Not the best way to start the morning…

…discovering that I’ve been cited in the Daily Mail. They picked up on my criticism of the MFAP hypothesis, and illustrated it with a photo of a slender naked woman.

I’ll hang my head in shame the rest of the day.

But at least they got the story right, and quoted extensively from my article that ridiculed the idea that humans are the product of ape-pig hybridization.


  1. says

    The naked part I can live with, it’s the Mail, the skinny enough to disappear behind a toothpick is a bridge too far. Funny they would mention subcutaneous fat under a picture of a woman who has little or none of it.

  2. Menyambal --- inesteemable says

    None of the three species is really hairless, so that’s a dumb thing to lead with. The hog there has hair, as does the chimp, and the model has shaved and/or waxed hers, except for that thick crop of hair on her scalp, which neither the pig nor the chimp has.

    Her nose is a lot closer to the chimp’s in size and shape, so why get a pig involved? And, as we have said, chimps have probably evolved away from our common anscestor as much as we have, so basing claims on chimps is rather silly.

    And the ears. Where did the pig ear go? We got earlobes out of all that?

    Subcutaneous fat? Pigs have subcutaneous fat? I’m going to go research that with some bacon. Ummm, bacon. It feels like family.

  3. Nick Gotts says

    I see from the Mail’s coverage that you’ve been shamefully misrepresenting McCarthy’s theory (which is his, and belongs to him): it;’s not MFAP, but PFAM!

  4. chigau (違う) says

    Googling McCarthy’s name and the word “genetics” shows similar articles in newspapers in India, Romania, Australia.
    They don’t all mention that Myers guy.

  5. says

    A Danish tabloid also mentions the “theory” and links to the Daily Mail article. It also refers to PZs blogpost without mentioning him by name. And they of course have an annoying line in the article about how other scientists have to be against the new theory, as they didn’t think of it themselves.

    The comment section is of course used to bash Muslims (no, seriously it is)

  6. Mr Ed says

    I wouldn’t worry too much the Daily Mail only runs articles that can include images of scantily clad women. A look at the sidebar shows that Britain is interested in who can fit in a bikini, a skimpy dress or a short skirt.

  7. says

    Finally, he suggests rather impudently that Dr McCarthy do the experimental work himself and try mating with a pig to see how far he gets.

    On the plus side, the daily fail isn’t gushing over you. :)

  8. anuran says

    @5 Nick Gotts

    I see from the Mail’s coverage that you’ve been shamefully misrepresenting McCarthy’s theory (which is his, and belongs to him): it;’s not MFAP, but PFAM!

    Pure sexism. Why does the female have to be presented as passive?

  9. yazikus says

    I saw this on Raw Story, and enjoyed this bit about you,

    Well-known biologist and blogger Professor PZ Myers, who actually is OF the University of Minnesota-Morris, skillfully took apart McCarthy’s ideas in a recent blog post. Even if monkeys and pigs somehow found reason to produce and raise human babies in some bizarre sub-Saharan sex orgy, there’s a major problem preventing their hybrid offspring from surviving — namely, that chimps have 48 chromosomes and pigs have only 38.

    (bolding mine)

  10. loren says

    As a UGA graduate, it irks me that the Daily Mail piece begins by saying “The startling claim has been made by Eugene McCarthy, of the University of Georgia”

    Whatever McCarthy’s position was at UGA in the past (his 2006 book on birds refers to him as a postdoctoral researcher), he does not appear to be employed by the university now. Even his own website speaks of his relationship with UGA in the past tense.

    His Google Plus page says he finished his PhD in 2003, and the only item under ‘Employment’ is “ – Director, 2008 – present”.

  11. stevem says

    re Bacon @ #2:

    Why else would the euphemism for the cannibal’s dinner be Long-pig? Pig = hog; therefore, MFAP; gotcha, QED!

  12. ekwhite says


    …and illustrated it with a photo of a slender naked woman.

    You should have said “…with a Photoshop of a slender naked woman.”

    Ever since you posted the Photoshop video a few weeks back, I have been noticing the telltale signs.

  13. Rich Woods says

    Sorry, but I’m not going to follow that link to the Daily Fail website, however interesting the conversation might be. It carries too much baggage.

  14. Nick Gotts says

    Eugene McCarthy, of the University of Georgia – loren@13

    Hey, isn’t life just amazing! Last time I heard from ol’ Eugene, he was running for the Democratic Presidential nomination back in ’68.

  15. llyris says

    In his next publication he will explain how the platypus really is the love child of a beaver and a duck.

  16. ChasCPeterson says

    There’s nothing unbelievable about the monkey-fucked-a-pig hypothesis as far as it goes; hasn’t anybody else read The Sotweed Factor?
    (of course, the whole fertile-hybrid-offspring part is another matter)

  17. firstapproximation says

    On his Twitter page he also talks about cabbits (a cat-rabbit hybrid).

    My guess (hope?) is that McCarthy isn’t serious. This is advertised on his website:

    Check out the author’s kindle novel, The Department, a satire of academic life, which includes an F₁ pig-ape hybrid as one of its major characters.

  18. No One says

    Finally, he suggests rather impudently that Dr McCarthy do the experimental work himself and try mating with a pig to see how far he gets.

    Thats a gem.

  19. says

    @1 Mike: Oh, nice. Right out of the gate with the douchebaggery.

    If the woman in the photo had been plump, overweight, or even outright obese, and someone had made a disparaging comment about it, they’d be flamed for fat-shaming. And rightfully so. But talk shit about a slender woman, even one whose thinness is not especially unhealthy looking (she is far from “skinny enough to disappear behind a toothpick”), and hey, it’s a free pass.

    Body shaming is body shaming, period. And you’re a cock for doing it.

    Far more valid to criticize the Daily Fail for its exploitive use of the photo as clickbait in the first place.

  20. marcus says

    ekwhite @ 15 Interesting, there was something odd about the length of the torso that caught my eye but I didn’t think much of it. I am sure there are other tells that I missed.

  21. dccarbene says

    I think you are all forgetting that it was an **aquatic** pig that received the Golden Seed.


  22. says

    Okay… so like me and one other person noticed the link to the Amazon store selling the SATIRE book? Really? REALLY?

    PZ… for shame. You forgot the first rule in any research… CHECK THE SOURCES. Had you done so, you’d have noticed the link, right on the bottom that reads “finished The Department by Eugene M. McCarthy, a satirical novel about grad school in biology #Kindle”

    Clicking the link gets you to here:
    From the listing:
    Harry Barkton’s dad has been hit by a bus. And when the twenty-six-year-old high-school English teacher learns the terms of his physicist father’s will, he realizes he’ll have to trade in his Wordsworth and Whitman for a white lab coat. It’s either get a Ph.D. in science, or kiss a fat trust fund goodbye. And, to him, genetics seems less boring than any of the other scientific disciplines okayed in the will. So Harry’s stuck with a one-way ticket to the Land of Mendel’s Peas.

    Once he arrives at Monroe University to begin his new career, he strikes up friendships with an ethnic fashionista, a voodoo priest, and a modern-day Frankenstein. But it isn’t long before he realizes he’d rather be reading poetry than irradiating clones.

    The Department offers murder, mystery, monsters, poetry, a few tears, and a lot of laughs.

    Eugine McCarthy might not be a geneticist, but he is one damn brilliant marketer to get both FreeThoughtBlogs and The Blaze to advertise for his book.

  23. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    From the “About me” above:

    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.

    McCarthy forgets that a new theory that supersedes an older theory with a great deal of evidence for it generally extends into areas that the old theory could not explain, rather than replacing it entirely with scenarios that the old theory had already disproved.