Dogs were artificially selected from wolves, but a dog and a wolf can produce fertile offspring, and thus are of the same species. I had heard that the aurochs and cattle were different species, but I could not find this information anywhere. I had heard also that some artificially selected flies are considered to be a new species.

Is there any human-made species (especially a species of animal) which is not able to produce fertile offspring witch any other species, in particular with the one from which it evolved?

EDIT: (A similar question in different words.) Is there any human-made animal lineage which was conceived by artificial selection and which is broadly accepted as not being a race or subspecies, but a species on its own.

  • $\begingroup$ You might consider the horse, there aren't any wild horses that don't trace their lineage back to the domestic horse rather than a shared ancestor & though they can be bred with some of their closer relatives (notably donkeys & zebras) the offspring are almost invariably infertile, so they may fit your criteria? $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 16:46

2 Answers 2


Artificial selection leading to new species - Domestication

As you talk about dogs in your intro, let's consider them.

You will fail to breed a great dane and chihuahua for obvious mechanical reasons. You will also fail to breed a chihuahua with a wolf. So, yes artificial selection have lead to reproductive isolation.

Artificial selection leading to new species - lab experiment

Artificial selection have also lead to reproductive isolation in non-domesticated species. See for example the post Have we ever observed two drosophila lineages that evolved reproductive isolation in labs?

Concept of species

As a side note... Above, I consider the so-called 'biological species concept'. For a discussion on the definition of species, please have a look at this post.


There is not clear delineation for speciation, but think more along the line of a spectrum. When I compare the bacteria S. Pyogenes (flesh eating bacteria) and S.Dysgalactiae (commensal pathogen) they are very similar in a lot of their genes but they have also acquired qualities that helps us distinguish these as different species. Still, when found together, they readily undergo bacterial conjugation and exchange genes. So to comment for the first part of question, the ability to produce fertile offspring does not imply that species are identical...rather compatible.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The OP clearly refers to the so-called 'biological species concept', so it is, IMO, possible to answer the question without getting lost in a semantic argument on the definition of the term 'species'. For such discussion have a look at this post. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 13:23

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