Human hybrids: a closer look at the theory and evidence

Jul 25, 2013 by John Hewitt report
Human hybrids:  a closer look at the theory and evidence.
Credit: http://www.skullsite.co.uk/Pig/pigdom.htm

There was considerable fallout, both positive and negative, from our first story covering the radical pig-chimp hybrid theory put forth by Dr. Eugene McCarthy, a geneticist who's proposing that humans first arose from an ancient hybrid cross between pigs and chimpanzees. Despite the large number of comments, here at Phys.org, on macroevolution.net, and on several other discussion forums, little in the way of a scientific consensus has emerged. By and large, those coming out against the theory had surprisingly little science to offer in their sometimes personal attacks against McCarthy.

As any skilled listener might observe, the most important thing in communication is not always hearing what is said, but rather, hearing what isn't said. One thing we have not heard here is objection from those writer-scientists who have any kind of public reputation in the evolutionary sciences. I don't think that is because they didn't hear about the story. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel found the article, or at least parts of it, to be rather revealing, and he used segments from it on his show. Commenters on the O'Reilly Factor also called in asking for his opinion on the story. The reason for the silence from above, so to speak, is that they have nothing to gain in being right, but much to lose when any statement they might offer is picked apart by someone with a little more conceptual fluidity, and who has substantial research vested in the theory.

As many critics noted, the advancement of scientific knowledge does not require disproving every radical theory that comes along. Lots of incorrect theories exist that cannot, for all practical purposes, be formally disproven. It seems, however, that decent arguments against the hybrid origins theory are surprisingly hard to find, and moreover, the established elders of the field, well, they know it.

We decided it would be worthwhile to take a closer look at the objections that were most commonly offered against the hybrid hypothesis. Chief among them was that the chromosome differences here are just too large to support a viable hybrid. One of the previous examples we gave, the zedonk (zebra parent, 2n=44, donkey parent, 2n=62), can and does result in female hybrid offspring that have been reported to produce offspring in backcrosses. The same is true for the geep (sheep, 2n=54, and goat 2n=60). While the reduction in fertility associated with large differences of this sort is often severe, the existence of fertile hybrids, particularly in backcrosses, invalidates this objection.

Credit: ristorantemystica.wordpress.com

Another argument was that the morphological distance, or genetic differences besides chromosome number, are just too great. Most of us are familiar with the platypus. A paper published in Nature a few years ago demonstrated that the platypus genome contains both bird and mammal chromosomes, and therefore that the vastly different bird and mammal sex chromosome systems have been successfully bridged by this creature. This example is not offered as any kind of proof. But it does suggest that sometime, long ago, a cross occurred that would have been even more distant than that between a chimpanzee and a pig – one between a otter-like mammal and a duck-like bird. And if such was the case, the hybrids from the cross must have been able to produce offspring (otherwise they would have died out, and the platypus would not exist today).

The objection that mating between such different animals is just too strange has been addressed at length on McCarthy's website. Ample counterexamples have been given there and elsewhere, including the evidence for matings, without issue, between such strange pairings as a buck rabbit with female cat (or even with a domestic hen), or a dog with a monkey, or with a swan goose. In general, as McCarthy points out, it has long been known that many organisms, as adults, prefer to mate with whatever animal they are exposed to at the critical early stage in their lives when sexual imprinting occurs.

He also notes that it is not as if his hypothesis that humans are pig-chimp hybrids has not been tested. Under the alternative hypothesis (humans are not pig-chimp hybrids), the assumption is that humans and are equally distant from pigs. You would therefore expect chimp traits not seen in humans to be present in pigs at about the same rate as are human traits not found in chimps. However, when he searched the literature for traits that distinguish humans and chimps, and compiled a lengthy list of such traits, he found that it was always humans who were similar to pigs with respect to these traits. This finding is inconsistent with the possibility that humans are not pig-chimp hybrids, that is, it rejects that hypothesis.

Also raised was the argument that pigs and humans might have converged anatomically as a result of longstanding animal husbandry, not limited to but perhaps including genes carried over by retroviruses. If that is, in fact, a general mechanism that operates behind the scenes, then we might justifiably ask—why don't a lot of the traits that distinguish us from primates connect us with dogs, with whom we have obviously lived, at close quarters, since prehistoric times? Why is it only pigs?

One objection which seems to have really stretched the genetic exclusion argument was an appeal to junk DNA as a mechanism that can prevent two species from reproducing. The reference was to a paper in PLoS Biology which revealed interesting phenomena occurring in Drosophila (fruit flies) that can prevent embryos from developing. The study points to faster mutation rates found for noncoding DNA, and outlines a mechanism where mutation in a segment on the X chromosome of the father prevents proper separation of the whole chromosome. Clearly, a unique situation in this particular species, however interesting, does not invalidate the documented existence of successful hybrids produced in thousands of other species crosses.

In moving forward, we hope to see more discussion on this issue from both sides of the argument. Nothing is preventing anyone from taking a closer look at the genetic picture. In fact, doing so has never been easier. Sites like eEnsembl let you "browse a genome" with unprecedented ease. Sequence data, or genome organization can be curated to support both observation and idea, as it can also be done to oppose the same. For the matter at hand, we might expect each side to continue to accuse the other of cherry-picking their arguments. Eventually though, sufficient data will fall from the collisions between example-fed discussion and informed search to deliver an elevated consensus. One particular approach recommended McCarthy is in silico chromosome painting of the human genome with random pig and sequences in an effort to find hotspots of similarity to pig.

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.

Explore further: A chimp-pig hybrid origin for humans?

More information: www.macroevolution.net/

Related Stories

A chimp-pig hybrid origin for humans?

Jul 03, 2013

(Phys.org) —These days, getting a Ph.D. is probably the last thing you want to do if you are out to revolutionize the world. If, however, what you propose is an idea, rather than a technology, it can still ...

Sequencing a mini-pig: The whole story

Nov 14, 2012

The Wuzhishan miniature pig is one of 72 breeds native to China. New research published in BioMed Central and BGI's open access journal GigaScience provides the genome sequence of this rare mini-pig. An in-depth analysis of thi ...

Recommended for you

Lemurs match scent of a friend to sound of her voice

6 hours ago

Humans aren't alone in their ability to match a voice to a face—animals such as dogs, horses, crows and monkeys are able to recognize familiar individuals this way too, a growing body of research shows.

Love-shy panda artificially inseminated

16 hours ago

Britain's only female giant panda, Tian Tian, has been artificially inseminated after failing to mate with her male partner Yang Guang, Edinburgh Zoo said Tuesday.

User comments : 360

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

shavera
2.4 / 5 (38) Jul 25, 2013
TL;DR: Batshit Crazy headlines help us sell more ads. So here's a followup with even more crazy so we can sell more ads to people who click through. Good luck with actually learning real science news with us!
Gmr
2 / 5 (37) Jul 25, 2013
Wow. So, physorg is formally proferring the hypothesis with this evidence that it no longer in any way resembles a science news site.

This evidence is quite compelling.

There is an alternative theory: a scientist who has been alone with himself too long has gone round the bend after having newly discovered convergent evolution.

Again: just get some germ plasm and have at it.

Show me the zygote.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (27) Jul 25, 2013
One thing ignored by the mainstream is the nature of humans as domesticated animals. We are referred to as 'evolved' implying natural selection when in fact our development after the advent of technology was anything but natural.

When we became able to hunt the predators which had kept our numbers in check, humans became the predominant enemy of humans. Hunting animals is easy. Hunting humans who are in turn hunting you is hard.

The tribal dynamic thus became the shaper of the modern human form. Tribes whose members were better at planning, communicating, cooperating, and executing ever more complex operations against their neighbors, would be expected to prevail.

Our brains became unnaturally huge and unsustainable as a result. We became throwers and runners in order to outflank and ambush the enemy. Our muscles, claws, fangs, and fur receded as we began replacing them with more functional technology.

And the hymen became critical in determining the efficacy of warrior bloodlines.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (25) Jul 25, 2013
Tribalism is unpopular with the mainstream as it leads to a lot of uncomfortable conclusions about prejudice, overpopulation, and conflict. It implies that a lot of behaviors that society struggles to correct, are innate.

Science will still claim that hunting and tool use shaped us when it is obvious that it was weapons and conflict among equals in the context of chronic overpopulation, which made us human.
http://rechten.el...RID2.pdf

-So what does this have to do with pigs? Pigs were selected for their ability to live in unnatural environs, to follow irrational orders, to herd, to mate on command, to allow themselves to be put into perilous and uncomfortable situations, to resist their instincts, and to depend on others for food and shelter. It is no wonder that we resemble them.
FainAvis
4 / 5 (23) Jul 25, 2013
McCarthy has dealt with the objection of mismatched chromosome numbers.

Summarising the back cross situation:
XpYp x XcXc (Pig x Chimp) -> XcXp (F1) #One pig in all of this.
XcYc x XcXp (Chimp x F1) -> XcXc (BC1) #Back Cross 1
XcYc x XcXc (Chimp x BC1) -> XcXc (BC2)
XcYc x XcXc (Chimp x BC2) -> XcXc (BC3)
XcYc x XcXc (Chimp x BC3) -> XcXc (BC4)
...
XcYc x XcXc Chimp x BCn -> XcYc (BCn) # Yippee!! its a boy.
Hope he has just good enough sperm to do the job.

Not yet a human, but genetic variety that could evolve there.

Note particularly that the pig's Y chromosome never gets into the hybrid because F1 is most often female. By BC1 even his Xp chromosome has gone. Then for several matings stabilisation is reducing many other pig contributions on other chromosomes.

For doubters, off you go and read up backcross on wikipedia. Then you may look up how they breed polled cattle.

Good stuff this. History in the making.
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (26) Jul 25, 2013
You would therefore expect chimp traits not seen in humans to be present in pigs at about the same rate as are human traits not found in chimps.

This sounds wrong, as the appearance of traits over an evolutionary significant period of time is not dependent on the species but on the environment that species is exposed to.

