… what should we call our earliest ancestors?
This just in:
Dr. Eugene McCarthy is a Ph.D. geneticist who has made a career out of studying hybridization in animals. He now curates a biological information website called Macroevolution.net where he has amassed an impressive body of evidence suggesting that human origins can be best explained by hybridization between pigs and chimpanzees.
Most people who make such claims are offering some kind of a moral point. He isn’t. He isn’t kidding.
Extraordinary theories require extraordinary evidence and McCarthy does not disappoint. Rather than relying on genetic sequence comparisons, he instead offers extensive anatomical comparisons, each of which may be individually assailable, but startling when taken together. Why weren’t these conclusions arrived at much sooner? McCarthy suggests it is because of an over-dependence on genetic data among biologists. He argues that humans are probably the result of multiple generations of backcrossing to chimpanzees, which in nucleotide sequence data comparisons would effectively mask any contribution from pig.
Or anything at all, one guesses.
Okay, contest: What do we call our earliest piggychimp ancestor?
Prize?: A copy of Illustra Media’s new vid , Flight: The genius of birds
Contest judged next Saturday, July 13th.
Incidentally, how things change: Back in 2009, a claim that the astonishing life cycle of the butterfly (egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, adult) arose through hybridization (the caterpillar is seen as a sort of giant egg) caused Scientific American to dub the National Academy of Science’s publication, PNAS, “The National Enquirer” of the sciences. Yes, caterpillars. But well, they’re caterpillars. But now this?
Happy Fourth of July to all our American readers.