Join 3,574 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Best of Breed Solution
July 25, 2013 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Are human beings the descendants of chimpanzee/pig hybrids? This radical theory might seem easy to disprove, but "decent arguments against the hybrid origins theory are surprisingly hard to find."
posted by chrchr (134 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Geeps! Zeedonks!

I've read just enough scifi about 'uplifted' pigs that this idea appeals to me instantly.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 12:26 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Explains George W Bush.
posted by HuronBob at 12:31 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Furthermore, this is simply another thread of evidence suggesting that Daleks walk (float?) among us.

edit: Also, all of you are sick, sick, bacon-eating freaks.
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 12:33 PM on July 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


I cant

I'm laughing so fucking hard it is unconscionable. It goes into exhaustive detail about how various characteristics make it plausible yet wholly ignores the cold hard fact that they are not really very clear on the actual mechanics of the whole monkeys and pigs getting it on thing. "Animals sometimes do it with other animals, everyone knows that" is not all that compelling.

However, I am going to get a lot of use out of this statement:"I have no way of knowing at present, but I have no logical or evidential basis for rejecting the idea."
posted by elizardbits at 12:34 PM on July 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Another possibility that McCarthy does not recommend, but which several scientists have suggested to him, is producing an actual hybrid. He objects to this approach, not on scientific, but humanitarian grounds. After all, he says, such an experiment might result in an intelligent but non-human creature, much more piglike than any human being, who would have no happy place in our world.

DO IT DO IT I'LL BE ITS FRIEND
posted by Greg Nog at 12:34 PM on July 25, 2013 [42 favorites]


The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.
posted by condour75 at 12:35 PM on July 25, 2013 [28 favorites]


monkeys

apes
posted by Greg Nog at 12:35 PM on July 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


I see a list of loosely subjective phenotypes, but not much in the way of a genotypic analysis. For example, looking at the genomic constituencies of human, chimp and pig through sequencing to see where there are critical differences and similarities, like GC content, SNPs and tandem repeats, insertions/deletions in interesting genes, etc. Presumably, some measurable, non-subjective experiments would be repeatable and therefore useful for verifying McCarthy's hypothesis.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:35 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also I share a lot of traits with both grumpy cat and tiny furious chihuahuas so therefore science.
posted by elizardbits at 12:35 PM on July 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'M TALKING ABOUT A PIGMAN!
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:36 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


If it's okay with everyone else, I'm going to just go ahead and believe this.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:36 PM on July 25, 2013 [26 favorites]


Wasn't there a song by Loverboy that already addressed this?
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:37 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Explains why we're hogging the planet.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:37 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Presumably, some measurable, non-subjective experiments

pig-monkey porn

basically
posted by elizardbits at 12:37 PM on July 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


All Animals Are Equal. But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:37 PM on July 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


It would show up trivially under phylogenetic gene analysis, if it were true. It would have been obvious the first time anyone made a genomic tree that included all three taxa, which they do pretty much any time anyone does a phylogenomic analysis of Metazoa.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:37 PM on July 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


I love this so hard. I love that it seems so gonzo weird and that, so far, it seems like it might actually be true.

Also, bonobos are notorious for sexing everything all the time right? I really want that to be a main piece of evidence in favor of this notion.
posted by overglow at 12:38 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


BACON IS CANNIBALISM!!! YAY!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:39 PM on July 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


OH MY GOD Baby Monkey Backwards On A Pig has been ruined forever

RUINED

FOREVER
posted by elizardbits at 12:40 PM on July 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


I smell viral marketing (from the phys.org link in the FPP):

Another possibility that McCarthy does not recommend, but which several scientists have suggested to him, is producing an actual hybrid. He objects to this approach, not on scientific, but humanitarian grounds. After all, he says, such an experiment might result in an intelligent but non-human creature, much more piglike than any human being, who would have no happy place in our world. He in fact includes such a hybrid, an F1 female, as one of the major characters in The Department, his kindle book satire of academic life. In it he observes, "I hope never to meet her in the flesh." You can see McCarthy address some of the issues raised above in greater depth in a podcast that has just been released.
posted by dhens at 12:40 PM on July 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Shhh Mitrovarr, people are rolling with this. Let's see what happens...
posted by dobie at 12:41 PM on July 25, 2013


Also, bonobos are notorious for sexing everything all the time right? I really want that to be a main piece of evidence in favor of this notion.