Two different species exposed to a highly selective environment will likely show convergent evolution over time (traits which are advantageous in this envirionment have a higher probability to stick with either group) while two groups of the same species in different environments will diverge.

So the 'chimp/pig hybrid' may just be the case of our ancestors and pigs living in the same environment longer than another group from our ancestors' tree.

I'm still calling BS on the original hypothesis.
jdbertron
3.6 / 5 (21) Jul 25, 2013
First, I hope people are not confusing pig and chimp with the species we know of today. Any reference to these should be put into the correct time frame. It is unfortunately common for researchers to use modern terms to describe a specie that has little to do with those they refer to, which then gets picked up by the ignorant crowd to make broad comparisons and assumptions that get them all upset.
Second, I hope careful attention is being paid to the sustainability of such cross fertilization. Even if you can make a mammal out of two other mammals doesn't mean a new line has been created. There are way too many possibilities down the line that render the research almost uninteresting.
Claudius
3.2 / 5 (28) Jul 25, 2013

So the 'chimp/pig hybrid' may just be the case of our ancestors and pigs living in the same environment longer than another group from our ancestors' tree.

I'm still calling BS on the original hypothesis.


Apparently, hybridization is theorized to be the mechanism by which new species arise. This is different from the "survival of the fittest" mechanism traditionally associated with evolution. So both mechanisms operate together to produce variation and speciation.

I was very skeptical of this until I looked at the information provided on his website.

The platypus having both avian and mammalian genes is a very good example of how our preconceptions need changing.
Gmr
1.8 / 5 (26) Jul 25, 2013
@jdbertron: the "now is not then" argument might hold weight but for the apparent complete plasticity of animal genomes proposed in this website and heavily slanted article. The very idea of a platypus being a stable hybrid bird/duck bespeaks the childish understanding of evolution this all represents.

A platypus resembles an alligator in terms of gait/structure more than avian or placental, not to mention the venomous spur of the male which has no analog whatsoever in a hypothetical otter/duck cross. Plus logic and research.
Claudius
3.4 / 5 (29) Jul 25, 2013

A platypus resembles an alligator in terms of gait/structure more than avian or placental, not to mention the venomous spur of the male which has no analog whatsoever in a hypothetical otter/duck cross. Plus logic and research.


"A paper published in Nature a few years ago demonstrated that the platypus genome contains both bird and mammal chromosomes, and therefore that the vastly different bird and mammal sex chromosome systems have been successfully bridged by this creature."

Didn't read the article?
Gmr
1.8 / 5 (26) Jul 25, 2013
Show me the zygote. It doesn't have to carry to term, and in vitro fertalization is well understood technology. Ethical arguments are an obvious dodge in this case, as per the theory almost any two species could perform this feat.

Zygote or it didn't happen. Urchin starfish, cow sheep, mouse cat. Pick any two besides known close familial hybrids (something as disparate in body plan as pig and chimp).

Provide practical demonstration or its all hot air.
Gmr
1.4 / 5 (20) Jul 25, 2013
@Claudius: care to cite the mythical article? Issue, arxiv? Pre print? Abstract?
What did the article actually say? Have you ever seen a platypus skull? Look at the nostril placement, foramen, jaw and ear structure, bones, joints, any of it? Tissue structure, behavior, lack of whiskers, electrical sensors?
fmfbrestel
2.9 / 5 (17) Jul 25, 2013
One thing we have not heard here is objection from those writer-scientists who have any kind of public reputation in the evolutionary sciences.


Wow, really? That's because serious evolutionary scientists respect the established system of peer review. Website comment sections are not appropriate for serious scientific critique. If this guy isn't happy with the results of a trial in the court of public opinion, then he should submit a paper for peer review like every other researcher in his field.
Subach
3 / 5 (16) Jul 25, 2013
You cannot 'prove' a hypothesis by speculation, and thusfar that is all the author has ever presented. ie the author has compiled a list of traits for which there are similarities between humans and pigs. He speculates that the reason for these similarities is his hypothesis, which by the way is called the alternative hypothesis in standard practice. He then fails to provide a proper null hypothesis which makes his arguments meaningless.

Here is how he should proceed. Step 1. humans and pigs share a similarity in trait X (say bodies without much hair). Step 2. null hypothesis(H0): this is a coincidence. Alternative hypothesis(H1): this is due to hybridization etc..
I reject H0 only if humans and pigs share the same gene or genes controlling trait X with differences between them no greater than that one would expect for 6 million years of divergent evolution.
I don't know biology to fill in the statistics for that, but you get the point. Either come up with a real test or shut up.
Gmr
1.6 / 5 (19) Jul 25, 2013
By the way, here's my guess: the "conserved" genes between platypus and avian relate to egg laying, something that would no longer be conserved in placental mammals, but otherwise couldnt afford huge swings in mutation.
teledyn
3.3 / 5 (13) Jul 25, 2013
Low quality comments? LOL -- welcome to the internet! Every time I think we may not be pigs, I just go to a site like youtube and read the commentary on any random page.

It is perhaps a good thing in this case; ad hominem attacks means the information makes people uncomfortable, and if it were truly ridiculous, say like a story at The Onion, they'd pass it along without comment just for the lark. But they don't. Wasn't that the same reception Darwin faced? Still faces in many parts, almost all of them in the United States. (it might be interesting to plot the yays and nays on a worldmap)

I *scanned* the criticisms and yes, I see precious little science being wielded against McCarthy that can't already be answered simply by reading the whole of his presentation, and his own argument says that it is not likely to be resolved from the genetics (by our present understanding of genetics) although remember that Darwin came to his conclusions not knowing about DNA at all!
julianpenrod
1.2 / 5 (32) Jul 25, 2013
This could lead to a complete repudiation of evolution. You no longer need safe "mutations" so small they don't supply any adaptive advantage building up, "because they supply an adaptive advantage". The world can be populated with a set collection of animal species at the beginning and such crossings can produce all the many claimed species that have ever been acknowledged to have existed. Of course, this exempts man as the only animal with a soul unless a means can be found of going from a soulless creature to one that God decided to endow with a soul. God can do whatever He wants so there is no proof so far that such could not occur, but it would need significant backing up. Incidentally, that is the only thing that stood between religions not accepting "evolution", not, as "science" shills say, necessary stupidity on the part of religions. But no "scientist" ever did try even to address that facet. This can be a first step in overthrowing the lie of "evolution".
teledyn
2.4 / 5 (10) Jul 25, 2013
As I wrote to Eugene McCarthy, his thesis has spoiled a great diversion of mine, wtfevolution.tumblr.com -- it was amusing to see the creatures presented there and laugh to think "we just don't understand Evolution" or ecological validity or any of those nice clean elegant dogmas about the origins of species, but *now* every post I look at and I say, "meh. vestigial features left over from the hybrid parents" and the fun is gone. Of course it is a misfit, most of us creatures are misfits. If there is any 'direction' to evolution, it is making do with what it gets, opportunistically, not honed into being like a wooden sculpture under the knife, but a sculture that begins with the twisted found piece of driftwood.

if this question is to be answered by science, we have to leave the controversial pig-ape be until we're old enough to know the truth about ourselves. We should concentrate on *known* hybrids and experiment (but safe) hybrids and seek conclusive markers there first.
Gmr
1.9 / 5 (18) Jul 25, 2013
Here's the thing: a downvote doesn't invalidate the logic or reason in an argument, any more than one guy putting up a website invalidates genomic cladistics or anatomical classifications which existed before them. Genomics has only really diverged from anatomical cladistics in cases of species that appear very similar but otherwise have few members of their genus extant - such as the pangolin, armadillo, sloth, anteater, and aardvark. In those cases, mostly of convergent evolution, genetics was seen as more telling.

The history of the general success of anatomical cladistics mostly predicting genetic cladistics argues that this proposed theory needs to somehow supplant that success, not handwave it away.
Ralp
4.2 / 5 (15) Jul 25, 2013
You don't understand what evolution entails so your comments are quite ignorant. This doesn't invalidate evolution, it strengthens it. Evolution does not say changes in species must happen one or two genes at a time. If this repudiated evolution like you claim, there are many other discoveries on more solid footing that would repudiate evolution given your faulty logic.

This right here sums up your whole argument
God can do whatever He wants
This is not science in any way shape or form. Why don't you save this crap for sunday school?
Claudius
3.3 / 5 (24) Jul 25, 2013
@Claudius: care to cite the mythical article? Issue, arxiv? Pre print? Abstract?
What did the article actually say? Have you ever seen a platypus skull? Look at the nostril placement, foramen, jaw and ear structure, bones, joints, any of it? Tissue structure, behavior, lack of whiskers, electrical sensors?


Here you go: "Genome analysis of the platypus reveals unique signatures of evolution" http://www.nature...936.html
teledyn
2.9 / 5 (7) Jul 25, 2013
You cannot 'prove' a hypothesis by speculation... Either come up with a real test or shut up.


Seems to me Darwin's hypothesis gained considerable traction before we were finally able to see a genetic mutation breed an adaptation that we could then reverse by changing the environment. Seems to me that first conclusive confirmation only occurred last year, in 2012, yet it didn't stop anyone from actively adopting the unproven (but circumstantially highly supported) theory as pretty much 'fact'.
Koolokamba
2.9 / 5 (21) Jul 25, 2013
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.
Gmr
1.9 / 5 (17) Jul 25, 2013

Here you go: "Genome analysis of the platypus reveals unique signatures of evolution" http://www.nature...936.html


Nothing in there resembling hybridization in the slightest. It mostly talks about gene conservation and derivation of traits, which of them are unique to the monotreme ( non derived traits) which argue against hybridization if anything.
Koolokamba
2.8 / 5 (16) Jul 25, 2013
Here's a quote from the lead author of the Nature platypus study, Dr Franz Grützner: ""The platypus actually links the bird sex chromosome system with the mammalian sex chromosome systems." Check the quote here: http://www.abc.ne...5871.htm
Trenchant
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 25, 2013
I can assure you that a human female cannot get pregnant by a dog or a horse.
UKMervSanders
3 / 5 (12) Jul 25, 2013
I applaud John Hewitt for providing this platform for Dr McCarthy to respond to his critics. Of course his peers, entrenched in established (yet fallible) Neo-Darwinism will reject out-of-hand anything which may threaten their reputation as "Evolutionary experts" - and of course their grants and status. I applaud also Dr McCarthy, the guru of genetics, for putting his own reputation on the line in making such claims. I would probably have joined the skeptics if anyone other than a renowned geneticist was forwarding this new hypothesis. This article is of course just a representative snippet from his well-researched argument, and once it is understood that humans may be of hybrid origin, Sus and Pan would appear the two most likely candidates.
Claudius
2.5 / 5 (16) Jul 25, 2013

Here you go: "Genome analysis of the platypus reveals unique signatures of evolution" http://www.nature...936.html


Nothing in there resembling hybridization in the slightest. It mostly talks about gene conservation and derivation of traits, which of them are unique to the monotreme ( non derived traits) which argue against hybridization if anything.


