Quantcast

«

»

Jul 02 2013

The MFAP Hypothesis for the origins of Homo sapiens

I know you’re thinking we’ve had more than enough discussion of one simplistic umbrella hypothesis for the origin of unique human traits — the aquatic ape hypothesis — and it’s cruel of me to introduce another, but who knows, maybe the proponents of each will collide and mutually annihilate each other, and then we’ll all be happy. Besides, this new idea is hilarious. I’m calling it the MFAP hypothesis of human origins, which the original author probably wouldn’t care for (for reasons that will become clear in a moment), but I think it’s very accurate.

A list of traits distinguishing humans from other primates
DERMAL FEATURES
Naked skin (sparse pelage)
Panniculus adiposus (layer of subcutaneous fat)
Panniculus carnosus only in face and neck
In “hairy skin” region:
 - Thick epidermis
 - Crisscrossing congenital lines on epidermis
 - Patterned epidermal-dermal junction
Large content of elastic fiber in skin
Thermoregulatory sweating
Richly vascularized dermis
Normal host for the human flea (Pulex irritans)
Dermal melanocytes absent
Melanocytes present in matrix of hair follicle
Epidermal lipids contain triglycerides and free fatty acids

FACIAL FEATURES
Lightly pigmented eyes common
Protruding, cartilaginous mucous nose
Narrow eye opening
Short, thick upper lip
Philtrum/cleft lip
Glabrous mucous membrane bordering lips
Eyebrows
Heavy eyelashes
Earlobes

FEATURES RELATING TO BIPEDALITY
Short, dorsal spines on first six cervical vertebrae
Seventh cervical vertebrae:
– long dorsal spine
– transverse foramens
Fewer floating and more non-floating ribs
More lumbar vertebrae
Fewer sacral vertebrae
More coccygeal vertebrae (long “tail bone”)
Centralized spine
Short pelvis relative to body length
Sides of pelvis turn forward
Sharp lumbo-sacral promontory
Massive gluteal muscles
Curved sacrum with short dorsal spines
Hind limbs longer than forelimbs
Femur:
– Condyles equal in size
– Knock-kneed
– Elliptical condyles
– Deep intercondylar notch at lower end of femur
– Deep patellar groove with high lateral lip
– Crescent-shaped lateral meniscus with two tibial insertions
Short malleolus medialis
Talus suited strictly for extension and flexion of the foot
Long calcaneus relative to foot (metatarsal) length
Short digits (relative to chimpanzee)
Terminal phalanges blunt (ungual tuberosities)
Narrow pelvic outlet

ORGANS
Diverticulum at cardiac end of stomach
Valves of Kerkring present in small intestines
Mesenteric arterial arcades
Multipyramidal kidneys
Heart auricles level
Tricuspid valve of heart
Laryngeal sacs absent
Vocal ligaments
Prostate encircles urethra
Bulbo-urethral glands present
Os penis (baculum) absent.
Hymen
Absence of periodic sexual swellings in female
Ischial callosities absent
Nipples low on chest
Bicornuate uterus (occasionally present in humans)
Labia majora

CRANIAL FEATURES
Brain lobes: frontal and temporal prominent
Thermoregulatory venous plexuses
Well-developed system of emissary veins
Enlarged nasal bones
Divergent eyes (interior of orbit visible from side)
Styloid process
Large occipital condyles
Primitive premolar
Large, blunt-cusped (bunodont) molars
Thick tooth enamel
Helical chewing

BEHAVIORAL/PHYSIOLOGICAL
Nocturnal activity
Particular about place of defecation
Good swimmer, no fear of water
Extended male copulation time
Female orgasm
Short menstrual cycle
Snuggling
Tears
Alcoholism
Terrestrialism (Non-arboreal)
Able to exploit a wide range of environments and foods

RARE OR ABSENT IN NONHUMAN PRIMATES:
Heart attack
Atherosclerosis
Cancer (melanoma)

First, the author of this new hypothesis provides a convenient list of all the unique traits that distinguish humans from other primates, listed on the right. It falsely lists a number of traits that are completely non-unique (such as female orgasm and cancer), or are bizarre and irrelevant (“snuggling”, really?). It’s clearly a selective and distorted list made by someone with an agenda, so even though some items on the list are actually unusual traits, the list itself is a very poor bit of data.

But set those objections to the list aside for a moment, and let’s consider the hypothesis proposed to explain their existence, the MFAP Hypothesis of Eugene McCarthy, geneticist. I will allow him to speak for himself at length; basically, though, he proposes that the way novel traits appear in evolution is by hybridization, by crosses between two different species to produce a third with unique properties.

