Human Exceptionalism

We Already Are Pig-Men!

This is pretty rich. Years ago, my great pal Joseph Bottum unleashed an epic hyperbolic rant in the Weekly Standard after (later shown to be false) reports of the cloned creation of a human/pig hybrid. From, “The Pigman Cometh:”

The creation of a human-pig arrives like a thing expected. We have reached the logical end, at last. We have become the people that, once upon a time, our ancestors used fairy tales to warn their children against — and we will reap exactly the consequences those tales foretold…

But our sons and our daughters will mate with the pig-men, if the pig-men will have them. And our swine-snouted grandchildren — the fruit not of our loins, but of our arrogance and our bright test tubes — will use the story of our generation to teach a moral to their frightened litters.

Like I said: Epic.

But according to a genetics professor named Eugene McCarthy, we are already pig-men!  From the Daily Mail story:

The human species began as the hybrid offspring of a male pig and a female chimpanzee, a leading geneticist has suggested. The startling claim has been made by Eugene McCarthy, of the University of Georgia, who is also one of the worlds leading authorities on hybridisation in animals. He points out that while humans have many features in common with chimps, we also have a large number of distinguishing characteristics not found in any other primates…

The good doctor points out that pigs don’t have a lot of hair, and neither do we, forgetting I guess, that wild boar do have fur coats.

So, how come we don’t look more like pigs?

Dr McCarthy says that the original pig-chimp hook up was probably followed by several generations of ‘backcrossing’, where the offspring of that pairing lived among chimps and mated with them – becoming more like chimps and less like pigs with every new generation.

Snort. Snort.

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