Well, try this one: "Top billing for platypus at end of evolution tree" http://www.nature...38a.html

"The sex chromosomes are absolutely, completely different from all other mammals. We had not expected that," says Jennifer Graves of the Australian National University in Canberra, who studies sex differentiation and is an author on the paper. Instead, the platypus Xs better match the avian Z sex chromosome.
Koolokamba
3 / 5 (20) Jul 25, 2013
I notice that a couple of people are still trying to explain in terms of convergence the many (100+) traits that distinguish humans from chimpanzees, and which are also found in pigs. As I understand them, they say that this is because we have shared the same environment with pigs, or have had the same lifestyle, or have been in close association with them for a very long time. Well then, why don't we regularly share traits that distinguish us from chimpanzees with dogs? We've lived in the same environment with them for millennia. They are omnivores, too. We've lived if anything in closer proximity with them and for longer. So it seems there would have been even more pressure for us to converge with them, or to soak up genes by horizontal transfer through retroviruses. And yet, the organism that we consistently share non-chimpanzee traits with is pig.
Sinister1811
2.3 / 5 (15) Jul 25, 2013
I think the genomes of both the platypus and the echidna need to be examined further. That could shed light on the evolution of mammals from their reptile ancestors.
Koolokamba
2.7 / 5 (19) Jul 25, 2013
I think the platypus study merely verified in terms of sex chromosomes, what a lot of us suspected about the platypus all along. How many times have we heard that the platypus is a weird mixture of bird and mammal characteristics? Look at that duckbill. Look at that hair. But it seems no one wanted to come out and explicitly say that it's probably a hybrid of a mammal and a bird. That would be crazy. That would mean getting made fun of. But in my opinion the emperor here--at least if we're talking about a very narrow-minded emperor who says the possibility should never even be considered--just isn't wearing any clothes.
Gmr
1.9 / 5 (17) Jul 25, 2013
Here's a quote from the lead author of the Nature platypus study, Dr Franz Gr�Ľtzner: ""The platypus actually links the bird sex chromosome system with the mammalian sex chromosome systems." Check the quote here: http://www.abc.ne...5871.htm

What I read there isn't too far from my initial prediction: they may have preserved a sex determinant related to the ability to produce eggs. The nearest relatives they share with birds are reptiles, and while the reptiles might not use it as a sex determinant, it may be sex linked in the monotreme and not sex determinant as well, outlining a primary sex determinant in egg layers but no longer in placentals.
Gmr
2.1 / 5 (19) Jul 25, 2013
I think the platypus study merely verified in terms of sex chromosomes, what a lot of us suspected about the platypus all along. How many times have we heard that the platypus is a weird mixture of bird and mammal characteristics? Look at that duckbill. Look at that hair. But it seems no one wanted to come out and explicitly say that it's probably a hybrid of a mammal and a bird. That would be crazy. That would mean getting made fun of. But in my opinion the emperor here--at least if we're talking about a very narrow-minded emperor who says the possibility should never even be considered--just isn't wearing any clothes.


Have you ever actually seen a platypus, or looked at avian versus otter anatomy?
interrupting cow
4.6 / 5 (12) Jul 25, 2013
I think testing this is trickier than some are supposing, and that's why it's at this point, in this specific incarnation. If it were easily testable, or easily falsifiable, it would be a paper, and the matter would be resolved quickly. We had Dr. McCarthy on our podcast, and we get into that. I see people being annoyed that this isn't science, the shortcomings don't bother me, seems like a chance to help brainstorm a complicated issue and help work towards solving it. If you only want your science fully worked through before it is presented to you, fair enough; I actually like the challenge, I think science thrives on it.
UKMervSanders
3.1 / 5 (7) Jul 25, 2013
Just listening to the Podcast now, Interrupting cow. (Although it seems to be 'hanging' after 32 mins) I fully endorse your comments. This could be the most significant revelation of our generation, but just as "man evolved from apes" was a hypothesis initially unacceptable to the mindset of Darwin's generation, so the mindset of our own generation is entrenched in hybrid sterility and, let's call it, the biblical notion of "kind for kind" reproduction.

That is not to say there are no reservations in just accepting this as a hypothesis.
Somebody with a greater capability than perhaps you or I (no offence meant) needs to pick up the baton and run with it. The theory for the existence of Higgs Boson was first forwarded in 1964. With massive funding, and the Large Hadron Collider, it was finally discovered in 2012.

Our knowledge of DNA is still in a comparative stage of infancy. Should DNA fingerprints be the ultimate proof to reinforce circumstantial evidence then someone bring it on
interrupting cow
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2013
None taken. We plan to have someone with more of a technical background come on the show and walk through the finer details.

(if you mean hanging as in frozen, it seems to be working fine for me, you may need to download or reload to listen to the rest... it's worth it to hear Dr. McCarthy get into the mating behaviour)
Gmr
1.4 / 5 (18) Jul 25, 2013
Genes are invoked as proof in platypus, and discounted in chimp-pig hypothetical hybridization.

Which is it? Whichever you think at the time sounds sciency enough?
interrupting cow
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 25, 2013
We also plan to have Dr. McCarthy back on the show to go further into the discussion.
interrupting cow
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2013
To talk about the platypus, dogs, and more of his counter arguments.
Koolokamba
3 / 5 (16) Jul 25, 2013
McCarthy here. Gmr, if you will take the time to read what I have to say (http://www.macroe...crJLwl), you'll find that I do not say genetics should be discounted. I simply observe that due the presumed repeated backcrossing, the smoking gun may not be easy to find, especially since you don't know exactly what it is you're looking for (that is, you don't have a specific sequence to BLAST with). After all, under the hypothesis, the human genome would mostly chimpanzee, and any pig genes would likely be obscured by repeated rounds of gene conversion. But, if you'll look at my comment above, I do suggest an approach (in silico chromosome painting) that might well be fruitful. It might turn up genetic data consistent with the pig-ape hypothesis, in the same way that genetic data has been found that's consist with the hypothesis that platypuses are mammal-bird hybrids. ;-)
UKMervSanders
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2013
Will persist inter ... cow. It is a very interesting podcast dialogue so far and I wish to not only hear the end of it, but I am looking forward to the sequel. Further to my last message as I ran out of space...

The absence of DNA fingerprints would still not necessarily disprove the hypothesis.

Gmr - have you ever heard/seen/read of/been involved (hopefully as a juror!) in a murder court case where there was not only a lack of a body (i.e. a zygote) but lack of fingerprints? i.e. genetic proof? A wealth of circumstantial evidence can be enough to secure a conviction. I have some concurrence with your thoughts that this is science, and science demands more than 12 people and a judge weighing up the evidence. In the meantime, for me, as a member of the jury if you like as that is essentially what this comment section allows us to be, it is not an immediate response of "case dismissed". You as a fellow juror, demand more proof. Cool.
That may however be a few years away.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
2.3 / 5 (18) Jul 25, 2013
I don't understand how Hewitt's argumentative, non-factual article can be published on a science news site.

- Argumentative: "those coming out against the theory had surprisingly little science to offer in their sometimes personal attacks against McCarthy.".

- Non-factual: all our phylogenetic, including genetic, evidence of the standard phylogenetic tree and Homo ancestry in particular, has already been offered as reason to reject the hypothesis and remains more than enough.

I also don't understand how a crackpot idea is posted, to the detriment of the site and of science in general.

Seriously, I go here because it is a convenient feed. If it stops being convenient by mixing crackpottery with the science, I have to go elsewhere for my science news.
montechiari
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2013
There shouldn't be any sides arguing to find a consensus in an internet forum, this is a scientific matter and should be settled by experts. But one thing is certain: Even if there were no arguments against this hypothesis, the default position would still be skepticism. It's too soon an there is too little to show to call this a theory and try and change the scientific paradigm.
Koolokamba
2.8 / 5 (18) Jul 25, 2013
McCarthy here. Torbjorn_Larsson_OM: Try to think hypothetically. What would happen to your "standard phylogenetic tree and Homo ancestry in particular" if this hypothesis were true? Would you still call them "evidence?" And it seems to me John Hewitt is right, for my own part, I do think that "those coming out against the theory had surprisingly little science to offer in their sometimes personal attacks against McCarthy." In fact, in calling me crackpot, you do much to verify his claim. Please stop waving your hands and come up with some real, factual objections. And please don't pretend there really is some "standard phylogenetic tree." I don;;t know your background, but surely you must realize that there are few topics that biologists bicker about more than systematics. As far as I can see, there is only the tree currently believed in by some. Next year it will be something different.

Read more at: http://phys.org/n...html#jCp
sage101
5 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2013
For a more in-depth, technical exposition of the hybridization theory see "Xanth" work, produced by Piers Anthony.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (10) Jul 25, 2013
Well then, why don't we regularly share traits that distinguish us from chimpanzees with dogs? We've lived in the same environment with them for millennia
Some animals are more suitable for domestication than others. Some are more pliable than others or are limited as to the forms they can assume.

Jared diamond in 'guns germs and steel' discusses the futile efforts to domesticate zebras and other animals. Cats are not nearly as amenable as dogs are to variation and compliance. Perhaps pigs are a coincidence, a chance convergence of the domestication of both humans and swine.