At 1430h, we placed the bonobo in the enclosure along with the pig and the waterbed. We then left the room. At 1515h, we returned to find the pig lying on the waterbed, smoking a cigarette. We feel that this evidence is hard to refute.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:42 PM on July 25, 2013 [17 favorites]


http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/07/02/the-mfap-hypothesis-for-the-origins-of-homo-sapiens/

Dr Myers took the time to address this both semi-seriously, and not so seriously. I do like his name for the " theory": MFAP.
posted by sotonohito at 12:44 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yup, I'd love if this were so. I'd laugh and laugh. (an oinky kind of laugh.) I don't know who I'd be laughing at. The hubris of what we think we know.
posted by Trochanter at 12:44 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


F-f-f-friggin awesome.

This is the best thing since the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis!
posted by edheil at 12:44 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


In the further interest of pretending this is real and also forcing everyone to think about this in detail, since successful hybridization presumably does not take place with every single act of interspecies lovin', how many instances of pigmonkey porn would have to take place for this to be viable?

please show all work
posted by elizardbits at 12:46 PM on July 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


every single act of interspecies lovin'

hereinafter referred to as a "pulled pork sandwich"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:48 PM on July 25, 2013 [22 favorites]


I've read just enough scifi about 'uplifted' pigs that this idea appeals to me instantly.

Anyone else think that Alastair Reynolds lost a bet to someone who was really into Pigs In Space?
posted by shothotbot at 12:49 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


If this isn't real then nothing matters anymore
posted by theodolite at 12:50 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


You guys are ignoring the obvious here. Genetic manipulation by ancient astronauts.

How else do you explain pyramid like structures all over the world, as well as what appears to be landing strips for spacecraft and ancient art that appears to depict aliens. You can't. Checkmate antiancientastronautists.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:52 PM on July 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Is April 1st early or late?
posted by yoink at 12:53 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


BACON IS CANNIBALISM!!! YAY!!!

Long pig.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:54 PM on July 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Evidence!
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:54 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Flagged because the post title should have been "Men are pigs".
posted by chrchr at 12:54 PM on July 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Wow I hadn't heard about the platypus genetic stuff before ... quelle interessant:
Because of the early divergence from the therian mammals and the low numbers of extant monotreme species, the platypus is a frequent subject of research in evolutionary biology. In 2004, researchers at the Australian National University discovered the platypus has ten sex chromosomes, compared with two (XY) in most other mammals (for instance, a male platypus is always XYXYXYXYXY), although given the XY designation of mammals, the sex chromosomes of the platypus are more similar to the ZZ/ZW sex chromosomes found in birds.

The platypus genome also has both reptilian and mammalian genes associated with egg fertilisation. Since the platypus lacks the mammalian sex-determining gene SRY, the mechanism of sex determination remains unknown. A draft version of the platypus genome sequence was published in Nature on 8 May 2008, revealing both reptilian and mammalian elements, as well as two genes found previously only in birds, amphibians, and fish. More than 80% of the platypus' genes are common to the other mammals whose genomes have been sequenced.
posted by crayz at 12:54 PM on July 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


The platypus was the result of millions of years of animal key parties.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:57 PM on July 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


chrchr: Studio Killers - All Men Are Pigs
posted by 7segment at 1:04 PM on July 25, 2013


Apparently humster is a thing.
posted by no relation at 1:06 PM on July 25, 2013


Apparently humster is a thing.

Only until it learns the words.
posted by yoink at 1:07 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Obviously humans are a hybrid of chimpanzees and space unicorns.

There is no evidence against it therefore science!
posted by no relation at 1:09 PM on July 25, 2013


More evidence from Jim Woodring
posted by moonmilk at 1:10 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


This would explain the squee levels for this video. However, I have to admit that youtube squee evidence would also link us with kitties, puppies, bunnies, sloths, and baby porcupines.
posted by edheil at 1:13 PM on July 25, 2013


More evidence. What manner of creature is that? It was found sleeping, but still alive. It shows no fear of humans.Surely it is not of this earth.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:18 PM on July 25, 2013