Many characteristics that clearly distinguish humans from chimps have been noted by various authorities over the years. The task of preliminarily identifying a likely pair of parents, then, is straightforward: Make a list of all such characteristics and then see if it describes a particular animal. One fact, however, suggests the need for an open mind: as it turns out, many features that distinguish humans from chimpanzees also distinguish them from all other primates. Features found in human beings, but not in other primates, cannot be accounted for by hybridization of a primate with some other primate. If hybridization is to explain such features, the cross will have to be between a chimpanzee and a nonprimate — an unusual, distant cross to create an unusual creature.

For the present, I ask the reader to reserve judgment concerning the plausibility of such a cross. I’m an expert on hybrids and I can assure you that our understanding of hybridization at the molecular level is still far too vague to rule out the idea of a chimpanzee crossing with a nonprimate. Anyone who speaks with certainty on this point speaks from prejudice, not knowledge.

Let’s begin, then, by considering the list in the sidebar at right, which is a condensed list of traits distinguishing humans from chimpanzees — and all other nonhuman primates. Take the time to read this list and to consider what creature — of any kind — it might describe. Most of the items listed are of such an obscure nature that the reader might be hard pressed to say what animal might have them (only a specialist would be familiar with many of the terms listed, but all the necessary jargon will be defined and explained). For example, consider multipyramidal kidneys. It’s a fact that humans have this trait, and that chimpanzees and other primates do not, but the average person on the street would probably have no idea what animals do have this feature.

Looking at a subset of the listed traits, however, it’s clear that the other parent in this hypothetical cross that produced the first human would be an intelligent animal with a protrusive, cartilaginous nose, a thick layer of subcutaneous fat, short digits, and a naked skin. It would be terrestrial, not arboreal, and adaptable to a wide range of foods and environments. These traits may bring a particular creature to mind. In fact, a particular nonprimate does have, not only each of the few traits just mentioned, but every one of the many traits listed in th sidebar. Ask yourself: Is it is likely that an animal unrelated to humans would possess so many of the “human” characteristics that distinguish us from primates? That is, could it be a mere coincidence? It’s only my opinion, but I don’t think so.

Look at the description of the putative non-primate parent in the last paragraph above. What animal are you thinking of? It’s probably the same one McCarthy imagined, which is why I’ve decided that this explanation for human origins must be called the Monkey-Fucked-A-Pig hypothesis, or MFAP for short.

Let’s be perfectly clear about this. McCarthy’s hypothesis is that once upon a time, these two met and had sex,

angrypigangrychimp

And that they then had children that were…us.

That’ll learn me. I thought this South Park clip was a joke.

One thing that struck me in reading McCarthy’s claim is how they are so similar to the claims of the soggy ape fans — they even use the very same physiological and anatomical features to argue for their delusion. For instance, I’ve read aquatic ape proponents’ arguments that the shape of our nose is adaptive for streamlining and for preventing water from flowing into the nostrils while propelling ourselves forward through the water…but compare that to the MFAP.

Neither is it clear how a protrusive cartilaginous nose might have aided early humans in their “savannah hunter lifestyle.” As Morris remarks, “It is interesting to note that the protuberant, fleshy nose of our species is another unique feature that the anatomists cannot explain.” This feature is neither characteristic of apes, nor even of other catarrhines. Obviously, pigs have a nose even more protuberant than our own. In a pig’s snout, the nasal wings and septum are cartilaginous as ours are. In contrast, a chimpanzee’s nose “is small, flat, and has no lateral cartilages”. A cartilaginous nose is apparently a rare trait in mammals. Primatologist Jeffrey Schwartz goes so far as to say that “it is the enlarged nasal wing cartilage that makes the human nose what it is, and which distinguishes humans from all other animals.” The cartilaginous structure of the pig’s snout is generally considered to be an “adaptation” for digging with the nose (rooting). Rooting is, apparently, a behavior pattern peculiar to pigs. Other animals dig with their feet.

Point, MFAP. Of course, just as I would point out to aquatic ape people, we do have an explanation for the nose: recession of the facial bones associated with reduced dentition, along with retention of the bones associated with the respiratory apparatus. The protuberant nose is simply a ridge made apparent by the receding tide of our chewing apparatus. McCarthy uses evidence as badly as does every wet ape fan.

Now, why won’t this hybridization claim work? Well, there are the obvious behavioral difficulties, even if it were cytogenetically possible. We’d have to have pigs and chimps having sex and producing fertile offspring, and those human babies (remember, this is a saltational theory, so the progeny would have all the attributes of a third species, ours) would have to be raised by chimps. Or pigs. I don’t think either is a reasonable alternative, and a band of chimps would probably be no more charitable to a helpless fat blob of a baby than Mr Wu’s pigs.

However, no one reasonably expects pigs and chimps to be interfertile. The primate and artiodactyl lineages have diverged for roughly 80 million years — just 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. Heck, even two humans will have these sorts of mating incompatibilities. Two species that haven’t had any intermingling populations since the Cretaceous? No way.

pig-chimp_lca

But further, even if the sperm of one would fuse with the egg of another, there is another looming problem: chromosome incompatibilities. Pigs have 38 chromosomes, chimpanzees have 48. Cells are remarkably good at coping with variations in chromosome number, and even with translocations of regions from one chromosome to another; and further, pigs and people even retain similar genetic arrangements on some of their chromosomes. There are pig chromosomes that have almost the same arrangement of genes as a corresponding human chromosome.