Who is to say that long long ago there wasnt an earnest effort at eugenics within a certain tribe to produce exceptional warriors and superior thinkers, which exceeded the normal formative effects of tribalism? But really, whos to say that this was even necessary?

Dont get me wrong. I have read your site and like your ideas very much.
Claudius
2 / 5 (12) Jul 25, 2013

Who is to say that long long ago there wasnt an earnest effort at eugenics within a certain tribe to produce exceptional warriors and superior thinkers, which exceeded the normal formative effects of tribalism? But really, whos to say that this was even necessary?


Perhaps the Huxley's would qualify?
Koolokamba
2.6 / 5 (19) Jul 25, 2013
McCarthy here.
montechiari: You say, "It's too soon an there is too little to show to call this a theory and try and change the scientific paradigm." Do you think that every scientist has the same notion of things as you? If not, then what's THE scientific paradigm? But if so, I suspect you're probably mistaken. If you ask me, open-minded people are constantly thinking about things and changing their paradigms, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. At least that's my paradigm.
Gmr
1.7 / 5 (23) Jul 25, 2013
This is a non theory. It is base conjecture. Living room "science" over brandy in the drawing room in giant leather chairs. Simple tests exist to exclude this idea, yet all are somehow inaccurate, or raise ethical concerns.

This is crank science. The kind that scuttles under a new leaf to escape the light of genuine definitive tests. Many of you are familiar with the same in physics. This is what it looks like in the biological sciences. Cherry picked data, poorly understood articles cited on the evidence of suggestive text, and at the center of it all a personality that brooks no dissent. A cult of personality. A persecuted neo-Galileo or Darwin, both of whom would cringe at the claimants lack of humility and caution.
grondilu
3.6 / 5 (12) Jul 25, 2013
This is a non theory. It is base conjecture.


A conjecture is an assertion whose veracity is unknown. A theory is a coherent corpus of ideas that aim to explain or describe a phenomena, regardless of whether these ideas happen to be true or not.

McCarthy has made a meticulous comparative analysis of the anatomy of great apes and pigs, along with a scrupulous study of hybridization in various life forms. He then formulates the hypothesis that the many analogies between humans and pigs which can not be seen in other great apes might have resulted from a very ancient hybridization between primates and artiodactyls, which was then backcrossed with primates. The whole thing is a coherent corpus, therefore it fits the definition of a theory, whether you think it is plausible or not.
Gmr
1.6 / 5 (20) Jul 25, 2013
Grondilu, it is conjecture. It doesn't even rise to the level of hypothesis because it provides no exclusion criteria, nor does it propose a definitive test to establish plausibility.

It is oh so very far from theory in the scientific vernacular.
grondilu
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 25, 2013
I think we'll just have to wait ten or twenty years, until computers are powerful enough to just deduce the most likely reproductive history resulting in the extant known genomes. Because until then I fear we'll just be limited to conjectures and endless debates, based more on emotion than reason.
katesisco
2.1 / 5 (14) Jul 25, 2013
Well, if comb jellies preceded sponges and the multi cellular life had two starts, tuna are close relatives of seahorses, butterflies are born from cells of a deconstructed larva, isn't anything possible?
Gmr
1.4 / 5 (19) Jul 25, 2013
Biological perpetual motion. It still has the question to answer of if biological selection occurs at all. If yes, why is it not sufficient to explain the descent of man; if no, where does a partner in this hybridization originate? Another hybrid? This presupposes a myriad of single trait populations at the beginning of evolution, unsupported by the fossil record or genetics. Animals with single cells yet the gene for legs. An organism with only an eye and no alimentary canal.

If this is the best that can be come up with, I'll start my theoretical science career right now.
grondilu
3.8 / 5 (10) Jul 25, 2013
Grondilu, it is conjecture. It doesn't even rise to the level of hypothesis because it provides no exclusion criteria, nor does it propose a definitive test to establish plausibility.


Again, a conjecture is a single assertion. McCarthy's work is much more than a single assertion. It's a set of observations and hypothesis. It is a corpus, not a single assessment. Therefore it's a theory.

The point you're trying to make is that it is not a *scientific* theory, from an epistemologic point of view. Because yeah normally a scientific theory has to be refutable. This is a simplistic view, though. I'm not expert but I believe epistemology is a bit more complex than that. Especially in evolutionary biology.
Gmr
1.7 / 5 (22) Jul 25, 2013
Sorry, grondilu. No matter how much lipstick you put on a chimp-pig hybrid, it is pure conjecture. It is not a hypothesis, and is in no scientific sense a theory.

It is a theory in the vernacular sense if you mean theories like 9/11 was an inside job, or tin foil hats keep the aliens from listening to your thoughts.
grondilu
3.3 / 5 (12) Jul 25, 2013
It is a theory in the vernacular sense if you mean theories like 9/11 was an inside job


A theory is a corpus of ideas proposed as a way to explain or describe something. Conspiracy theories ARE theories. They are not scientific theories because they don't conform to scientific method and they involve ad-hoc hypothesis incompatible with Occam's razor. Yet they are theories indeed.

Again, you're confusing what defines a theory with what makes it scientific. And even about what makes a theory scientific, you have a very narrow, oversimplified idea of what it is.
Gmr
1.5 / 5 (22) Jul 25, 2013
Grondilu, this does not deserve the label "theory" because I wish to avoid any confusion of the term as this is a science site, ostensibly, despite this article.

It does, however, share many traits with conspiracy "theories" as you outlined. Theories in the scientific sense have some predictive power. This conjecture makes no predictions, as those might be testable. It instead attempts assertions and only looks at potentially supporting evidence, otherwise known as "cherry picking."
Claudius
2.4 / 5 (14) Jul 25, 2013
Conspiracy theories ARE theories. They are not scientific theories because they don't conform to scientific method and they involve ad-hoc hypothesis incompatible with Occam's razor. Yet they are theories indeed.


Some conspiracy theories, such as those developed by detectives in investigations, seem to come close to your standard.
Claudius
2.6 / 5 (17) Jul 25, 2013
Grondilu, this does not deserve the label "theory" because I wish to avoid any confusion of the term as this is a science site, ostensibly, despite this article.

It does, however, share many traits with conspiracy "theories" as you outlined. Theories in the scientific sense have some predictive power. This conjecture makes no predictions, as those might be testable. It instead attempts assertions and only looks at potentially supporting evidence, otherwise known as "cherry picking."


Science is an attempt to obtain reliable knowledge about the world we live in. The theory that hybrids produce new species is pretty good, and until a better one comes up, well, you know the rest.
Gmr
1.8 / 5 (19) Jul 25, 2013
Claudius, a much better theory with real predictive power already exists. This conjecture has to completely supplant that theory in predictive power before attempting to fill in holes.

You'd find it hard to build an equivalent to your own home out of just spackle.
Sean_W
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 25, 2013
I thought Allah turned people into apes and pigs, not the other way around.
Claudius
2 / 5 (12) Jul 25, 2013
I thought Allah turned people into apes and pigs, not the other way around.


You are what you eat. :>
Claudius
2.6 / 5 (18) Jul 25, 2013
Claudius, a much better theory with real predictive power already exists. This conjecture has to completely supplant that theory in predictive power before attempting to fill in holes.

You'd find it hard to build an equivalent to your own home out of just spackle.


I have been aware of a controversy in evolution theory for some decades now. Whether Darwin's survival of the fittest could explain the sudden evolutionary changes that have been observed. With Darwin's theory, gradual change is predicted, yet sudden changes have been commonplace. This hybridization theory makes sense, and fills some gaps in the traditional theory.
Gmr
1.9 / 5 (18) Jul 25, 2013
Claudius, so does the concept that catastrophic environmental events clear out larger and more specialized creatures, leaving the surviving small generalists to compete anew for a host of new niches. Take a look at which animals have thrived under human settlement and you'll see this in action. Similar to the finches colonizing the Galapagos, adaptive radiation generates a "sudden" myriad of new forms.
Telekinetic
2.2 / 5 (14) Jul 25, 2013
This is the origin of GhostofOtto's pet idiotic theory of Tribalism-

"The Nazis declared that the Nordics (i.e., the Germanic peoples) were the true Aryans because they claimed that they were more "pure" (less racially mixed with non-native Indo-European peoples) than other people of what were then called the Aryan peoples (now generally called the Indo-European peoples), such as the Slavic peoples, the Romance peoples, the Iranian peoples, and the Indo-Aryans. Claiming that the Nordic peoples were superior to all other races, the Nazis believed they were entitled to world domination. This concept is called Nordicism."

Koolokamba
2.6 / 5 (17) Jul 25, 2013
McCarthy here:
Scientists consider hypotheses (or theories, or claims, or whatever word you would like to use) in the light of evidence. Whichever hypothesis--be it ancient or be it new--is most consistent with available evidence is your working hypothesis, the thing you assume until you come across something that fits the evidence better. Personally, I think the pig-chimp-hybrid-origin-of-humans hypothesis is more consistent with available evidence than any other hypothesis I've seen. Read the evidence and arguments that I offer and you might agree. ;-)
Gmr
1.9 / 5 (19) Jul 25, 2013
I have and I do not agree. One can end up in a thought trap of ones own making when an idea generates personal appeal. The idea that you are the only one smart enough to see and propose what to you seems obvious generates feelings of self worth, so that attacks on the logic and conclusions of the idea feel personal. Rather than dispassionate analysis, it becomes a battle of ego for a surrogate child.

This is the trap of conspiracy theories, cults, and crank science.
Claudius
2.8 / 5 (18) Jul 25, 2013
I have and I do not agree.


This seems normal when discussing a controversial subject.

One mistake I see commonly made is that those who challenge established theory are often dismissed as unscientific. Yet without challenges to established theory, there would be no scientific progress. That does not mean that every challenge to established theory is correct, but neither should one be dogmatic. Socrates pointed this out ages ago.
Gmr
1.7 / 5 (18) Jul 25, 2013
Claudius, I am no stranger to controversial ideas. I am far from a conservative or ideologue, but I am not the subject.