Although I do not concur in Mann's assertion that pigs share more traits with humans than do chimpanzees, I do think pigs and humans share more than enough traits to suggest a relationship. For example, lightly pigmented eyes, in shades of blue, green, and tan, are never found in chimpanzees or orangutans.3 There is, apparently, only one known case of a gorilla with blue eyes.4 Light-colored eyes are also rare in other primates.5 Why, then, are they common in certain human populations? Where did this trait come from? One conceivable explanation is that it was inherited from blue-eyed pigs.
Wait it's mostly just white people who have blue eyes... what if... oh shit....
posted by edheil at 1:19 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


RUN JIMMY ITS THE PIGOONS
posted by klangklangston at 1:21 PM on July 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


Pigs have 38 chromosomes. Humans have 46. The cross wouldn't be fertile, if it was even viable at all.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:30 PM on July 25, 2013


an intelligent but non-human creature, much more piglike than any human being,

I've met some pretty piglike human beings, but I'm not sure they are intelligent.

chrchr: Studio Killers - All Men Are Pigs

I beg to differ
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:31 PM on July 25, 2013


Also excellent post title
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:32 PM on July 25, 2013


Pigs have 38 chromosomes. Humans have 46. The cross wouldn't be fertile, if it was even viable at all.

That's discussed four paragraphs into the first link, but bang-up job spending any article-reading time by digging up a wikipedia link for us.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:33 PM on July 25, 2013 [16 favorites]


Ha, ha charade you are.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:39 PM on July 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


It would show up trivially under phylogenetic gene analysis, if it were true.

You shut up! This theory ain't over.. not until we say it's over. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:39 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah the entire thesis of the second link is that there hasn't been any strong science based refutation of the theory. Just a lot of mockery from people NOT in evolutionary science.

Which is basically this whole thread.

I'm not saying pigs and monkeys did it, but given how frequently modern humans are known to have sex with animals...
posted by danny the boy at 1:39 PM on July 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


All Too Plausible-- and I love his sense of humor: that picture of him and his kids could only have been chosen for max cuteness and to drive home his point.
posted by jamjam at 1:43 PM on July 25, 2013


So... manbearpig... is us?
posted by Hairy Lobster at 1:47 PM on July 25, 2013


On the internet, you can find crap that not even in your wildest dreams....
posted by BlueHorse at 1:48 PM on July 25, 2013


GM pigs could provide human organs "by 2013"
posted by chrchr at 1:49 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


From this article: 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...
posted by banal evil at 1:51 PM on July 25, 2013


You shut up! This theory ain't over.. not until we say it's over. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:39 PM on July 25


Exactly! How many knowledges have you scienced?
posted by no relation at 1:51 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, chimps have sex with frogs on youtube, so chimp-on-pig action is entirely plausible.
posted by molecicco at 1:54 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


And I once watched a show about a pig that married a frog. I'm telling you, it's possible.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:56 PM on July 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


I still think my space unicorn theory is more plausible.
posted by no relation at 1:56 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


It gets even better: Gorillas are also chimp-porcine hybrids, but they are hybrids with the Giant Forest Hog, which shares an environment with them (and Diane "Gorillas In The Mist" Fossey even mistook a giant forest hog for a gorilla once!).

Also only Bonobos are unhybridized chimps; regular chimps have a bit of back-bred gorilla in them.
posted by edheil at 2:01 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


As I read this article I kept envisioning the people from the classic Twilight Zone episode, "Eye of the Beholder.
And I kept lamenting my ignorance of biology, because I don't know how seriously I should take this claim.
Either way, I'm not ashamed of my interspecies-sexing bonobo/peccary great-great-grandmother. Nothin' but pride in my heritage. Soooooie!
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 2:02 PM on July 25, 2013


It would show up trivially under phylogenetic gene analysis, if it were true. It would have been obvious the first time anyone made a genomic tree that included all three taxa, which they do pretty much any time anyone does a phylogenomic analysis of Metazoa.

This seems like something that would be easy to produce, if true.

If McCarthy's expertise is in hybridization, presumably his explanation (from the previous article) of why this might not be easily detectable in genetic analysis isn't totally preposterous:
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.
I see a list of loosely subjective phenotypes, but not much in the way of a genotypic analysis.