But there are limits to how much variation the cell division machinery can cope with. For instance, with fewer chromosomes than we primates have, that means you need to line up multiple primate chromosomes to match a single pig chromosome (this pairing up is essential for both mitosis and meiosis). Look at pig chromosome 7, for instance: it corresponds to scrambled and reassembled bits of human chromosomes 6, 14, and 15.

Blocks of conserved synteny between pig and human. (a) Pig SSC7 to human chromosomes 6, 14 and 15. (b) HSA13 compared to pig chromosome 11. Block inversions between pig and human are denoted with broken lines. Contig coverage is depicted by bars in the center of SSC7 and HSA13.

Blocks of conserved synteny between pig and human. (a) Pig SSC7 to human chromosomes 6, 14 and 15. (b) HSA13 compared to pig chromosome 11. Block inversions between pig and human are denoted with broken lines. Contig coverage is depicted by bars in the center of SSC7 and HSA13.

Maybe that would work in mitosis within the hybrid progeny — you’d have three chromosomes from the human/chimp parent twisted around one chromosome, but they would be able to pair up, mostly, and then separate to form two daughter cells. But meiosis would be total chaos: any crossing over would lead to deletions and duplications, acentric and dicentric chromosomes, a jumble of broken chromosomes. That would represent sterile progeny and an evolutionary dead end.

But we wouldn’t have to even get that far. Human and chimpanzee chromosomes are even more similar to one another, and there are no obvious chromosomal barriers to interfertility between one another. If hybridization in mammals were so easy that a pig and a chimp could do it, human-chimp hybrids ought to be trivial. Despite rumors of some experiments that attempted to test that, though, there have been no human-chimp hybrids observed, and I think they are highly unlikely to be possible. In this case, it’s a developmental problem.

For example, we have bigger brains than chimpanzees do. This is not a change that was effected with a single switch; multiple genes had to co-evolve together, ratcheting up the size in relatively incremental steps. So you could imagine a change that increased mitotic activity in neural precursors that would increase the number of neurons, but then you’d also need changes in how those cells are partitioned into different regions, and changes in the proliferation of cartilage and bone to generate a larger cranium, and greater investment in vascular tissue to provide that brain with an adequate blood supply.

Development is like a ballet, in which multiple players have to be in the right place and with the right timing for everything to come off smoothly. If someone is out of place by a few feet or premature by a few seconds in a leap, the dancers could probably compensate because there are understood rules for the general interactions…but it would probably come off as rough and poorly executed. A hybrid between two closely related species would be like mixing and matching the dancers from two different troupes to dance similar versions of Swan Lake — everything would be a bit off, but they could probably compensate and muddle through the performance.

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.

But here’s the deal: maybe I’m completely wrong. This is an experiment that is easily and relatively cheaply done. Human sperm is easily obtained (McCarthy probably has a plentiful supply in his pants), while artificial insemination of swine is routine. Perhaps McCarthy can report back when he has actually done the work.


Humphray SJ, Scott CE, Clark R, Marron B, Bender C, Camm N, Davis J, Jenks A, Noon A, Patel M, Sehra H, Yang F, Rogatcheva MB, Milan D, Chardon P, Rohrer G, Nonneman D, de Jong P, Meyers SN, Archibald A, Beever JE, Schook LB, Rogers J. (2007) A high utility integrated map of the pig genome. Genome Biol. 8(7):R139.

78 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    PZ Myers

    Dammit, why is the blockquote forcing a formatting break like that?

  2. 2
    cervantes

    That’s much too ridiculous to be worth the time you spent refuting it, IMHO. But it does go to show that mishegos has no limits.

  3. 3
    Yellow Thursday

    Sounds to me like he needs to have chimp sperm, not human sperm, but even so the experiment should be relatively simple.

  4. 4
    sireccles

    Oh how disappointing, I thought he was going to say it was obviously ALIENS! Or at least dolphins.

  5. 5
    Kevin

    No. I think it needs to be the other way around. It has to be PFAM.

    If a male pig mated with a female chimp, then the female chimp would care for the hybrid.

    But if a male chimp bred with a sow — there’s no way that sow would allow the hybrid chimp-pig to suckle. And then there are all of the other considerations of primate socialization, hunting/gathering, and all the rest. Because the hybrid is way closer to chimp than pig.

    No. It definitely has to be male pig, female chimp. PFAM.

  6. 6
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Whelp. This can only mean we are heading here.

