There is a most excellent book titled A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy. Authored by Wesley J. Smith, it warns of the deleterious consequences of the animal rights movement. The title is evocative of a worldview which assigns moral equivalency to humans and animals; but everyone understands that it’s not true—that boys may OWN dogs and EAT pigs and KILL rats, but we’re not all the same.
That is, until now.
Now a geneticist who taught at the University of Georgia, one of the world’s leading authorities on hybridization in animals, has offered a new theory as to how man evolved. Man, according to Dr. Eugene McCarthy, is the product of a close encounter between a male pig and a female chimpanzee.
McCarthy presents his startling hypothesis on Macroevolution.net, a website he curates.
In his research, McCarthy noted that humans have many features in common with chimps, but we have a large number of features not found in any other primates. He says that features such as hairless skin, a thick layer of subcutaneous fat, light-coloured eyes, protruding noses and heavy eyelashes are definitely porcine. McCarthy notes that pig skin tissues and heart valves can be used in medicine because of their similarity and compatibility with the human body.
But as sexy as McCarthy’s theory may be, the scientific community isn’t buying it. The Daily Mail quotes from one of McCarthy’s critics:
ScienceBlogs post points out.One important criticism, which dubs his theory the ‘Monkey-F******-A-Pig hypothesis’, is that there is little chance that pigs and chimps could be interfertile. The two orders of creatures, according to evolutionary theory, diverged roughly 80 million years ago, a
‘[J]ust the gradual accumulation of molecular differences in sperm and egg recognition proteins would mean that pig sperm wouldn’t recognize a chimpanzee egg as a reasonable target for fusion,’ PZ Myers writes.
Furthermore, the blogger explains, while chimps have 48 chromosomes, pigs have just 38.
He adds: ‘Hybridizing a pig and a chimp is like taking half the dancers from a performance of Swan Lake and the other half from a performance of Giselle and throwing them together on stage to assemble something. It’s going to be a catastrophe.
McCarthy’s proposition is so far-fetched, he’s had trouble finding a publisher; so he’s resorted to publishing his research on his website. In his conclusion, he explains his own initial repugnance toward the pig/chimp coupling theory, and his gradual acceptance of the idea:
‘I must admit that I initially felt a certain amount of repugnance at the idea of being a hybrid. The image of a pig mating with an ape is not a pretty one, nor is that of a horde of monstrous half-humans breeding in a hybrid swarm.
‘But the way we came to be is not so important as the fact that we now exist. As every Machiavellian knows, good things can emerge from ugly processes, and I think the human race is a very good thing. Moreover, there is something to be said for the idea of having the pig as a relative.
‘My opinion of this animal has much improved during the course of my research. Where once I thought of filth and greed, I now think of intelligence, affection, loyalty, and adaptability, with an added touch of joyous sensuality — qualities without which humans would not be human.’