Also from the previous article:
A short list of differential features, for example, would include, multipyramidal kidney structure, presence of dermal melanocytes, melanoma, absence of a primate baculum (penis bone), surface lipid and carbohydrate composition of cell membranes, vocal cord structure, laryngeal sacs, diverticuli of the fetal stomach, intestinal "valves of Kerkring," heart chamber symmetry, skin and cranial vasculature and method of cooling, and tooth structure. Other features occasionally seen in humans, like bicornuate uteruses and supernumerary nipples, would also be difficult to incorporate into a purely primate tree.
True, these are phenotypes, but they seem a bit more than "loosely subjective."

Considering that the article's theme was basically, "this sounds crazy, but if it's really wrong you should be able to make a better counterargument" Metafilter isn't exactly rising to the challenge here.
posted by bjrubble at 2:03 PM on July 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Are human beings the descendants of chimpanzee/pig hybrids?

Moe: "That's the worst name idea I ever heard."
posted by dgaicun at 2:06 PM on July 25, 2013


Not that I'm taking it that seriously, but you can't mock something you haven't actually refuted -- that's the difference between Ghandi and Bozo the Clown.
posted by bjrubble at 2:14 PM on July 25, 2013


you can't mock something you haven't actually refuted

Sure, you can. The world is chock full of dumb-ass ideas that aren't worth the spit to refute. Refutation is more acknowledgment than they deserve. In those cases, mockery is exactly the right level of attention.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:20 PM on July 25, 2013


So you're saying we should snort in derision?
posted by bleep-blop at 2:24 PM on July 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I skimmed some of TFA, admittedly, but I spent a bit more time on his biography.

From TFB...
During my years at the genetics department, I became increasingly dissatisfied with the standard explanation of evolution. The more I read about fossils, the more convinced I became that Darwin's account of the evolutionary process was fundamentally flawed. Moreover, in my study of hybrids I became aware that an alternative way of thinking about evolution, what I now call "stabilization theory," could do a better job of explaining the available data.
Hmmm. Interesting so far, though I too lack the biological knowledge to say yea or nay.
Over the years, in addition to the dry papers I published on such topics as new genetics software I had written, or surveys of the mouse and rice genomes, I wrote successive versions of a paper explaining the problems I saw with standard evolutionary theory and presented my alternative explanation. These manuscripts, once submitted, would promptly arrive in the hands of anonymous reviewers who would recommend rejection, because, they said, my claims contradicted accepted tenets of standard theory. Well, yes, of course they did — because I was trying to present an alternative evolutionary theory that, if correct, would imply that Darwinian theory is mistaken at an axiomatic level.
They laughed at the Wright Brothers, too. Anyway...
My evolving manuscript on evolution, repeatedly rejected, continued to grow and change as I revised it and passed it around to colleagues. Finally it became a book, which I submitted to Oxford University Press in the summer of 2007. After peer review, it was accepted for publication and we signed a contract. The working title for the manuscript was On the Origins of New Life Forms.
He never got his views published in the peer-reviewed literature, but he turned it into a book?

Skip a couple of paragraphs...
On the other hand, there were reviews that raised objections, all of the same ilk — that my claims were inconsistent with one tenet or another of accepted theory. For those who shy away from anything that rocks the establishment's boat, such objections can never be satisfactorily addressed. And yet, for someone like me, who is trying to critique and improve upon standard theory, they are not even valid. Obviously, a new theory that contradicts an existing theory will be inconsistent with the tenets of that theory!
Again, I don't know much about a science book, but I do know that if you're going to present a theory and have it taken seriously in the face of objections, you kinda hafta address those objections. Right?
posted by no relation at 2:25 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reading the "About Gene McCarthy" link: Isn't this just saltationism?
posted by PMdixon at 2:30 PM on July 25, 2013


OMG IZ THAT WHY THEY BOTH TASTES SO GOOD?!?!
posted by nowhere man at 2:31 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: "It goes into exhaustive detail about how various characteristics make it plausible yet wholly ignores the cold hard fact that they are not really very clear on the actual mechanics of the whole monkeys and pigs getting it on thing. "

Search youtube with the terms 'flir donkey' to get a feel for how this would've worked.
posted by mullingitover at 2:35 PM on July 25, 2013


Not supporting this idea, but isn't it (ancestor of modern pig) + (ancestor of modern chimp)

vs.

