The Physics Police

The Physics Police

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chimp + Pig = Human

We can all have a good laugh at this silly article on, called A chimp-pig hybrid origin for humans. This fanciful speculation is based on morphological similarities between humans and pigs, and was proposed by Eugene McCarthy, who has a Ph.D. in genetics. One doesn't need a degree in genetics to know it's wrong.

Nobody in their right mind would believe humans are a product of a single hybridization event between a chimp and a pig. Even Jimmy Kimmel made fun this idea. I find it interesting, though, to ask why this seems so impossible? After all, we don't doubt the origin of the liger and mule, both hybrid animals between two different species.

I think we intuit that, for a hybrid to be possible, the two crossed species must be closely related. Lions are like tigers, donkeys are like horses, but pigs aren't very much like chimps.

This intuition is correct, because the latest common ancestor between human and pig lived more than 85 million years ago. There were, like, dinosaurs roaming the Earth back then. Compare this to lions and tigers, which diverged less than 2 million years ago. Horses and donkeys, more like 4 million years. Such a huge separation in time makes hybridization impossible.

Taxonomy reflects this difference, too. The liger and mule are hybrids of different species in the same taxonomical genus. But pig and human come from different orders entirely. While both from the class mammalia, humans are in the order primate, pigs are in the order Laurasiatheria, along with cows, bats, whales, etc. I mean, pigs have two-towed, cloven hooves. Ain't no way that's gonna work. One can rule out any possibility of hybridization from this huge taxonomical difference.

Then there are molecular reasons to reject the hybrid hypothesis, too. Chimps have 48 chromosomes, whereas pigs only have 38. Hybrids between two species with different chromosome number is possible. Donkeys, for example, have 62 chromosomes, while horses have 64 chromosomes. As you might have guessed, mules have 63 chromosomes.

In addition to pointing to the impossibility of any such hybrid, molecular evidence also disagrees with the ludicrous hypothesis. Human and chimp genomes are 96% identical. If this hybridization theory were correct, much of that 4% would be accounted for by pig DNA. The human genome has been thoroughly studied. There is no (uniquely) pig DNA in it, anywhere.

Even if a pig-chimp hybrid were possible, there's a damn good reason why it  cannot explain human evolution. I don't know, maybe you've heard of it, a little something called THE FOSSIL RECORD. Human evolution was gradual process, from our split with chimps about 6 million years ago, to australopithecus, homo habilis, homo heidelbergensis, and finally, and finally, homo sapiens.

Evolution works. It one of the most well supported theories in all of science. The idea that some damn pig got up in there, and fast-forwarded human evolution from some chimp-like ancestor goes against the foundation evolution; gradual change over time.

You see, what McCarthy proposes is not just laughably implausible, but something much more sinister. He proposes a backwards, anti-evolutionist argument called macro evolution. His website is called It also looks like 1995. His "arguments" for a porcine human origin read like an Onion article. His only defense is the rhetorical device called argument from ignorance.
Proponents of the idea that humans are closely related to apes (and not to pigs) often speak as if their case has been proved beyond doubt. But, of course, it has not. The wide acceptance of this idea may actually be due to the lack of any competitive theory.
His website is just silly. It's enough to suspect the entire persona of Gene McCarthy is a clever farce.

My god, what if...? No... no, it couldn't be... What if McCarthy, himself, isn't even human being, at all? What if he is, himself, a pig, pushing the pig agenda? That photograph of him could be nothing more than a pig in a people suit, posing with two innocent child actors!

We're looking for the pig-man, Dr. Eugene McCarthy.
Proponents of the idea that McCarthy is a human being (and not a pig) often speak as if their case has been proved beyond doubt. But, of course, it has not. The wide acceptance of this idea may actually be due to the lack of any competitive theory.
The porcine origin of Eugene McCarthy is an idea which, to quote McCarthy himself,
... should be taken seriously.
Or not.

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