In 2005, a study of approximately 5,000 rock paintings in South Africa and Australia dating as early as 30,000 BC by University of Cambridge anthropologist Christopher Chippendale and Dr. Paul Takon of the Australian Museum led the duo to a fascinating conclusion: primitive man lacked the imagination to paint what he could not see, therefore such creatures must have existed. In their new visualization of early man, our ancestors walked the earth alongside these half human beings, known collectively as therianthropes. They surmised that while the frequency and chance occurrence of such births would have been rare, the "beasts" from mythology most likely did exist.
The most famous examples come from Greek mythology. The centaur (from Ancient Greek Κένταυροι or Kéntauroi, meaning "piercing bull-stickers") was half-human, half-horse and is seen even today as an iconic image of mythical creatures, as well as the symbol of Sagittarius in astrology. Soldiers during ancient times would bring sheep and goats with them as both a source of food and sexual relief, since it was deemed less sinful than sleeping with a prostitute (my goodness, how times have changed). The Roman poet Juvenal even made mention that "Roman women often exposed their naked buttocks to tempt donkeys into sex contacts."
Well-respected scholars of the past, including the Italian lecturer and philosopher Fortunio Liceti, recorded several births of therianthropes (both born from humans and animals). Even in more recent history, mentions of half-human births were found in medical books of the 19th and 20th centuries. Although genetically-speaking, animals and humans vary only slightly, modern science held out for some time on the belief that interbreeding was even feasible, yet experiments are said to have resulted in successfully creating organisms with both human and animal cells.
So, could your next boyfriend be a centaur or girlfriend be the REAL cat-woman? Not very likely. Russian biologist Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov attempted such experiments during the 1920s and all his attempts were thwarted before his eventual exile to Almaty due to public outcry. Beastiality, even in the name of science, is seriously frowned upon by the general population. Yet who knows? Perhaps in some remote land, far from societal pressures and taboos, any one of us could very well find a four-legged, two armed man of our dreams who is quite literally hung like a horse.