Believe it or not, an idea not being accepted does not correlate to its plausibility or utility, and woe betide the engineer who uses this criteria as a rule to design and build anything. This instead plays the same crank song of insular loyalists who insist on being special and unique. This insulates them from rejection by reinforcing their unique place as the elite who truly understand.
Claudius
2.6 / 5 (15) Jul 25, 2013
Claudius, I am no stranger to controversial ideas. I am far from a conservative or ideologue, but I am not the subject.

Believe it or not, an idea not beimg accepted does not correlate to its plausibility or utility, and woe betide the engineer who uses this criteria as a rule to design and build anything. This instead plays the same crank song of insular loyalists who insist on being special and unique. This insulates them from rejection by reinforcing their unique place as the elite who truly understand.


I completely agree with the above. And I don't think even McCarthy would say his theory is "accepted." It is however, intriguing, and a scientific mind has to entertain all possibilities.
FainAvis
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 25, 2013
Gmr Every time you sit down to a meal you eat food that has been bred for this or that desirable quality. Tomatoes that stay fresh or crop all at once, corn with big juicy kernels, low allergy milk, rust resistant wheat, phytopthera resistant grape vines.
Geneticists, like McCarthy, understand how, when a foodstuff is deficient in a desirable trait, find an organism carrying that trait, and by selective breeding transfer that trait to the deficient organism. They do it by a very well understood procedure.
1. Make a hybrid with usually a female of the deficient strain, crossed to the donor organism. It has a name - F1 hybrid.
Ok, so some of the time F1 turns out to be a monster. That is ok. The monster carries a message, just that one trait of interest.
2. Backcross the (usually female) F1 hybrid to the deficient strain, formally called the parent strain. The offspring, usually female, is called the backcross 1, BC1.
3. Backcross BC1 to the parent strain. The offspring is BC2.
Koolokamba
2.8 / 5 (18) Jul 25, 2013
McCarthy here.
Gmr, I don't see any real argument that you're making here. It's just "I don't agree" or "crank" or "a battle of ego." I mean, what's your point? That I'm some sort of madman? The main thrust of your comments strikes me as ad hominem. Personally, I don't see alternative hypotheses as a problem. In fact, I'm with Abelard: "By doubting we come to questioning, and by questioning we perceive the truth."
FainAvis
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 25, 2013
(Cont) Every backcross generation reduces the amount of genetic material from the donor. The stud book keeper has to check that BCn still carries the trait of interest. Very soon, after five, ten or twenty backcrosses the BCn is almost identical to the original parent, except that it carries the trait of interest.
Hopefully, by this time there is a male BCn.
When genetic testing confirms the new organism is homologous for all the traits of interest, and not hetrologous for any undesirable traits, he declares that organism is stabilised.
Note that by this procedure there is very little trace of the donor organism in the stabilised organism.
Next, an example that should be easy to understand.
Gmr
1.8 / 5 (24) Jul 26, 2013
This is conjecture.

The classical trait being that any potential criticism is deflected by either:
- Others have to disprove the theory (why this isn't a hypothesis)
- The test would be impractical/unethical/can't be done yet because of the lack of technology
- Look at the credentials

It is not incumbent upon me to disprove your theory. It is incumbent upon you to provide a testable hypothesis, not excuses why a test can't be devised. Unless you can provide a verifiable prediction or path to prediction in this conjecture, it's all talk.

The mass of people on here downvoting in force only reinforces the idea that this is a cult of personality, an idea that is too weak to defend itself, so it must have defenders. That is not a very good idea, if it can't stand on its own, if it can't be tested, if it makes no predictions.

Until a testable prediction is provided, it is not my fault, incumbent upon me, or my station to take it easy on an infant idea.
Gmr
2.2 / 5 (20) Jul 26, 2013
One idea strikes me as a potential refutation, however.

Ocean life.

Windborne pollinators.

Both, if hybridization was as plastic as this conjecture suggests, should end up with generations of monstrous hybrids every milting or pollen shedding season, as non-internal-fertilizers have only so much control over zygote distribution. Ocean life, if hybridization was as easy and error-free as suggested, would either be a hopeless gray mass of mixed characteristic invertebrate life, or have to develop some way of having germ cells only pair with other germ cells of at least a vaguely similar nature.

Similarly, landbound wind-pollinating plant life should be a gradient of things, all running into one-another, rather than distinct plant forms and growth patterns - a fluid mixture where "species" isn't the same from one season to the next.
FainAvis
4.1 / 5 (9) Jul 26, 2013
(Cont) Consider a dairy farmer who has a herd of milking cows. Just one problem is they all have weapons on their heads that can injure either him or the other girls.

He brings in a polled (hornless) bull. None of his kin have ever been known to grow horns. Nevertheless, he is quite ornery.

Essentially, the procedure is to bring the naturally polled bull in just once. Thereafter, just breed from the good milking animals that are naturally polled. Soon enough you discover that some pairings breed polled 100% of the time. That is when the breed is 'stabilised' for polled.

Oh yes, he did remember to check every backcross that the ornery trait was not carried over. There is little trace of the stranger bull in the genetics of the herd, except they are now much safer to be around - polled.
Mandan
4.3 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
Pigs were selected for their ability to live in unnatural environs, to follow irrational orders, to herd, to mate on command, to allow themselves to be put into perilous and uncomfortable situations, to resist their instincts, and to depend on others for food and shelter.


Don't get me wrong, your posts are very entertaining. But have you actually ever been around pigs? Do you really think they follow irrational orders, or that they herd well, mate on command, or any of those other things you attribute to them?

My family has raised hogs my entire life, and I literally laughed out loud when I read your descriptions. Quite to the contrary, pigs are the most difficult animal to work of all the domesticates. They herd VERY poorly. Each has a mind of its own, doing whatever it pleases. They will run off barking like dogs given the tiniest of openings, and they root at everything requiring extensive welding and carpentry skills to keep up.

And these are domesticates, not wild.
FainAvis
3.8 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
Gmr Can you not grasp that McCarthy is simply saying that this same process, long known to cattle breeders, to zoo managers, to dog breeders, camel breeders, spider breeders who want to make silk, and to all kinds of plant breeders, is active in the natural world?

On ocean life and windblown pollinators, you are speaking from the prejudice of ignorance. Hybrid sterility and inviability blocks the kind of scenario you suggest.
On the other hand, hybrid sterility or inviability is a permeable block that allows very rarely, that a new hybrid can come into being, stabilise and prosper as a new form of life.
So your argument is duffed at both ends.
Gmr
1.9 / 5 (18) Jul 26, 2013
FainAvis, your argument does not prevent a new generation every year/milting/pollen season of one-off monsters, if that is the case. We should still see an ocean and forest of hybrids, a horrifying soup and potpourri of mixed monsters, even if they can't interbreed again, every year.

Genetics either proves it or can't be trusted to prove it. Hybrid sterility prevents the gray goo scenario except in very careful circumstances, specifically to support this theory. So, you see how this conjecture has zero predictive power or testable element to it. It is as flexible as it has to be to survive, anything to prevent being pinned down to actual testable results,which could mean its doom.
Mandan
3.6 / 5 (12) Jul 26, 2013
(continued)

As to the mating of pigs, in my opinion this is where this hybridization theory has the most merit.

Sow cannot be made to mate on command. They must be in "heat". Boars are always ready, but they are violent and huge and I cannot visualize a chimp-like female creature holding up the weight of a boar on her back.

Sows, however, come into heat as a group during a window of several days at a specific time after their piglets have been weaned. During that time we actually "heat check" the females every day by introducing a boar to the pen. If she shows interest in him, we try to put both hands on her back and place our full weight on our hands. If she is close to being in "heat" she will stand still momentarily and then run. If she is in full "heat" she will stand perfectly still and we will then move her into the breeding building for artificial insemination.

At that point I suppose it is possible that a male chimp-like creature could perform the sex act with a sow.
Mandan
3.3 / 5 (12) Jul 26, 2013
OK, so Koolokamba, AKA McCarthy, the author of this hypothesis, is on this thread giving a one vote to a person with fifty years of experience breeding pigs, weaning pigs, feeding pigs, moving pigs, performing surgery on pigs, and being forced to deal with their destructive and contrary ways simply for having given a factual description of actual observed pig behavior?

And that is an objective scientific approach in what way?
Gmr
1.8 / 5 (15) Jul 26, 2013
Welcome to the compound, Mandan. Mind the gold Rolls-Royce. : )
barakn
2.4 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
montechiari: You say, "It's too soon an there is too little to show to call this a theory and try and change the scientific paradigm." Do you think that every scientist has the same notion of things as you? If not, then what's THE scientific paradigm? But if so, I suspect you're probably mistaken. If you ask me, open-minded people are constantly thinking about things and changing their paradigms, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. At least that's my paradigm.- Koolokamba

Koolokamba has posteda few times on phys.org, the first time referring to McCarthy in the third person and this time in the first person. So either this poster is McCarthy and has been caught using a sockpuppet to praise his own theory or this individual is not McCarthy and is simply a bad liar. Either way, Koolokamba is not to be trusted.
Mandan
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
Well, I like to think I'm open to controversial hypotheses. I employ R. A. Lyttleton's "Bead on the Wire" method http://amasci.com...ead.html when evaluating multiple hypothesis threads.

I'll admit this one is pretty far "out there", but so were the ideas of Lynn Margulis when I read her book 'Microcosmos' 25 years ago. Now much of that book which was controversial back then is textbook orthodoxy now.

I'm certainly no geneticist. The duckbill platypus does present interesting questions. But I have a very difficult time getting rid of the hooves, tail, tusks and other dentition, long snout/acute sense of smell, lack of sweat glands, ten or more sets of teats, and large, sensitive ears-- not to mention quadrupedal locomotion-- in any fusion of the pig with the primate.

All that being said, I've now got a new wire with a bead on it pretty close to 0, but I won't let it fall off into that "pit of pride and prejudice" until a few years have gone by at the very least.
FainAvis
2.7 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
Gmr The monster hybrids as you call them are low in number simply because a wide cross is less likely to produce a living offspring, reproductively fertile or not, than the in-species unions. So in-species offspring vastly outnumber outcross F1. That prevents your gray goo scenario.