  7. 7
    Howard Bannister

    Okay, I’m not a biologist, but…

    No, I’m sorry. I’ve typed those words, and in my experience, whenever you see those words whatever comes next has to be horrifying beyond all belief. I mean, if MFAP is a theory a real person holds in this world, then I have to one-up that.

    You know what else is a hairless animal with a big nose that has short digits? An elephant.

    And how much more unlikely does that sound than a monkey with a pig?

    So, before we can test any of this fancy pigs and apes business, I’m going to need to see some evidence about whether an ape and an elephant are anatomically compatible.

    I’ll be over here, waiting for my obviously forthcoming Nobel prize.

  8. 8
    kevinalexander

    Monkey fucked a pig? You have to admit, it does explain MRAs.

  9. 9
    ChasCPeterson

    Tch, PZ, with all your blabber about phylogenies and chromosomes and ballet. You didn;t read this?:

    I’m an expert on hybrids and I can assure you that our understanding of hybridization at the molecular level is still far too vague to rule out the idea of a chimpanzee crossing with a nonprimate.

    He’s an expert, and he assures us. ’nuff said.

    This is an experiment that is easily and relatively cheaply done

    uh, I think there’s little doubt that it has been done many, many times. (Did you read The Sotweed Factor?)
    With the possible exception of Newt Gingrich, no viable hybrids are known.

  10. 10
    mudpuddles

    This McCarthy must have been hanging around with Donald Williamson, the dude who thinks metamorphosis proves that velvet worms once went out on dates with insects.
    On a pedantic note, you might change the name to AFAP (ape-fucked-a-pig) since chimps are not monkeys.
    Sorry, its a pet peeve….

  11. 11
    Randomfactor

    I too was hoping for dolphins. It’s almost an aquatic ape/MFAP hybrid.

    Cthulhu knows the male dolphins would be up for it.

  12. 12
    Eurasian magpie

    What he describes there is the domesticated pig. Was it chimps that did that and then hanky-panky happened? Makes total sense to me.

  13. 13
    pacal

    This screams “POE”, “POE”!! However it, quite sadly, probably isn’t.

  14. 14
    Kevin

    What about rhinoceroses? They’re hairless, with big probisci.

    Or hippos? Or manatees?

    But in every case, it has to be male (insert hairless mammal here) mating with a female chimp. Because of child care issues.

    So typical for a man to ‘hit and run’.

  15. 15
    ChasCPeterson

    I too was hoping for dolphins. It’s almost an aquatic ape/MFAP hybrid. Cthulhu knows the male dolphins would be up for it.

    females, too. Rule 34. Do not g**gle “wet goddess”.

  16. 16
    jamessweet

    This is hilarious. Of course, there are some odd similarities between pigs and humans… but to jump from that to Monkey-Fucked-A-Pig… fuckin’ EPIC.

  17. 17
    w00dview

    MFAP is a fine example of showing that even if everyone accepted evolution and dismissed creationism as bullshit, a significant amount would still not understand evolution. Evolutionary psychology, aquatic ape, right wing social darwinism, there is still an abundance of pseudoscience that mucks up what evolution actually is.

  18. 18
    Big Boppa

    Personally, I think the monkey fucked a dolphin.

    First of all, this nicely meshes the MFAP and soggy ape theories so there has to be something to it. And secondly, if you’d ever heard the high pitched, nearly ultrasonic squeals eminating from my 4 year old granddaughter you’d know I’m right.

  19. 19
    SallyStrange

    What he describes there is the domesticated pig.

    Excellent point. Wild pigs are terrifying creatures. Hard to imagine one letting a monkey close enough to fuck it.

  20. 20
    Prios

    This. This is going to be my band’s name. This right here.
    Every concert will begin with the band and the audience chanting the band’s name, again and again, louder and louder, until the whole county can hear. Monkey fucked a pig. Monkey fucked a pig. MONKEY FUCKED A PIIIIIIIIIIIIG.

    And here we thought that nothing good would come of clueless hyper-adaptationalists’ wanking. We were so very, very wrong.

  21. 21
    SallyStrange

    Hell, fully grown domesticated pigs are pretty terrifying too.

  22. 22
    moarscienceplz

    I think MFAP actually stands for Mental FAPping, which is a much better explanation of how this “hypothesis” came into existence.

  23. 23
    lpetrich

    There’s also the question of how close the genes are. If our species emerged from chimp-pig hybridization, we ought to have some genes close to pig genes instead of close to chimp genes. But so far, *all* of our genes are closest to their chimp counterparts.

    Analyses of pig genomes provide insight into porcine demography and evolution : Nature : Nature Publishing Group
    International Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium

    Now that a pig genome has been sequenced, we can do a full-scale comparison.

  24. 24
    lpetrich

    As to whether chimps are monkeys, we can call them monkeys sensu lato (in a broad sense), even if not sensu stricto (in a strict sense).