(Modern pig) + (Modern chimp)?
posted by jeff-o-matic at 2:36 PM on July 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


It gets even better: Gorillas are also chimp-porcine hybrids, but they are hybrids with the Giant Forest Hog, which shares an environment with them (and Diane "Gorillas In The Mist" Fossey even mistook a giant forest hog for a gorilla once!).

Actually, looking at each porcine and ape side by side, I can totally see it.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:37 PM on July 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


They say we taste like pork.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:41 PM on July 25, 2013


Look, this is obviously true.

But since pigs were originally the result of a hybrid event between dolphins and llamas, wouldn't this really mean that humans are some sort of dolphin-llama-chimp?
posted by dgaicun at 2:43 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


They say we taste like pork.

But they had never tasted porchimpen.
posted by bleep-blop at 2:45 PM on July 25, 2013


"Show me the zygote" is probably the best comment on an internet news site I've seen in quite some time
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:49 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: "Presumably, some measurable, non-subjective experiments

pig-monkey porn

basically
"

Baum chicka snort ook!
posted by Samizdata at 3:00 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


danny the boy: "Yeah the entire thesis of the second link is that there hasn't been any strong science based refutation of the theory. Just a lot of mockery from people NOT in evolutionary science.

Which is basically this whole thread.

I'm not saying pigs and monkeys did it, but given how frequently modern humans are known to have sex with animals...
"

Damn it. Now I have to run security checks, as you have obviously hacked my bookmarks file.

You know, I only viewed such things as a hopeful path to a research grant...
posted by Samizdata at 3:06 PM on July 25, 2013


Alonzo T. Calm: "As I read this article I kept envisioning the people from the classic Twilight Zone episode, "Eye of the Beholder .
And I kept lamenting my ignorance of biology, because I don't know how seriously I should take this claim.
Either way, I'm not ashamed of my interspecies-sexing bonobo/peccary great-great-grandmother. Nothin' but pride in my heritage. Soooooie!
"

What did you need?
posted by Samizdata at 3:08 PM on July 25, 2013


I'm 1/65536th pig on my father's side.
posted by no relation at 3:11 PM on July 25, 2013


no relation: "I'm 1/65536th pig on my father's side."

Stupid almost-not-mixed bloods.
posted by Samizdata at 3:15 PM on July 25, 2013


That's discussed four paragraphs into the first link,

His counter-examples are all cases where the two creatures involved are evolutionarily close: sheep/goats, donkeys/zebras.

But primates and swine are not evolutionarily close at all.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:28 PM on July 25, 2013


Considering that the article's theme was basically, "this sounds crazy, but if it's really wrong you should be able to make a better counterargument" Metafilter isn't exactly rising to the challenge here.

In science, it is no one's job but the idea's proponent to defend his hypothesis. Deriving phylogeny from physical appearances is not very sophisticated and is the type of work done by naturalists back in the 1800s. Hoping for something better or at least testable/measurable should be a reasonable expectation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:31 PM on July 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


He says pigs have naked skin, but all wild pig species I've ever seen are covered in coarse hair.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:34 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


No. It's time to take a stand that PC (pig-chimp) has gone too far. We accept this "theory", and next thing you know officers of the law will be wanting to become some sot of protected class, because they're just expressing their porcine nature.
posted by eviemath at 3:41 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


In science, it is no one's job but the idea's proponent to defend his hypothesis. Deriving phylogeny from physical appearances is not very sophisticated and is the type of work done by naturalists back in the 1800s. Hoping for something better or at least testable/measurable should be a reasonable expectation.

McCarthy jumps into the comments in the second link to offer some ideas to test:

McCarthy here. This comment is to teledyn. I appreciate your support and open-mindedness, but I want to slightly correct one thing. You said "his own argument says that it is not likely to be resolved from the genetics." I'd weaken that a little to say "It might be very hard to resolve this with genetics." Certainly, the ordinary BLAST approach won't work, since you don't know what you're looking for. But I'm hopeful that more powerful techniques, in particular, in silico chromosome painting of the human genome with random pig and chimpanzee sequences will show up pig hot spots. However, I admit, if the backcrossing has gone far enough, it might be difficult to see anything definite even with that technique.
posted by mullingitover at 3:44 PM on July 25, 2013


Sometimes I think that different people evolved from different animals.