Urgelt
4 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
The plasticity of animal genomes is well-documented.

This particular hypothetical cross doesn't yet have a body of evidence to bring it into the consensus, but that's not a reason to dismiss it.

The hypothesis should not be discarded simply because it makes us uncomfortable.
Gmr
1.8 / 5 (16) Jul 26, 2013
Gmr The monster hybrids as you call them are low in number simply because a wide cross is less likely to produce a living offspring, reproductively fertile or not, than the in-species unions. So in-species offspring vastly outnumber outcross F1. That prevents your gray goo scenario.


Not quite. How far is too far? It hand waves my objections, but not much more than that. What you're saying, really, is the current difficulty of producing hybrids, which is sufficient to differentiate coral species that produce and disperse zygotes at the same time, is somehow just inefficient enough to not prevent chimp-pig. Convenient - it's flexible enough for this one instance, because it happens to be necessary to make the conjecture work, but the door slams most of the rest of the time, conveniently keeping corals separate despite their similarities.

Convenient enough to make this a complete non-starter.
Gmr
1.9 / 5 (17) Jul 26, 2013
The plasticity of animal genomes is well-documented.

This particular hypothetical cross doesn't yet have a body of evidence to bring it into the consensus, but that's not a reason to dismiss it.

The hypothesis should not be discarded simply because it makes us uncomfortable.


Comfort has nothing to do with it. I'm objecting because I would like to understand why plasticity here and not among corals, or grasses, or pine trees. By the logic presented, speciation should be generally forbidden by reproductive barriers alone, and gene differences of relatively large encumbrances are no wall to this.

So why no gray goo? Why no mass of intermediate pine species? Why do I have different grass species in my yard?
Urgelt
3 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2013
The plasticity of animal genomes is well-documented.

This particular hypothetical cross doesn't yet have a body of evidence to bring it into the consensus, but that's not a reason to dismiss it.

The hypothesis should not be discarded simply because it makes us uncomfortable.
Gmr
2 / 5 (16) Jul 26, 2013
Gmr The monster hybrids as you call them are low in number simply because a wide cross is less likely to produce a living offspring, reproductively fertile or not, than the in-species unions. So in-species offspring vastly outnumber outcross F1. That prevents your gray goo scenario.


It also occurs to me, if this is the counter-assertion to gray goo, that a single chimp-pig cross would be unlikely to result in viable offspring, if most events are not successful. It must have been some industrious chimps vehemently in pursuit of occasionally-in-oestrus sows, for quite a while. A not-uncommon event as it were - something likely to occur at a frequency that would overcome the species barrier presented between corals to hybrids, which apparently makes those quite rare, making it even more unlikely in the case of pig and chimp to result from a single or even a host of events.
dan42day
2.2 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
Perhaps we should start screwing pigs. Who knows? Perhaps someone will spawn a viable hybrid offspring that will have an intelligence as far above our own as we are above chimps.

In today's political climate it will be exploited and sensationalized by the media as a freak. It may have disturbing features, but people will feel sorry for it, and perhaps a little guilty for being part of mankind having created it. Groups will spring up to support and protect it, as all the while it steadily plots how to use it's superior intellect to take over control of the world.

It would certainly be cool if it thought of you as "dad". Anyway, if the news media catches you screwing the pig, you'll probably make the national news. Especially if you tell them why.
Gmr
1.6 / 5 (14) Jul 26, 2013
Anyway, if the news media catches you screwing the pig, you'll probably make the national news. Especially if you tell them why.


For Science!
FainAvis
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
Gmr I do not play lotto. That is because the odds are against me winning. But at each draw someone does win.

Seriously, I do not know why you are so persistent yet with nothing to offer by way of alternative.

What makes it important to you that McCarthy is headed off at the pass? You feel that he is on the wrong track? I get that. What skin off your snout is it that he makes an idiot of himself? If you are so confident that you are right why not sit back and have a laugh when he bruises his ego?

We who support the hybridisation and stabilisation theory have made our position known. We offer to help you understand, but you reject our help. That is OK. I reject your position too. This venue cannot resolve the issues between us. Only hard diligent science can do that. McCarthy knows that. He has offered a very detailed explication. You clearly have either not read it or disagree.

So, I agree to disagree if you in your next post say, "I agree to disagree."

Go in peace.

Requiem
2 / 5 (16) Jul 26, 2013
Yep, this is junk "science" for exactly all of the reasons Gmr has been discussing. And it's pathetic how McCarthy has his crew of sockpuppets here voting, especially given the scope. Wow, 10 votes! On a comments section that is usually just an echo chamber for the same ~25 people.

Those of us that actually read the comments here regularly can see plain as day that there is in fact some "cult" BS going on with the voting just going by volume, and also understand how truly pathetic it is that you'd attempt to leverage such a pitiful amount of votes to lend credence to your crank crap. I never even bother voting here because it's inconsequential and because it's really telling.

Did I say pathetic yet?

Pathetic.

VOTE ME DOWN GUYS, MAYBE IF YOU CAN GET LIKE 12 OF THEM I'LL BE WRONG!

Lol.
Requiem
2.1 / 5 (15) Jul 26, 2013
I'd like to clarify that I am in no way rejecting this idea or the anecdotal work done thus far on the trait comparison out of hand, and I wouldn't have even commented on this(I didn't comment on the first one) if not for McCarthy and his cult themselves convincing me of their crank status. Hell, this entire new piece is in a very telling vein.

If it walks like a crank,
if it talks like a crank,
it's obviously a pig-chimp hybrid.
FainAvis
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
Requiem So you think it is all BS. Yep I get that. Have a nice day.
Requiem
1.6 / 5 (14) Jul 26, 2013
No, but I will say that it seems obvious that you cannot read and comprehend. Because I just stated the exact opposite, and you clearly were unable to comprehend Gmr's points previously.

If somebody does the actual work and proves this, rather than performing a "study" that I can imagine a first-grade schoolteacher leading her class in which would result in a similar number of outlying similarities, I won't be surprised one bit. But only cranks engage in this sort of self-aggrandizing of their non-disprovable grant fodder.
Yarwqd
3.2 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
Across many fields of modern scientific research there are certain ideas which are dismissed with the label "crank" or "quack" or "woo-woo". This is what passes for intelligent debate these days. A depressing situation.

I'd suggest if an idea is truly off-track, there is no-need to argue against it, as it will eventually fizzle out of its own accord for the simple reason that it bears no fruit. Perhaps those who feel the need to fight so vocally and energetically against new ideas do so because they recognise at least some possibility that the idea could be right - and cannot bear the thought of having to re-arrange their existing world-view.
Requiem
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
Oh yes, you're so enlightened. Good for you buddy. I'm sure you think that's great. Not only do you get to think that you see things in a broader sense than others, but you also get to think that others are worse than you in some way, and even pity them from the looks of it. I remember thinking like you when I was like 20 and still had something to prove, then I became less ignorant about the workings of the world around me.

Yet another person who has absolutely no understanding of the extremely simple premise which is the cornerstone of science. If you had actually read any of the things Gmr wrote, you'd understand what the problem here is. I really don't want to re-iterate but I think that I can condense the basic concept down to the fact that MANY things COULD be possible, but that premise is entire useless for science.

And let's not ignore the fact that the entire point of this "article" was for this fool to fire a shot across the bow to his detractors. What did he expect?
Requiem
1.7 / 5 (12) Jul 26, 2013
Also, I do hope that you realize how insanely cliche(and completely pointless) it is for an ignorant person to go off on the "Like, how do you know, maaan? Open your miiiiind." bullshit. "What are you afraid of, CHANGE?" Get real dude. The entire world isn't rain man. It's pretty obvious where you fall in the spectrum, though. Somewhere between a lib arts student and an occupy bum.(Not that I disagree with that particular gripe, but those idiots out in the streets were laughable)

Sorry, some of us actually care about accomplishments and advancements, not sitting back and stroking it over how amazing our world-view is. And I'm just here to call this spade a spade, having been motivated to do so by the above fiasco, which is also amazingly cliche, but in a different, more cranky way.
Yarwqd
2.2 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
Another ad-hominem. Highly creative.

What is very clear, looking across the various other fields is that the only way to successfully ignore some of the more powerful new ideas is to avoid looking at the evidence, and avoid listening to the arguments.

As for the current topic - let it rise or fall on its own merits.
Requiem
1.9 / 5 (13) Jul 26, 2013
Yes, evidence... Where was that again?

I can present the fact that when I actuate the switch on my wall it creates light as "evidence" for the switch creating the light. This would be called being a crank in lieu of actual work, predictions, an experiment with which it could be disproven, and possibly a list of ideas which it invalidates.

Do you understand yet?
Requiem
2 / 5 (12) Jul 26, 2013
Oh and hey while I've got you here, will you please provide me with your enlightened "theory" on why this crank chose this avenue for discourse rather than peer review?

You seem to have missed the entire context here.

1)"Scientist" makes disprovable claim via non peer-reviewed avenue to try to stir up interest for grant money.
2)People tear it to shreds because it's not science, by definition.
3)"Scientist" comes back with a confrontational piece and wants to argue the point.
4)"Scientist" gets what he asked for.

But no, us squares are just attacking in a vacuum and being obtuse, because if this was true it would shake us to the core. Ok pal.

Edit - Also, what "merits?" It has none, by definition, in the world of science. It has the same merits as my observation that the light switch creates light.
Gmr
1.9 / 5 (14) Jul 26, 2013
Fainavis, et al

I am about the scientific process, and that is why I stepped into this echo chamber.

This conjecture is not science in its current state, and I think it important to engage in discussion to either bring it to the level of an hypothesis, or gain admission that it is not yet ready for this kind of debate and dissection.

No mechanism has been proposed to allow some hybrids and not others. No proposals for differential criteria. Ergo, it is important to distinguish this conjecture from an hypothesis.

There is ample mobilization here for this on physics topics, but I am uncertain if any exists for biological topics.
antialias_physorg
2.5 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
Yep, this is junk "science" for exactly all of the reasons Gmr has been discussing. And it's pathetic how McCarthy has his crew of sockpuppets here voting, especially given the scope. Wow, 10 votes!

Same here. (And most of the voters created since the article came out - go figure...along with the usual bunch of Otto's sockpuppets, of course.)

Seriously: None of us here are active in that particular field of research - an internet comment section is not 'peer review'. So why should he give 2 cents worth what is said here? That he does is rather revealing (only cranks care what the public thinks instead of getting their science right. Correctness of science is not decided by popular vote.Only ACCEPTANCE is decided by popular vote of SCIENTISTS IN THE FIELD. But if you value acceptance over correctness then you are missing the most basic drive to be a scientist.)

I'm with Requiem on this one:
It it walks like a crank...
FainAvis
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
Gmr Not for me to say when it is ready, nor you I think. People will already have an opinion one way or another. Some will attempt to prove it. Some to disprove it. Some may make a formal hypothesis that can be tested against the null. You and I arguing will not resolve anything.

Out.
Koolokamba
1.9 / 5 (14) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
Gmr and Requiem: I know you oppose what I'm doing, and you've made it abundantly clear that you think I'm a crank, egoist, non-scientist, etc., but I suppose I really have to thank you. After all, so far as I can tell Physorg uses the number of comments on an article in deciding how prominently to display that article in its various menus. Articles with lots of comments get prominent positioning and therefore more readers. So, ironically, you two have done more to get the word out about this alternative hypothesis of mine than any other commenters on this page. I've got a good feeling about that. ;-) So thanks, especially you, Gmr, because you seem to have stayed up all night selflessly commenting while I slept. That must have been quite tiring.
montechiari
2.3 / 5 (9) Jul 26, 2013
There were some good points made on the last comments about the nature of the scientific inquiry. And when I made my comment before I may have failed to make myself clear. But I'll try again: Making a website and trying to get publicity is not the way to get your point across. The formalities on science are there for a reason. And suspended belief until someone offers a peer reviewed paper is healthy. By the way, McCarthy just admitted he is craving for attention.
Gmr
2.1 / 5 (14) Jul 26, 2013
Dr. McCarthy:

An hypothesis is an idea you can test.

I learned this much from "Dinosaur Train."

Without a definitive testable prediction by you, the author, this does not rise to the level required in a children's show. Buddy would be disappointed.

I do not disagree with your idea. I do have no patience for dodging the responsibility of providing a testable prediction.

It keeps me up at night, this hoary realm of definition and seeking knowledge.
Gmr
2.1 / 5 (15) Jul 26, 2013
By the by, there is no need to thank me. I have every confidence the new loyalists would have kept this echo chamber filled with admiring comments and incestuous attaboys, not to pun on backcrossing.
grondilu
5 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2013
Can someone remind me how you could disprove that chimps and humans have a common ancestor? And that this common ancestor is the most recent common ancestor of humans with any other lifeform?
Moebius
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
If a biological experiment can be done, it will be done somewhere, sometime. Ethics change and don't even exist everywhere. When hybrids are possible, someone will create them.

There are even more disturbing experiments coming. Nerve regeneration is inevitable. When it's perfected it will only be a matter of time before an experiment removes half of someones brain and transplants it. It could go in an empty head or added to someones else's existing half brain (there are plenty of half wits for this). Either way it raises some questions that no one has thought of yet. One reason I'm sure we weren't designed by god IS the fact that our brain has 2 separate hemispheres. Why would the designer of the container of the soul make it in 2 pieces that can be separated?
Gmr
1.3 / 5 (12) Jul 26, 2013
Can someone remind me how you could disprove that chimps and humans have a common ancestor? And that this common ancestor is the most recent common ancestor of humans with any other lifeform?


Genetic analysis for one. You could look for /de novo/ elements in the genome that have no apparently modifiable or modified codons from which they derive in the chimpanzee. They should stick out like a sore thumb.
Koolokamba
1.3 / 5 (12) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
Gmr and monteciari: Your comments begin to strike me as hypocritical. You act as if it is something terrible for me to promote my own ideas, as if the typical scientist worked in modest solitude and cared not whether his or her ideas ever saw the light of day. If that was ever the case, which I doubt, you know it's not true today. Today, scientists lie awake plotting how they can get attention for their research. They tweet about their labs and count up the times their papers are cited. They regularly have their university's media department write up press releases about their findings and then publish them in automated feeds like Eurekalert. I've seen national academy members practically wet their pants over mentions in local newspaper. So am I happy my ideas are getting attention? Yes, I'd be hypocritical to deny it. So I don't see why you're singling me out—Is it simply the particular ideas I'm promoting?
Gmr
2.1 / 5 (14) Jul 26, 2013
Dr. McCarthy:
As a scientist, you are in a unique position to understand the working of ideas.

An idea is proposed - it doesnt get beyond conjecture until a definitive criterium is identified that would invalidate the idea. If it passes this it becomes a working hypothesis.

As a non academic, I do not appreciate either the apparent shirking of this responsibility by one who should know better, or the appearance of abuse of authority in promoting an unsupported idea as if it had merit absent any supporting differential criteria.

If I have unsupported ideas, I do not have the advantage of standing on academic achievement in promoting them.
Koolokamba
1.9 / 5 (13) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
Gmr: Thanks for granting that I am a scientist, and it's even more generous for you to admit that you are not. And you even suggest that I have authority. There, I beg to differ. I'm a guy who has a rather small reputation as a scientist and who has spent most of the last 30 years deep in the stacks at the back of the science library--so much for authority. But so what? I agree with R.S. Crane: "There is no authority but evidence." And that's what I've been gathering for 30 years—evidence. What you don't seem to realize is that science is an ongoing process. You come up with a hypothesis. You investigate it. If the evidence is inconsistent, you throw it out and get another. If not, you look at it some more, by whatever means seem best. That's what I've been doing for three decades. And recently I decided to get my findings out before I kicked the bucket. But that's not saying I'm not going to investigate it further (see "in silico chromosome painting" above).
grondilu
5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2013
to be removed, please.
JohnGee
2 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
Gmr and Requiem: I know you oppose what I'm doing, and you've made it abundantly clear that you think I'm a crank, egoist, non-scientist, etc., but I suppose I really have to thank you. After all, so far as I can tell Physorg uses the number of comments on an article in deciding how prominently to display that article in its various menus. Articles with lots of comments get prominent positioning and therefore more readers. So, ironically, you two have done more to get the word out about this alternative hypothesis of mine than any other commenters on this page. I've got a good feeling about that. ;-) So thanks, especially you, Gmr, because you seem to have stayed up all night selflessly commenting while I slept. That must have been quite tiring.


LOL!

Keep up the good fight Dr. McCarthy.
Koolokamba
1 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2013
JohnGee: Thanks. I'll try. LOL indeed!
grondilu
5 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy, if it's really you, I think you need to focus on searching a genetic way to support your hypothesis. Or make experiments on inter-ordinal hybridization. You don't have to go through a full gestation. Just an embryo would be enough. Obviously people will not be contend with just comparative anatomy studies. Not only they won't believe your hypothesis is true (that would be fair enough), but they'll also believe your method is not scientific (despite the fact that it used to be the standard method of naturalists before genetics came out). I've just read the wikipedia article on scientific method, where it is said that it is "a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses." You've got the first parts right with your rigorous observations of primates and pigs anatomies, but you have to work on the test part.
Telekinetic
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
This hybrid stuff is old hat already-

http://www.youtub...TI4vXQEQ

Gmr
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
Dr. McCarthy :
I do not doubt the amount of time and effort put into this. Nor do I doubt your other assertions regarding standing and so on.

However, research does not conclude with finding apparently supporting evidence. Refuting evidence must also be considered, or the idea will never stand on its own, always requiring the crutch of personal champions.

Consider plate tectonics. The theory in its nascent stages simply considered continental shape and apparently contiguous fossil strata in sedimentary rock. The implications of it eventually explained and predicted a great many more things.

Step back and ask whether it answers existing theory, not just the holes.
walm
not rated yet Jul 26, 2013
grondilu, that sort of test would never make it past an ethics committee
grondilu
3 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2013
Pigs are among the most common domestic animals in the world. And chimps are quite easy to find, quite docile in laboratories and all... So making artificial insemination should not be too hard. Or maybe in vitro fertilization. I don't know how many failures would be conclusive, but it sure would be better than zero attempt.

Can't someone please try this?? For the love of science?
Koolokamba
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
Gmr and grondilu: Sheesh! I said in the article, and repeatedly in these comments, and also on the website, that one of the most discriminating tests, in my opinion, would be via in silico chromosome painting (see above). So why do you continue to bring this up? I think I've mentioned this three times on this page already.
montechiari
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2013
I do not oppose to your idea, neither to your drive for acceptance. I just think you should get a published paper on it first. Shouldn't be hard after 30 years of research. I wonder why haven't we heard from this in a major science journal yet. And, since I am talking directly to you, I looked for information about your formation on the website and could't find any, do you have a curriculum somewhere? I'd like to see it. See ya.
Koolokamba
1 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: As to attempts to produce this hybrid, I'm against it on ethical grounds. If you want to know why, read my kindle novel, The Department (http://www.amazon...1JJED0), which includes an F1 hybrid as a main character. (Hey, I was just getting that URL and saw it's now #87 in the category Satire on Amazon. Not to shabby, huh?) Anyway, there may also be some practical problems with this approach. In particular, some strange crosses can require a lot of inseminations before you get a single hybrid. For example, in one study that I remember they inseminated hens with capercaillie semen 1028 times and only got three hybrids that reached maturity. It's subjective, but I'd say a pig and an ape are more distinct than a chicken and a capercaillie, so the number of inseminations might be pretty high. Then again, who knows? You're right. No one has tried it. Maybe it would be easy. But if what I'm suggesting is right, the F1 hybrid wouldn't be human.
grondilu
4 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
Gmr and grondilu: Sheesh! I said in the article, and repeatedly in these comments, and also on the website, that one of the most discriminating tests, in my opinion, would be via in silico chromosome painting (see above). So why do you continue to bring this up? I think I've mentioned this three times on this page already.