  25. 25
    Prios

    But how come we still have domesticated pigs, then? Checkmate, evilutionists!
    seriously though, this IS about the aliens, it’s brilliant
    The aliens were the ones who first domesticated the pigs, then the monkeys fucked the pigs and made cute squishy humans. Why do you think the aliens are kidnapping cattle and doing experiments on humans? They’re trying to come up with neat new combinations. It’s all so clear now. I solved the universe, give me money

  26. 26
    joeschoeler

    PZ: You’ve answered a question I had. I wondered how a merger of human chromosome 2 could have been passed on because I though that would make it impossible to reproduce with other members of the species if the numbers don’t match. But it sounds like in that case, reproduction would still be possible if the chromosomes line up properly

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Randomfactor

    Well, it does explain how those demons in the New Testament were so easily able to transfer to swine. Similar hosts.

    And, of course, there’s the term “long pig.”

  29. 29
    ChasCPeterson

    it does explain how those demons in the New Testament were so easily able to transfer to swine. Similar hosts.

    Demons were Ascaris!?

  30. 30
    Acolyte of Sagan

    Put me right off my bacon that has.

  31. 31
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Moarsccienceplz

    has it absolutely correct. What was going through his head as he contemplated the many multiple incidents of cross-species hybridization necessary so that there existed a genetically diverse seminal population of MFAPs that wouldn’t simply dilute the genetic material of another species ineffectively within a population otherwise entirely composed of Ms or Ps?

    That’s right, thinking of that young community of many multiple monkey-fucked-a-pigs, there was no science going through his brain, just “mmmFAP”.

    ——
    on to more serious matters, and please do not mistake this for my frequent snark: I would not trust this bizarrely fixated person around any domesticated animal. This, “but cross-species sex is hybridization and totes necessary for nature to function and the human species to continue on its totes amazing and superior evolutionary journey,” fixation seems to me to be every bit as likely to be the rationalization of horrific urges as it is likely that some of those MRA “It’s my genetic nature to want to have sex with 12 year-old girls, and it’s a good thing since that’s what’s kept humans alive throughout evolutionary time,” advocates are trying to legitimize their own horrific urges.

    It’s creepy and more than messed up when the MRA pedophiles, excuse me, totally respectable ephebephiles make their rape justifying comments. It’s creepy and more than messed up when McCarthy goes on his interspecies-love-is-mother-nature’s-intent rants. While any individual MRA may make such an argument without actually wanting to have sex with a 12 year old (ick! she’s a girl! with girl parts! Imma GMOW! or even just – “meh, any biology that might have tended in that direction was totally squashed out of me by middle school and now I want nothing that in any way reminds me of grades 6-9, but even if I don’t feel it, I really totes buy this argument”) and while McCarthy may be entirely wrong in ways that have nothing to do with wanting to actually have interspecies sex, I just think the risk that he’s obsessed with this for personal reasons is real and really creepy.

  32. 32
    gillt

    as it turns out, many features that distinguish humans from chimpanzees also distinguish them from all other primates.

    No, not as it turns out; it’s what we expect from two species who more recently diverged.

    Chromosomal number differences in closely related species as reproductive barriers is interesting and possibly plays an even greater role as a driver in rapid radiation than this post lets on. Karyotpying in spiny lizards (Sceloporus) showing fissions of macrochromosomes and fusions of microchromosomes is well-documented. One species in the group will have 2n=34 while another will have 2n=26. Even population level variation (within species) in chromosome number is documented!

  33. 33
    Rich Woods

    @Howard #7:

    So, before we can test any of this fancy pigs and apes business, I’m going to need to see some evidence about whether an ape and an elephant are anatomically compatible.

    You might find a bull elephant grinning from ear to ear and willing to give it a try, but I’m pretty sure no female apes are going to volunteer.

  34. 34
    Darka

    Ummm “Dermal melanocytes absent” in “humans” but not “other primates”? Bunny how that’s not true at all.

    seems that McCarthy is looking for a white robe and hood to wear.

  35. 35
    franko

    This guy has to be the worst case of Dunning-Kruger I’ve ever seen. Sad to think that he sits there with his kids imagining he’s got a great intellectual grasp of the genetics of human origins when all he’s posting on those multiple pages is cacca di vacca.

    I look forward to someone providing evidence for the whale-chihuahua origin of hominids (WHACO).

  36. 36
    David Marjanović
    Rooting is, apparently, a behavior pattern peculiar to pigs.

    (And aëtosaurs. Now that would make for a fun hypothesis.)

    The primate and artiodactyl lineages have diverged for roughly 80 million years

    Probably closer to 65. Rule of thumb: at first approximation, all molecular divergence dates are miscalibrated – it’s hard to get right, especially when the fossil record is as bad as it is for this case – there are no certain Cretaceous placentals known today at all.

    No. It definitely has to be male pig, female chimp. PFAM.

    Given the somewhat corkscrew-like shape of pig penises, I do not recommend that.

