List of hybrid creatures in folklore

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The following is a list of hybrid entities from the folklore record grouped morphologically based on their constituent species. Hybrids not found in classical mythology but developed in the context of modern pop culture are listed in a separate section. For actual hybridization in zoology, see Hybrid (biology)#List.

Partly human[edit]

Upper part human[edit]

Human-Horse Hybrids (Centauroid)[edit]

A Centaur fighting a man
  • Anggitay – A strictly-female creature that has the upper body of a human with the lower body of a horse and is sometimes portrayed with a horn.
  • Centaur – A creature that has the upper body of a human with the lower body of a horse.
  • Onocentaur – A creature that has the upper body of a human with the lower body of a donkey.
  • Ipotane – A human with the hindquarters of a horse.
  • Satyr – Originally an ancient Greek nature spirit with the body of a man, but the long tail and pointed ears of a horse.[1][2] From the beginning, satyrs were inextricably associated with drunkenness and ribaldry, known for their love of wine, music, and women.[1][2][3] By the Hellenistic Period, satyrs gradually began to the be depicted as men with the horns and legs of goats, likely due to conflation with Pan.[1][2] They were eventually conflated with the Roman fauns and, since roughly the second century AD, they have been indistinguishable from each other.[1][2][4]
  • Silenos - Virtually identical to satyrs and normally indistinguishable, although sometimes depicted as more elderly[3][2]

Human-Goat Hybrids[edit]

Satyr men, satyr women, and satyr children.

Goat people are a class of mythological beings who physically resemble humans from the waist up, and had goat-like features usually including the hind legs of goats. They fall into various categories, such as sprites, gods, demons, and demigods.[5][6][7]

  • Faun – An ancient Roman nature spirit with the body of a man, but the legs and horns of a goat.[1][2] Originally they differed from the Greek satyrs because they were less frequently associated with drunkenness and ribaldry and were instead seen as "shy, woodland creatures".[4] Starting in the first century BC, the Romans frequently conflated them with satyrs and, after the second century AD, the two are virtually indistinguishable.[1][2][4]
  • Glaistig – A ghost with the form of half-goat, half-woman.[8][9]
  • Pan – The god of the wild and protector of shepherds, who has the body of a man, but the legs and horns of a goat. He is often heard playing a flute.

Human-Bird Hybrids[edit]

A medieval depiction of a harpy as a bird-woman
  • Harpy – A half-bird, half-woman creature of Greek mythology, portrayed sometimes as a woman with bird wings and legs.
  • Lilitu – A woman with bird legs sometimes with wings found in Mesopotamian mythology.
  • Inmyeonjo – A human face with bird body creature in ancient Korean mythology.
  • Kinnara – Half-human, half-bird in later Indian mythology.
  • Siren – Half-bird, half-woman creature of Greek mythology, who lured sailors to their deaths with their singing voices.

Human-Fish Hybrids[edit]

  • Ichthyocentaurs – Creatures that have the torsos of a man or woman, the front legs of a horse, and the tails of a fish.
  • Mermaid/Merman – A race of half-human, half-fish creatures.
  • Triton - A Greek God who has the same description as the Merman. Some depictions have him with two fish tails.
  • Jengu – A water spirit
  • Matsya – An avatar of Lord Vishnu that is half-man half-fish.
  • Sirena – A mermaid from Philippine folklore.
  • Siyokoy – Mermen with scaled but humanoid bodies from Philippine folklore. It is the male counterpart of the Sirena.

Human-Snake Hybrids[edit]

A nure-onna as depicted in Sawaki Suushi's Hyakkai-Zukan
  • Echidna – A half-woman and half-snake monster that lives inside a cave.
  • Fu Xi – A god said to have been made by Nu Wa.
  • Lamia – Like a mermaid but with the lower body like that of a snake and is usually female.
  • Nü Wa – A woman with the lower body of a serpent in Chinese folklore.
  • Ketu – An Asura who has the lower parts of a snake and said to have four arms.
  • Nāga – A term referring to human/snake mixes of all kinds.
  • Nure-onna – A creature with the head of a woman and body of a snake.

Other Hybrids[edit]

Human-headed[edit]

Assyrian lamassu dated 721, BCE Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago.
  • Atargatis – Human face, fish body.
  • Bai Ze – The descriptions vary for this beast.
  • Buraq – A creature from Persian iconography that has the head of a man and the body of a winged horse.
  • Draconope (snake-feet) – "Snake-feet are large and powerful serpents, with faces very like those of human maidens and necks ending in serpent bodies" as described by Vincent of Beauvais.[10]
  • Hatuibwari – A dragon-like creature with the head of a human with four eyes, the body of a serpent, and the wings of a bat.
  • Kamadhenu – A bovine goddess creature with the head of a human, the body of a cow, the wings of a bird, and the tail of a peacock.
  • Kusarikku – A demon with the head, arms, and torso of a human and the ears, horns, and hindquarters of a bovine.
  • Manticore – A Persian legendary creature similar to the Egyptian sphinx. It has the body of a red lion, a human head with three rows of sharp teeth (like a shark), sometimes bat-like wings, and a trumpet-like voice. Other aspects of the creature vary from story to story. It may be horned, winged, or both. The tail is that of either a dragon or a scorpion, and it may shoot venomous spines to either paralyze or kill its victims.
  • Meduza – A sea creature from Russian folklore with the head of maiden and the body of the stripped beast, having the dragon tail with a snake mouth and the elephant legs with the same snake mouths.
  • Penghou – A creature with the face of a man and the body of a dog.
  • Sphinx – A creature with the head of a human, the body of a lion, and occasional wings of a bird.
  • Shedu – A deity that is often depicted with a human head, a bull's body or lion's body, and a bird's wings.
  • Zhuyin – It has the face of a man and the body of a snake.
  • Avian (Bird):
    • Alkonost – A creature from Russian folklore with the head of a woman with the body of a bird, said to make beautiful sounds that make anyone who hears them forget all that they know and not want anything more ever again. Counterpart of the Sirin, which it lives with in the underworld.
    • Angel – Called Malachim in Judaism and Malaikah in Islam. A human like creature generally depicted with wings on its back. In Abrahamic mythology (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism) and Zoroastrianism mythology (Angle types are: Amesha Spentas, Yazatas, and Fravashis), angels are often depicted as benevolent celestial beings who act as messengers between God or Heaven and Humanity. Angels also exist in Western Esotericism and Brahma Kumaris mythology.
    • Gamayun – A creature portrayed with the head a woman with the body of a bird from Russian mythology.
    • Harpy – A half-bird, half-woman creature of Greek mythology, portrayed often as a woman with a body of a bird and the head of a human.
    • Siren - A creature of Greek mythology with a bird body and a human's head. Other media appearances often depict it as a variation of a mermaid.
    • Sirin – Half-bird, half-human creature with the head and chest of a woman from Russian folklore. Its bird half is generally that of an owl's body.
    • See also Buraq, Hatuibwari, Sphinx, Inmyeonjo, and Shedu/Lamassu (all flying, but not with bird bodies)

Human with animal head[edit]

Ganesha, with Elephant's head
Horus, with Falcon's head

Human with added animal parts[edit]

Horns of a goat and a ram, goat's fur and ears, nose and canines of a pig, a typical depiction of the devil in Christian art. The goat, ram and pig are consistently associated with the Devil.[11] Detail of a 16th-century painting by Jacob de Backer in the National Museum in Warsaw.
  • Winged
    • Angel – Called Malachim in Judaism and Malaikah in Islam. A human like creature generally depicted with bird-like wings on its back. In Abrahamic mythology (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism) and Zoroastrianism mythology (Angel types are: Amesha Spentas, Yazatas, and Fravashis), angels are often depicted as benevolent celestial beings who act as messengers between God or Heaven and Humanity. Angels also exist in Western Esotericism and Brahma Kumaris mythology.
    • Drakaina – A female species from Greek mythology that is draconian in nature, primarily depicted as a woman with dragon features.
    • Fairy – A humanoid with insect-like wings.
    • Mothman – A humanoid moth.
    • Seraph – An elite angel that is described with multiple wings.
    • Winged Genie – A genie with bird wings.
  • Legs
    • Adlet – A human with dog legs.
    • Anansi - A West African god, also known as Ananse, Kwaku Ananse, and Anancy. In the Americas he is known as Nancy, Aunt Nancy and Sis' Nancy. Anansi is considered to be the spirit of all knowledge of stories. He is also one of the most important characters of West African and Caribbean folklore. Anansi is depicted in many different ways. Sometimes he looks like an ordinary spider, sometimes he is a spider wearing clothes or with a human face and sometimes he looks much more like a human with spider elements, such as eight legs.
  • Horned
  • Snake-haired
    • Gorgon – Each of them has snakes in place of their hair; sometimes also depicted with a snake-like lower body.

