Chimera

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In Greek Mythology, the Chimera or Chimaera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, along with Cerberus, Orthrus and the Lernean Hydra. Descriptions vary, some say it had the body of a goat, the hindquarters of a snake or dragon and the head of a lion, though others say it had heads of both the goat and lion with a snake for a tail. All descriptions, however, agree that it breathed fire from one of more of its heads.

It was finally defeated by Bellerophon with the help of Pegasus, the winged horse, at the command of King Iobates of Lycia. There are varying descriptions of its death, some say merely that Bellerophon ran it through on his spear, whereas others say that he fitted his spear point with lead that melted when exposed to the Chimera's fiery breath and consquently killed it.


The term is often used metaphorically to describe things that have combined attributes from different sources. In genetics, for example, an organism or tissue created from two or more different genetic sources is called a chimera. For example, transplant patients with organs from other donors.