    PZ: You’ve answered a question I had. I wondered how a merger of human chromosome 2 could have been passed on because I though that would make it impossible to reproduce with other members of the species if the numbers don’t match. But it sounds like in that case, reproduction would still be possible if the chromosomes line up properly

    As described in comment 32, there are species where different chromosome numbers occur in the same population. Funnily enough, wild pigs are an example.

    I look forward to someone providing evidence for the whale-chihuahua origin of hominids (WHACO).

    Add “combined”, and you land at WHACCO…

  37. 37
    Rey Fox

    Monkey-Fucked-A-Pig hypothesis.

    For some reason, all I can think of is that LJ avatar I saw a long time ago with a closeup of the creepy Burger King from their mid-2000s advertisements with the caption “Where’s Your God Now?”

  38. 38
    yoav

    So that’s why Yahwe is not down with eating bacon, because we’re family.

  39. 39
    triamacleod

    I was actually expecting a Mother Fucking Alien Primate or something along that nature. But wow, this is even more off the rails than I thought. And I second the ‘get that corkscew phallus away from me’ comment above. If a boar ever mated with a chimp, it may well result in death of the chimp, certainly a fair amount of damage. A chimp with a sow would be more practical (if we’re going to play along with what appears to be his rather creepy fetish) and they do tend to have large litters so I suppose one or two randy chimps running amuck ‘could’ be…nah, can’t even pretend to go there. I’ll take soggy apes over piggy apes any day.

    Although this is going to leave me with nightmares. If anyone of Celtic origins is here, do you remember tales of the Cutty Black Sow? Cause that is all I can picture after reading this.

  40. 40
    twas brillig (stevem)

    !tangent alert!:
    Sorry, but, I have a “theory” about the “streamlined” shape of the human nose. That being; it IS streamlined for water to pass smoothly over it, but NOT for swimming purposes but because of that “cooling system” we have, known as sweating. I’m not unique (nor universal), but when I get even a bit warm or overworked (maybe running on a savanna) my head produces copious amounts of water (i.e. sweat) that just pours down my face. If I had a “monkey’s” nose, most of that sweat would just pour into it. But the shape of my nose lets it just drip past it. That’s ‘My Theory’ of why our noses are shaped as they are; even a grain of truth there? I like PZ’s explanation of how our noses get their shape, but is it even ‘reasonable’ to add, that it prevents sweat from collecting in our nostrils? [/tangent]
    {I won’t even touch the concept of MFAP directly, kudos to everyone else in this thread}

  41. 41
    busterggi

    Why leave out the most compelling evidence that the aquatic ape theory is true?

    How else does one explain why humans can breathe underwater, even if they aren’t from Innsmouth?

  42. 42
    imthegenieicandoanything

    Hilarious!

    That’s a theory developed by someone with a VERY open mind, indeed!

    Imagine being trapped next to this guy on an international flight, or in a stuck elevator!

    P.s. Love the format!

  43. 43
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    My teeth used to look like a cross between those two, but I had some orthodontic work that fixed it up.

  44. 44
    Louis

    So we’ve gone from messing with the Moist Macaque Musing to playing with the Porcine Primate Proposal.

    This is progress?

    Louis

  45. 45
    Louis

    Also I would like to use this space to advance my hypothesis that human penises are tipped with a mushroomoid shaped “Bell End” because early hominids use to hide in patches of moss at the bottom of trees and wait for pixies to use the fungal shaped phalluses as masturbation aids. If you do not believe me, how else do you explain the existence of PYGMIES and DWARVES!!!!!?!!?

    We’d gone far too long without THAT being advanced as evidence.

    Louis

  46. 46
    Moggie

    SallyStrange:

    Excellent point. Wild pigs are terrifying creatures. Hard to imagine one letting a monkey close enough to fuck it. Hell, fully grown domesticated pigs are pretty terrifying too.

    To quote from Pulp Fiction: we’d have to be talkin’ about one charming motherfuckin’ pig. I’m not sure I’d agree about domesticated pigs, though. Granted, I don’t hang out with them a lot, but I’ve met a few who were pleasant, and one who I swear was urbane. But we didn’t fuck, as far as I recall.

  47. 47
    Moggie

    …and yeah, Professor MFAP here reminds me somehow of that old Tom Lehrer quote: His educational career began interestingly enough in agricultural school, where he majored in animal husbandry, until they caught him at it one day.

  48. 48
    callithrix

    Shouldn’t this be the AFAP hypothesis, given that chimps are apes and not monkeys?

  49. 49
    johnfrancsience

    Observe: noses were made to support spectacles, hence we have spectacles. Pangloss

    Without pigs how would we have noses for our spectacles?

  50. 50
    evodevo

    Wow. Just Wow. This guy is really a GENETICIST??? I can’t believe it. I’m used to seeing/hearing this kind of s^&t from my evango/creationist acquaintances and co-workers, but this is the limit. This kind of ignorance is mind-boggling.