Anyways, this seems as plausible to me as anything else. Sure, we are pigapes. I can dig it.
posted by windykites at 3:44 PM on July 25, 2013


Tons of backcrossing would wipe out the morphological traits faster than it would wipe out the phylogenetic signal. The morphological traits he claims to have observed derive from genes and the combination of those genes - for those traits to persist, the genes have to persist as well (and some neutral genes would have gone along for the ride). If this was real, the phylogeny of at least some of those genes would place humans and pigs together with strong support. And with the heavy, heavy examination the human genome has undergone, we'd know about it.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:02 PM on July 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Windykites, YOU may be a pigapes, but I happen to be an apig. Superior in brachiation AND hooting.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:07 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are documented cases of people fucking pigs, so a protochimp hog fucker that spawned us isn't THAT farfetched.
posted by Renoroc at 4:19 PM on July 25, 2013


Decent arguments supporting this assertion are hard to come by.
posted by clvrmnky at 4:48 PM on July 25, 2013


Apparently the pig genome is pretty similar to the human one. And of course, we got insulin (and many transplants) from pigs before humans.
The domestic pig is being increasingly exploited as a system for modeling human disease. It also has substantial economic importance for meat-based protein production. Physical clone maps have underpinned large-scale genomic sequencing and enabled focused cloning efforts for many genomes. Comparative genetic maps indicate that there is more structural similarity between pig and human than, for example, mouse and human, and we have used this close relationship between human and pig as a way of facilitating map construction.
Source
posted by effugas at 5:02 PM on July 25, 2013


chrchr: ""decent arguments against the hybrid origins theory are surprisingly hard to find.""

For someone to oppose your idea, they have to stop laughing first.
posted by chairface at 5:11 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


For someone to oppose your idea, they have to stop laughing first.

There are still vast mobs of people who will ridicule you for believing that humans and apes have a common ancestor, so I don't think this is necessarily a big deal.

I personally feel that this is eventually going to be found to be true, and it's God taking measures to troll the hell out of Islam and Judaism simultaneously.
posted by mullingitover at 5:28 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sure, it's fair to point out that none of the objections to the pig/ape hybrid theory definitely disprove it. But then, the pig/ape hybrid doesn't disprove the aquatic ape theory.
posted by klangklangston at 5:38 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm 1/65536th pig on my father's side.

The side of bacon, so to speak?
posted by yoink at 6:07 PM on July 25, 2013


chairface, is there some reason why this is inherently a ridiculous idea?
posted by effugas at 6:07 PM on July 25, 2013


Dude, if you don't see why an ape and a pig getting it on is an inherently ridiculous idea, I don't know if anyone can explain it to you.
posted by baf at 6:39 PM on July 25, 2013


We do know that animals separated by large evolutionary distances, such as kangaroos and elephants, can interbreed successfully. I learned about it in a documentary called The Wuzzles.
posted by dgaicun at 6:41 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can easily and plausibly imagine that a pig and an ape might get their groove on. I can't in a million years imagine that they'd produce offspring.

It would be pretty easy to figure out whether it's possible. Just get some ape sperm and a pig ovum and put them together in an IVF setup. All of the speculation in the world is pointless in the face of the fact that someone could do that.
posted by no relation at 6:49 PM on July 25, 2013


Or, not to put too fine a point on it, Dr. McCarthy could just go fuck a pig.
posted by no relation at 6:52 PM on July 25, 2013


no relation,

Except the particular species that might have been compatible back then, may no longer be compatible now.

baf,

It's ridiculous looking, but at the scale we're talking about, they're just zygotes.
posted by effugas at 6:55 PM on July 25, 2013


Dude, if you don't see why an ape and a pig getting it on is an inherently ridiculous idea, I don't know if anyone can explain it to you.

I don't understand why this is the laughable part of things. Well yes, I see that it is laughable because lol pig-monkey sexytimes, but have you seen the Internet? I don't see how anyone, in the age of furries, bronies, and gay cuttlefish shapeshifter erotica can doubt that humans can and will fuck just about anything they can fit into or that can fit into them, and if they can't fuck it they'll come up with ways to pretend that they can. I don't see why this wouldn't also apply to proto-humanity.
posted by Benjy at 6:57 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The article posited a male pig and a female chimp. Or, rather pig-ancestor and chimp-ancestor, not the modern versions.