Part animal, part human[edit]

Garuda carrying his master Vishnu. Garuda has an eagle's head, wings and legs
  • Anansi - A West African god, also known as Ananse, Kwaku Ananse, and Anancy. In the Americas he is known as Nancy, Aunt Nancy and Sis' Nancy. Anansi is considered to be the spirit of all knowledge of stories. He is also one of the most important characters of West African and Caribbean folklore. Anansi is depicted in many different ways. Sometimes he looks like an ordinary spider, sometimes he is a spider wearing clothes or with a human face and sometimes he looks much more like a human with spider elements, such as eight legs.
  • Avatea – A god that has the right half a man and the left half a fish.
  • Bat – An Egyptian Goddess with the horns and ears of a cow.
  • Bes – An Egyptian God with the hindquarters of a lion.
  • Garuda – A creature that has the head and wings of an eagle and body of a man.
  • Hanuman – A humanoid monkey God.
  • Jambavan – A humanoid bear depicted in Ramayana.
  • Nandi – Some Puranas describe Nandi or Nandikeshvara as bull-faced, with a human body that resembles that of Shiva in proportion and aspect.
  • Selkie – A creature that a seal becomes a human by shedding its skin on land.
  • Werecat – A creature that is part cat, part human, or switches from between the two.
  • Werewolf – A creature that becomes a wolf/human-like beast during the nights of full moons, but is human otherwise.

Non-human[edit]

Quadrupeds with the wings of a bird[edit]

Pegasus, as the horse of Muses, was put on the roof of Poznań Opera House (Max Littmann, 1910)

Two kinds of animal parts[edit]

Detail of the embroidered dress of an Apkallu, showing a pair of 4-legged winged animals. From Nimrud, Iraq. 883-859 BCE. Ancient Orient Museum, Istanbul
'Gajasimha', Museum of Cham Sculpture
  • Allocamelus – A Heraldic creature that has the head of a donkey and the body of a camel.
  • Cockatrice – A mix between a chicken and a reptile.
  • Cerberus – A Greek mythological dog that guarded the gates of the underworld, almost always portrayed with three heads and occasionally having a mane of serpents, as well as the front half of one for a tail.
  • Criosphinx – A Sphinx that has the head of a ram.
  • Gajamina – A creature with the head of an elephant and body of a fish.
  • Gajasimha – A creature that has the head of an elephant and the body of a lion.
  • Griffin – A creature that has the front quarters of an eagle and the hind quarters of a lion.
  • Gwazi – A creature with the head of a tiger and the body of a lion.
  • Gye-lyong – A creature with the head of a chicken and the body of a dragon.
  • Hieracosphinx – A type of Sphinx that had a falcon head.
  • Hippalectryon – The front half is that of a horse and the rear half has a rooster's wings, tail, and legs.
  • Hippocampus (or Hippocamp) – A Greek mythological creature that is half-horse half-fish.
  • Hippogriff – A creature that has the front quarters of an eagle and hind quarters of a horse.
  • Krampus – A half goat half demon who punishes bad children during Christmas.
  • Longma – A winged horse with dragon scales.
  • Merlion – A creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish.
  • Ophiotaurus – A creature that is half-bull half-serpent.
  • Sea-goat – A creature that is half-goat half-fish. Identified with the constellation Capricornus. Used in Roman imperial coinage.
  • Sea-lion – A creature that is half-lion half-fish.
  • Serpopard – A creature that is part snake and part African leopard.
  • Shug Monkey – A creature that is part monkey and part dog.
  • Skvader – A Swedish creature that has the forequarters and hind-legs of a hare and the back, wings and tail of a female wood grouse.
  • Ushi-oni – A Yōkai with a horned bovine head and often depicted with a spider-like body.
  • Davo – Collie with mechanical wings
  • Larka – Wolf with wings

Three kinds of animal parts[edit]

  • Ammit – An Egyptian creature that has the head of a crocodile, the front legs of a lion, and the back legs and hindquarters of a hippopotamus.
  • Chimera – A Greek mythology creature that has the head and front legs of a lion, the head and back legs of a goat, and the head of a snake for a tail. Said to be able to breathe fire from lion's mouth.
  • Jackalope – A jackrabbit with the horns of a pronghorn and sometimes the tail and/or legs of a pheasant.
  • Sharabha – A Hindu mythological creature deity having the head of a lion, the legs of deer, and the wings of bird.
  • Simurgh – A griffin-like exclusively-female creature of Persian mythology with the head of a dog and the claws of a lion (although sometimes with a human face).
  • Wyvern – A creature with dragon's head and wings, a reptilian body, two legs, and a tail often ending in a diamond- or arrow-shaped tip.