  51. 51
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    howard, an elephant was exactly what I was thinking of as I read the OP. I was most surprised when the mystery lover turned out to be a pig.

    Wild pigs are far too hirsute to count as naked by any stretch of the imagination.

    It is my personal opinion that the ape in question would more likely have been a Bonobo rather than a common chimpanzee.

    What an amusing (drinking? Of course drinking. This is The HORDE!!!) game this would make.

    I’m sure we can come up with all sorts of unlikely but hilarious pairings.

    E.g. Narwhal – a cross between a manatee and an oryx? (Not funny, I know, but my creativity has gone to sleep in advance of the rest of me)

  52. 52
    Acolyte of Sagan

    I see what happened here. McCarthy caught the end of the film Little Nicky, saw the bulldog-rat hybrid babies, and thought it was a documentary.

  53. 53
    Acolyte of Sagan

    Tigger-etc. @51, I thought the narwhal was a whale-unicorn, and should properly be known as the whallicorn.

  54. 54
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    …then why aren’t certain states full of cloven-hoofed humanoids?

  55. 55
    toro

    From the “list of traits”:

    BEHAVIORAL/PHYSIOLOGICAL
    Particular about place of defecation

    Certain subspecies, however, have no qualms about inflicting this kind of shit on anybody, anytime, anywhere.

  56. 56
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Imagine yourself in the middle of nowhere
    Imagination runs away for a while
    I play games about once a day or so
    I don’t know, that’s where I’d rather go
    Brasilia crossed with Trenton

    Bob Mould, “Brasilia Crossed with Trenton” from the album Workbook. [Emphasis mine.]

    Methinks that Herr Professor Doctor MFAP has been imbibing the same chemicals as Mr. Mould.

  57. 57
    John Phillips, FCD

    Azkyroth, maybe they are. After all, have you seen all of them without their shoes. Just saying. It would also explain a lot.

  58. 58
    Kagato

    I got as far as:

    basically, though, he proposes that the way novel traits appear in evolution is by hybridization, by crosses between two different species to produce a third with unique properties.

    and my brain immediately filled in the acronym for me.
    M… F… A… P. Yep, got it.

  59. 59
    K E Decilon

    Another hypothesis on the shape of the human nose.

    Ever notice that your nostril is almost exactly the size of your index finger?

  60. 60
    AussieMike

    For a second there I thought you through in a diagram of the Genesis Device.

  61. 61
    gravityisjustatheory

    I’m sure we can come up with all sorts of unlikely but hilarious pairings.

    E.g. Narwhal – a cross between a manatee and an oryx? (Not funny, I know, but my creativity has gone to sleep in advance of the rest of me)

    Giraffe – a cross between a camel and a leopard.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camelopard#History_and_cultural_significance

  62. 62
    changerofbits

    *blinks*

    Life imitates parody?

  63. 63
    Holms

    One fact, however, suggests the need for an open mind:…

    First red flag.
    <If hybridization is to explain such features…If.

    For the present, I ask the reader to reserve judgment concerning the plausibility of such a cross. I’m an expert on hybrids and I can assure you that our understanding of hybridization at the molecular level is still far too vague to rule out the idea of a chimpanzee crossing with a nonprimate. Anyone who speaks with certainty on this point speaks from prejudice, not knowledge.

    Absolutely classic ‘everyone is about to laugh at me’ forestalling speech.

    Can’t be bothered combing through such tripe further.

  64. 64
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    I stopped reading when it became apparent that this man is proposing that two separate species mated. Someone who does not understand the definition of the word “species” has no business talking about evolution.

  65. 65
    francesc

    That theory it’s brilliant!
    Also, I notice he left out the curly tail as one of unique humans traits and that’s bizarre, as it fits with his theory.
    Wait, don’t you have a tail?
    I love the behavioral ones: pigs are known for partying all night long, getting drunk and defecating -or throwing up if they have drink one glass too much- in WCs. That also could explain why they tend to copulate with apes or any other passer-by animal.

  66. 66
    Louis

    I wonder, could this be “theory as wish fulfilment”? It is possible that a pig once looked at him In A Special Way, and thus gave unto him Ideas.

    Just sayin’.

    Louis

  67. 67
    John Horstman

    @34: Half of the list is traits that don’t distinguish humans from other primates, either because they are true of other primates as well or aren’t true of humans (another example – monkeys on St. Kitts develop alcoholism stealing drinks from tourists). This is a situation where dude is so ignorant of the subject that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, as others have mentioned (Dunning-Kruger effect).

    @40: And rainwater as well; our nose shape is advantageous for an animal that engages almost exclusively in bipedal ambulation.

  68. 68
    David Marjanović

    Shouldn’t this be the AFAP hypothesis, given that chimps are apes and not monkeys?

    Either we’re all monkeys, or the term “monkey” doesn’t make any sense and should be retired.