But really I think Mitrovarr has it; one pig ancestor way back would not reasonably explain these morphological traits. An important way to look into this would be comparing the decay of morphological traits and the phylogenetic signal.
posted by mountmccabe at 6:57 PM on July 25, 2013


Drunk Science: Charles Q. Choi explains speciation (and also orcs)
posted by homunculus at 6:58 PM on July 25, 2013


Also, um, humans apparently taste like pig. Our nickname is "long pork".
posted by effugas at 7:40 PM on July 25, 2013


Benjy: "lol pig-monkey sexytimes, but have you seen the Internet?"

Have I seen it? I was one of the original posters in alt.lol.pig-monkey.sexytimes, long before the Eternal September.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:59 PM on July 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


To give an idea of how impossible this is, I'd consider the possibility that humans might descend from a crossbreed between a chimp and a gorilla (or the appropriate proto-chimp and proto-gorilla) to be so laughably absurd that it's not worth anyone's time to check up on it.

This is the biological equivalent of postulating a colony of unicorns on the moon. It's hilariously absurd and impossibly unlikely, but I suppose we cannot technically rule it out 100% unless we check ever possibility. However, there are too many absurd possibilities to waste your finite time and funding pursuing such things, unless you want to do it for fun.

This is a particularly easy one to waste your time on, if anyone wants to; just make individual gene trees for all identified genes for all genome-sequences Mammalia (or Metazoa). A good bioinformatician could do it automatically, or parse the single-gene trees of a published supertree analysis. Throw out any genes that are too incongruent to the species phylogeny, and then see if Homo sapiens and Sus scrofa show up next to each other in any of the ones that remain. You could examine the evidence for this claim without doing any lab work at all.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:05 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just get some ape sperm

I believe the correct scientific term is Chimp spunk.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:06 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


So I'm still not clear whether this is a joke, or maybe some kind of Sokal affair type stunt.
posted by Pyry at 8:17 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


"To give an idea of how impossible this is, I'd consider the possibility that humans might descend from a crossbreed between a chimp and a gorilla (or the appropriate proto-chimp and proto-gorilla) to be so laughably absurd that it's not worth anyone's time to check up on it. "

We have horse/donkey and donkey/zebra hybrids, lion/tiger hybrids, camel/llamas, wholphins, and a couple years ago two species of porpoise produced a hybrid that beached itself. It was pregnant. So what's the problem with chimpanzee/gorillas in particular?

edit: let's not forget Coywolves!
posted by mullingitover at 8:23 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I believe the correct scientific term is Chimp spunk

If the Beastiality Boys song is right, the term is Monkey spunk, as in that spunky Monkey.

Pig Monkey, that spunky Monkey
Pig Monkey junkie
that spunky Monkey
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:28 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


mullingitover: So what's the problem with chimpanzee/gorillas in particular?

Well, lots of things. Chimps and gorillas are more distantly related than you'd think. I can see infertile offspring, but not fertile offspring, and definitely not healthy, well-evolved offspring that survive and prosper well enough to form a hybrid species. Hybrid speciation between fairly divergent relatives is not common in the Metazoa. Animals don't cope well at all with chromosomal number changes, mismatches, or abnormalities (not like plants for instance). So there's that.

You also have the fossil history of humans. The chain of human ancestors in the record isn't exactly complete, but there's still a lot there. If any hybridization event happened, you have to explain how that works with it. For one thing, you have to either put your hybrid at the very beginning of the chain of human evolution, or you have to declare that those aren't human ancestors at all. It's tough to do molecular work on fossils, but I have to say that the human ancestors look an awful lot like something that would connect us to a chimp-like ancestor, and mostly not like a gorilla (and definitely not like a pig in any way).

Finally, the human genome has been studied heavily, and human evolutionary history have also been studied heavily. People have run tons of phylogenies, many concerning individual genes. And stuff like hybrid speciation between vastly different species sticks out. It causes major incongruence between gene histories. We'd already know if this happened, either with gorillas or with pigs. The only reason this pig thing is not totally disproven is that the author has very carefully put the goalpost in the tiny space between "So little evidence it's undisprovable" and "enough evidence that it's obvious". And that is an extremely small space that has only not been checked because nobody gives the theory enough credibility to be worth the effort.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:23 PM on July 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


For example, evidence published in the journal Nature demonstrates that the platypus genome contains both bird and mammal chromosomes (223.2).

