently in a source in the Biology section that could go in the Modern mules section about the Pakistan army's animal transport units (ATUs). Khan, Aamer Ahmed (2005-10-19). "Beasts ease burden of quake victims". BBC. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 

--Lightbreather (talk) 22:45, 16 July 2014 (UTC)