    *blinks*

    Life imitates parody?

    Not for the first time!!!

    the definition of the word “species”

    That’s just one out of about 150 definitions. Applied consistently, it would lead to counterintuitive results (the occasional mule is fertile; wolves and coyotes can interbreed, indeed red wolves are a population of just such hybrids; ring species, series species…). It’s also difficult to test in most cases, doesn’t even apply to organisms that don’t reproduce sexually, and so on and so forth.

    our nose shape is advantageous for an animal that

    …has an otherwise flat face and produces considerable stresses by chewing, but has greatly reduced the brow ridges. That’s what computer simulations say.

  69. 69
    gravityisjustatheory

    That’s just one out of about 150 definitions. Applied consistently, it would lead to counterintuitive results (the occasional mule is fertile; wolves and coyotes can interbreed, indeed red wolves are a population of just such hybrids; ring species, series species…). It’s also difficult to test in most cases, doesn’t even apply to organisms that don’t reproduce sexually, and so on and so forth.

    It’s almost as if life diversifying naturally from common stock results in a messy slew of results that don’t necessarily fit into the neat categories that humans want them to…

  70. 70
    David Marjanović

    + 1

  71. 71
    feralboy12

    I have my own theory that explains those sets of characteristics so unique to humanity. I’m still working on it, but in short in involves a gorilla fucking a football. I’d share more, but all you sciency types would jump all over me with your DNA and shit.
    And like I said, I’m still working on it.

  72. 72
    ChasCPeterson

    Either we’re all monkeys, or the term “monkey” doesn’t make any sense and should be retired.

    or we can admit that vernacular terms for groups of organisms can be meaningful and useful and, yes, ‘make sense’ even if they’re not (currently hypothesized to be) monophyletic.
    Of course, that path would also suggest that pseudo-pedantic correctives about stuff like whether apes are monkeys or not ought to be abandoned as stupid.

  73. 73
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    David Marjanović

    I’m aware there are many definitions (I think that’s what “The Species Problem” referrs to? That “species” is itself a somewhat arbitrary and difficult to define term?) but I thought the generally accepted biological useage was a genetically distinct group of organisms capable of producing fertile offspring?

    That said, I can see how that definition would be next to useless for asexually reproducing organisms like bacteria…

  74. 74
    dannysichel

    I’m still inclined to take this whole thing as an expert parody.

  75. 75
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    , indeed red wolves are a population of just such hybrids; ring species, series species…).

    Turns out not to be the case, actually. Red wolves are a separate type of wolf, it’s just that they’ve heavily hybridized with coyotes in relatively recent history due to a combination of the coyote range extending and there not being many red wolves left.

  76. 76
    David Marjanović

    or we can admit that vernacular terms for groups of organisms can be meaningful and useful and, yes, ‘make sense’ even if they’re not (currently hypothesized to be) monophyletic.

    Obligatory anecdote about the colleague who asked for “fish”, expected teleost, got ray and was quite unhappy.

    I think that’s what “The Species Problem” referrs to? That “species” is itself a somewhat arbitrary and difficult to define term?

    Yes.

    but I thought the generally accepted biological useage was a genetically distinct group of organisms capable of producing fertile offspring?

    No; that’s how highschool books present it, but it’s probably never been true. When enough data are available, people often go for phylogenetic species concepts these days, along the lines of “separately evolving lineage”; when they’re not, people resort to what they’ve always done, which is that splitters say “if I can tell them apart, they’re different genera, and if I can’t, they’re different species”, and lumpers say “if I can tell them apart, they’re different subspecies”… :-)

    For bacteria and archaea, the most widely used criterion is the amount of genetic difference. 70 % identity or more is arbitrarily considered the same species. That’s really not much, so the poor microbiologists have to deal with “strains” a lot but can’t give them official names… and it would put all primates into the same species.

    I’m still inclined to take this whole thing as an expert parody.

    It’s no more sophisticated than the space ape hypothesis, though.

    Turns out not to be the case, actually. Red wolves are a separate type of wolf, it’s just that they’ve heavily hybridized with coyotes in relatively recent history due to a combination of the coyote range extending and there not being many red wolves left.

    Interesting, thanks! I’ll have to stop using this example :-)

  77. 77
    Amphiox

    The species problem is an artifact of the human brain’s evolved need to compartmentalize things which in reality exist in gradients.

    For example, on this image:

    http://myplace.frontier.com/~jnozum/Art/Red-Blue_Transition.jpg

    What is red and what is blue, and where is the line that separates the two?

  78. 78
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @David Marjanović

    No; that’s how highschool books present it, but it’s probably never been true.

    That’ll be my issue then, I never took biology beyond GCSE, as the result of a stupendously childish decision regarding the fact that I didn’t like the teacher. In the end she wasn’t even the one teaching it, she quit during the summer before I started A levels *sigh*.

Comments have been disabled.