This actually argues against humans being a pig x chimp hybrid - if the hybridization is visible at such an obvious and macro level despite platypuses being much older than humans, you would expect humans to contain both pig-derived and chimp-derived chromosomes as well, or at least big syntenic chunks of pig-derived and chimp-derived genetic material. On preview, what Mitrovarr said.

The list of common phenotypic traits between pig and human is actually sort of interesting, but it is also not evidence for hybridization. A way more plausible explanation, IMO, is pleiotropy, which is when you get a huge number of phenotypes just from modifying a small number of genes. For instance, there are a lot of human diseases where just one gene is mutated, but the symptoms are a bizarre grab bag - say, micropthalmia, long thin noses, small teeth, syndactyly, and brain problems (a real example). It turns out all of these things are a result of altered gap junctions (pores that connect cells chemically and electrically).
posted by en forme de poire at 9:27 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


For example, evidence published in the journal Nature demonstrates that the platypus genome contains both bird and mammal chromosomes (223.2).

What? No, that's not possible. Mammals have no bird ancestors at all. They have 'reptilian' ancestors (in that you would call them reptiles if you saw them, although no members of that ancient lineage still survive in that form). Let me check the paper...

Goes off to read the paper

Yup, it's a misreading of the paper. What the paper is suggesting is that the sex-determination system in platypi is more similar to an ancestral bird-like system, not the human system. So, the last common ancestor of birds and platypi would have had a bird-like sex determination system, and the platypus takes after it, the human form having evolved later. That is NOT the same as 'having both bird and mammal chromosomes'.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:48 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, and just for clarification, that quote came from the second link, not from en forme de poire.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:53 PM on July 25, 2013


http://www.ebi.ac.uk/ena/data/view/ERP001813

Well, here's the genome.
posted by effugas at 9:57 PM on July 25, 2013


So...you're saying this pig won't fly?
posted by yoink at 10:07 PM on July 25, 2013


I can easily and plausibly imagine that a pig and an ape might get their groove on. I can't in a million years imagine that they'd produce offspring.

There's well over a million years to work with.
posted by 7segment at 10:29 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


hahaha, wow, Mitrovarr. Yeah, looks like a double fail -- not true and wouldn't help him even if it were.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:19 PM on July 25, 2013


Obviously Pig Jesus arranged it this way as a test of faith.
posted by bleep-blop at 12:34 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


The pig flesh color and green or blue eyes corresponds more with humans from Europe than with humans from central Africa or southeast Asia. There should be instances of human offspring where recessive genes produce hooves but I cannot think of any examples , not even the claw foot people of Africa.
posted by millardsarpy at 5:15 AM on July 26, 2013


This isn't helping my tendency to group people by what animal I think they look like. Next I expect to hear there are mouse, bird, and turtle ancestors to humans.
posted by msbrauer at 5:22 AM on July 26, 2013


C'mon, nobody's noted yet that Suede called it a decade ago?

Anyway, this is a very entertaining idea, and I eagerly await the results of the automated tests by Mitrovarr's postulated bioinformatician. With any luck they'll arrive before the 30-day window closes on the thread.
posted by rory at 5:26 AM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah, hahaha....No wait.
Um, okay, there was this guy who used to ask my sister out....
posted by mule98J at 7:30 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


This Tellarite is not amused at all.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:14 AM on July 26, 2013


No wonder Morrissey loves himself.
posted by 4ster at 8:16 PM on July 26, 2013


This is what really happens when they mate.
posted by banished at 2:53 PM on July 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ok, so there's proof that it is possible for primates and swine to produce offspring, and that it does occur in nature.
posted by molecicco at 2:27 AM on July 28, 2013


On second thought there's no proof that it really is part monkey. Could just be a run of the mill abnormality.
posted by molecicco at 2:34 AM on July 28, 2013


That pig is very reminiscent of humans with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holoprosencephaly (do not google images if you don't like disturbing results).
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:29 PM on July 28, 2013


That pig is very reminiscent of humans with holoprosencephaly

That pig obviously has holoprosencephaly.

Unless of course the pig has highly paid lawyers that threaten people who speculate about him on the internet. In which case he obviously doesn't, and please forget you saw this soon-to-be-deleted comment.
posted by dgaicun at 7:15 AM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older Sam Simon, an original developer for The Simpsons,...   |   Zebra Face and friends have Ru... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments