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What are species?

There are roughly 8.7 million species on our planet, but, what does that mean? 


  1. What are species? 
  2. What happens with different species breed? 
  3. What are examples of crossed species.


Organisms in the same species group can breed with each other and create fertile offspring. Fertile means, the offspring can produce their own offspring. 

If two organisms are not of the same species, then the offspring they produce (if they can produce any off spring at all) is often infertile and unable to reproduce.

Humans are all part of the same species, ‘Sapiens’. This means we can breed with other humans and produce fertile offspring.

Source: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/11-shades-of-people


Match the cards below. Once you match them correctly, you will find out what scientific name of the organism is (remember, the first word is the genus, and the last word is the species name). 

Crossing Species

Science is always changing and constantly learning. So while this is our definition of species, there are exceptions throughout the world. 

Sometimes individuals from two different species can reproduce and create fertile offspring. A common example is the Liger or Tigon. 

  • Ligers are a cross between a male lion and a female tiger .
  • Tigons are produced when a female lion and male tiger have cubs.

Unlike many young from different species, ligers and tigons can have offspring.


Hercules is a huge Liger! This means he is a crossbreed between a male lion and a female tiger. He measures up to his name, weighing in at more than 408 kg (900 pounds) and 11 feet tall (335 cm) when standing on his hind legs! Click here to see a news report on him


  • Species are organisms which can reproduce with each other and create fertile offspring.

  • If different species breed, they will most likely not be able to produce an offspring or, produce an offspring that is infertile. 

Test your knowledge

Click the ‘question mark’ to test your knowledge with some questions and activities.


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