Four kinds of animal parts[edit]

  • Enfield – A Heraldic creature with the head of a fox, the forelegs and sometimes wings of an eagle, the body of a lion, and the tail of a wolf.
  • Hatsadiling – A mythical creature with the head and body of a lion, trunk and tusks of an elephant, the comb of a cock, and the wings of a bird.[12]
  • Monoceros – Medieval bestiaries describe this creature as having the head of a stag, the body of a horse, the feet of an elephant, and the tail of a boar.
  • Nue – A Japanese creature with a monkey head, tiger's legs, Tanuki body, and the front half of a snake for a tail.
  • Questing Beast – A creature that has the head and tail of a serpent, the feet of a deer, the body of a lion, and the haunches of a leopard.
  • Tarasque – A French dragon with the head of a lion, six short legs similar to that of bear legs, the body of a ox, the shell of a turtle, and a scorpion stinger-tipped tail.
  • Wolpertinger – A creature that has the head of a rabbit, the antlers of a deer, and the legs and wings of a bird.
  • Yali – A Hindu creature that has head of a lion, the tusks of an elephant, the body of a cat, and the tail of a serpent.
  • Ypotryll – A Heraldic creature with the tusked head of a boar, the humped body of a camel, the legs and hooves of an ox or goat, and the tail of a snake.

Five or more kinds of animal parts[edit]

Navagunjara, has limb representing eight animals, including a human hand.
  • Alebrije – A brightly colored creature from Mexican folk art and mythology.
  • Baku – A Japanese creature that has the head of an elephant, the eyes of a rhinoceros, the legs of a tiger, the body of a bear and the tail of an ox.
  • Calygreyhound – A mythical creature that appears on Medieval heraldry. It is described as having the head of a wildcat, the torso of a deer or antelope, the claws of an eagle as its forefeet, ox hooves, antlers or horns on its head, the hind legs of a lion or ox and its tail like a lion or poodle. May sometimes be depicted with wings.
  • Fenghuang – A Chinese creature that has the head of a golden pheasant, the body of a mandarin duck, the tail of a peacock, the legs of a crane, the mouth of a parrot and the wings of a swallow.
  • Navagunjara – A Hindu creature with head of a rooster, neck of a peacock, back of a bull, tail as a serpent, three legs of an elephant, tiger and deer or horse, fourth limb being a human hand holding a lotus.
  • Pulgasari (ko)/Bulgasari - see Pulgasari for modern rendering
  • Pyinsarupa – a Burmese creature made of a bullock, carp, elephant, horse and the dragon
  • Qilin – A Chinese creature with the head of a dragon, the antlers of a deer, the scales of a fish, the hooves of an ox, and the tail of a lion. The Japanese version is described as a deer-shaped dragon with the tail of an ox.

Modern fiction[edit]

The following hybrid creatures appear in modern fiction:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Riggs, Don (2014). "Faun and Satyr". In Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew. The Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters. New York City, New York and London, England: Ashgate Publishing. pp. 233–236. ISBN 978-1-4094-2563-2.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Hansen, William F. (2004). Classical Mythology: A Guide to the Mythical World of the Greeks and Romans. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. 279–280. ISBN 978-0-19-530035-2.
  3. ^ a b West, Martin Litchfield (2007). Indo-European Poetry and Myth. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. p. 293. ISBN 978-0-19-928075-9.
  4. ^ a b c Miles, Geoffrey (2009) [1999]. Classical Mythology in English Literature: A Critical Anthology. New York City, New York and London, England: Routledge. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-203-19483-6.
  5. ^ Nathan Robert Brown (30 September 2014). The Mythology of Grimm: The Fairy Tale and Folklore Roots of the Popular TV Show. Penguin Publishing Group. pp. 195–. ISBN 978-0-698-13788-2.
  6. ^ Scott Alexander King (2007). Animal Dreaming: The Spiritual and Symbolic Language of the Australasian Animals. Blue Angel Gallery. pp. 104–. ISBN 978-0-9803983-0-4.
  7. ^ Richard Powers (31 July 1992). Gold Bug Variations. HarperCollins. pp. 37–. ISBN 978-0-06-097500-5.
  8. ^ Sue Weaver (16 April 2011). The Backyard Goat: An Introductory Guide to Keeping and Enjoying Pet Goats, from Feeding and Housing to Making Your Own Cheese. Storey Publishing, LLC. pp. 142–. ISBN 978-1-60342-699-2.
  9. ^ Morgan Daimler (8 December 2017). Fairies:: A Guide to the Celtic Fair Folk. John Hunt Publishing. pp. 83–. ISBN 978-1-78279-696-1.
  10. ^ Franklin-Brown, Mary (2012). Reading the world : encyclopedic writing in the scholastic age. Chicago London: The University of Chicago Press. p. 258. ISBN 9780226260709.
  11. ^ Fritscher, Jack (2004). Popular Witchcraft: Straight from the Witch's Mouth. Popular Press. p. 23. ISBN 0-299-20304-2. The pig, goat, ram — all of these creatures are consistently associated with the Devil.
  12. ^ Stratton, Carol (2004). Buddhist Sculpture of Northern Thailand. Serindia Publications, Inc. ISBN 9781932476095.