First because I don't know what silico chromosome painting is. Second: because you said during the podcast that backcrossing might very well have made this method inefficient.
grondilu
5 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2013
Then again, who knows? You're right. No one has tried it. Maybe it would be easy. But if what I'm suggesting is right, the F1 hybrid wouldn't be human.


I understand very well that a F1 hybrid wouldn't be human. The thing is that hybridization between two species of a different order has never ever been seen as far as I know, at least in the animal kingdom, and that is the major reason why people can't accept your hypothesis as being plausible.

So if you could show even just an embryo of such an hybrid, it would erase the major obstacle to the acceptance of your theory.
Koolokamba
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: "In silico chromosome painting" is a powerful new technique that creates a picture of a chromosome (or set of chromosomes) that's color-coded to show where nucleotide sequence similarity to a set of query sequences exists. So in this case, you would have pictures of human chromosomes on your computer screen and you would feed in millions of randomly selected pig and chimpanzee sequences. Wherever a pig sequence found its best match in the human genome, the picture of the chromosome at that position would turn, say, red. Wherever a chimp sequence found its best match, the chromosome would turn, say, blue. If you found even one red block where all the sequences were more similar to pig than chimpanzee, it would be strong evidence in support of the hypothesis, if you just saw a lot of bluish purple, it would tend to reject the hypothesis. But as you say, and as I said in the podcast, if there has been a whole lot of backcrossing this approach might reveal nothing.
grondilu
5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2013
About the number of attempts that would be necessary: it might possible to make an estimation. If we assume that a fertilization happened at least once, and if we use knowledge of mating habits and population density estimations during the last few million years, we can make a rough estimate on the number of times mating occurred between chimps and pigs. Then we should be able to use statistics in order to infer the number of in vitro attempts necessary to have good chances of getting at least one fertilized egg.

It could be a lot indeed. I mean, even if one mating happened every year during six million years, if it resulted in a F1 cross only once, that would be that the interfertility rate would be 1 out of 6e6, and we would need millions of attempts to get a fertilized eggs. That would be very impractical with current technology.
Smithder
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
@Gmr

You have made a good point regarding 'Grey Goo'.

Here are two observations you might like to comment on.

Now you see it.

About fifteen years ago, I collected around 20 acorns and planted them. They all germinated, but a dozen of them failed to take and died in their first year. The remaining eight I planted into my spinney where they have continued to grow.

They are all 'Oaks' in that they have an oak shaped leaf, they all sport pronounced medullary rays and they all make acorns. But that is where any similarity ends. Some are small (the smallest is still only 15ft tall), while one towers above the rest (no, they do not shade one another), the branch angles range from 70 degrees to ca 20 degrees, and bud break differs by four weeks between the earliest and the latest. One is beset with oak galls while one is immune and another is attacked by mouldy leaves, yet does not loose its leaves until way into the autumn.

They are Oaks, but they certainly are oakey grey goo.
Smithder
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
@Gmr cont.

Now you don't

The fossil record has so far divulged four Homo members taking and loosing their place on this planet in the last half million years, and of course us. Five extremely rare events.

If we presume the hybridisation theory to be true, then this extreme rarity suggests either an infrequently occurring hybridisation zone, improbable circumstances leading to mating, very low fertility due to the extreme nature of the cross, very low fertility of the F1 hybrid, and doubtless other limiting factors not yet considered.

Very rare indeed at only five successful outcomes in half a million years - hardly grey goo - just opportunity, persistence and lots and lots of time...
Claudius
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013


First because I don't know what silico chromosome painting is.


Fluorescence in situ hybridization (Redirected from Chromosome painting) http://en.wikiped...painting
Koolokamba
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here:
grondilu: I think you should say "why SOME people can't accept your hypothesis as being plausible" (because there are a lot now who do). But you are raising here an objection ("that hybridization between two species of a different order has never ever been seen") that has already been covered in the article and comments above. Search this page for references to platypus and read all that's said there and I think you may be satisfied. Also look at the reports about various strange (some of them VERY strange) hybrids compiled on my website (http://www.macroe...ds.html).]http://www.macroe...s.html).[/url] For example, (on this page: http://www.macroe...ds.html) I document that there is a specimen of a putative horse-cow hybrid in a the French national veterinary museum. That specimen is presumably an F1, and so would be a cakewalk to test genetically. That would be not an embryo from an interordinal cross, but an actual mature organism. ;-)
Koolokamba
1 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
Claudius: Thanks, but fluorescence in situ hybridization is not what I'm talking about. That's an actual chemical technique that you do in the laboratory. People have been doing that for something like thirty years. What I'm referring to is a new computer equivalent of that process.
Smithder
1.4 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
@grondilu

"The thing is that hybridization between two species of a different order has never ever been seen as far as I know, at least in the animal kingdom, and that is the major reason why people can't accept your hypothesis as being plausible."

Look in the mirror, and what do you see?

In reality, the major reason why people can't accept the McCarthy hypothesis as being plausible, is preconception and the inability to explore challenging new theories.

Instead of just dismissing the theory, challenge it. If the theory is true, then...
Koolokamba
1 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here:
Smithder (@grondilu): "Look in the mirror, and what do you see?"

LOL! What indeed!
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
Don't get me wrong, your posts are very entertaining. But have you actually ever been around pigs?
Yeah. They smell dont they?
Do you really think they follow irrational orders, or that they herd well, mate on command, or any of those other things you attribute to them?
They are domesticated. As such they have been selected for varying amounts of all these traits, just like us. They dont fear humans. They can be taught to do tricks. Just like us.

You can herd cats from behind with a long pole and a fish at the end of it. No animal likes living in a pen but pigs will do it willingly yes? These pigs seem pretty compliant
http://www.youtub...0U6VhJn8
My family has raised hogs my entire life, and I literally laughed out loud when I read your descriptions.
Hey thanks. So tell me what else domesticated pigs can do that distinguishes them from their wild counterparts. Do they respond when called by name? Do they exhibit shame when admonished, like a dog?
UKMervSanders
3.7 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2013
Just got back on-line to see if any follow-up to my comments last night! Boy was I surprised there is still this much interest. I do not know if I was included in the ad hominem attacks against anyone leaving favourable comments in support of Dr McCarthy, but I find it offensive to be considered as anyone's glove puppet. In fact the perpetrator of that remark, although claiming to have done his background research into this article, leaves his own integrity open to question.
Surely the hypothesis is male pig x female chimp? That would seem quite easy to understand.
References to male chimp/female pig seems analogous with MFAP. Hmmm. I would rather be associated with Dr McCarthy, thanks! But I am drawn to the hypothesis quite simply on the basis it explains human's poor fertility, and if you read the detail, why humans suffer painful childbirth compared to the rapidity of childbirth amongst the other primates. And then I read on and was intrigued ...
antialias_physorg
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
Instead of just dismissing the theory, challenge it.

Erm..that's not how science works.

Science works like this:
You make a theory
You provide a way to test that theory (notice: YOU).

Otherwise your arguments boil down to the equivalent of: "God did it - prove me wrong". And even you might see that that doesn't work in science.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (12) Jul 26, 2013
Otto's sockpuppets, of course.)
Sorry Im not this mcarthy fellow.
It it walks like a crank...
And I suspect that as usual you are too lazy to have actually visited his website before offering an opinion. Tsk tsk.
This is the origin of GhostofOtto's pet idiotic theory of Tribalism
And the source of your crank conspiracy theory is...?
http://rationalwi...o_cranks

No, tribalism is a widely accepted but little explored aspect of human behavior and development.

"...the distinct possibility that chimpanzee-hominid common ancestor already had this lethal male raiding pattern in its behavioral repertoire (e.g., Wrangham, 1999).
These and similar considerations have driven Slurink (1993, 1994) and van der Dennen (1995) to develop a more or less integral scenario of the evolution of hominid/human warfare which emphasizes phylogenetic continuity between humans and nonhuman primates"

-It explains everything from war to you trekkies.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.7 / 5 (12) Jul 26, 2013
Science works like this:
You make a theory
You provide a way to test that theory (notice: YOU)
No, science works in any number of ways. But most often today it is a TEAM effort, involving the collaboration of separate groups, often at different locations, who continuously interact. PPL had separate theory, experimental, and engineering divisions with distinct responsibilities.

Mccarthy lacks the facilities, the resources, or perhaps even the expertise to test his theories.
an internet comment section is not 'peer review'. So why should he give 2 cents worth what is said here
I am assuming he is here for the practice, and to fish for ideas. Didnt omatumr once get an article in physorg?
Gmr
2.3 / 5 (12) Jul 26, 2013
I cant help but notice that the theory has an "out" if "in silico" chromosome painting doesn't strongly support your conjecture. Ergo, this does not provide a test. A real test provides elimination criteria - this, however, does not.

Please provide a positive prediction that would serve to eliminate this theory if tried and result is /is not X ( you provide X).
UKMervSanders
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2013
Before a product gets to the tested stage, particularly if it is a bit wacky, market research is carried out to guage public reaction - and indeed learn if improvements may be made.
It appears to me that this proposition seems so "out there" that even Dr McCarthy feels the need to first test the waters, as it were. Even the greatest (so far) champion of Evolution had to be coerced and swayed to publish, appreciating the potential outcry from those with a fixed mindset.
A geneticist spending 30 years of painstaking research, evident in his manuscripts, would certainly have tested for the DNA fingerprint. He explains there may not necessarily be one to find. How frustrating science can be! Higgs predicted the existence of the boson in 1964, and as technology advanced, it was finally discovered in 2012. Within Higgs lifetime. If Dr McCarthy could predict with some degree of confidence that "as technology advances, it will be found, however minute it may be ...."
Smithder
3 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
@antialias_physorg

Erm... If that is the way you do science, then that is extremely myopic science. The creator of an idea is the very last person you want to trust with challenging it.

The way I have seen good science undertaken is that an idea is put forward, then thousands of people challenge it in every conceivable way from a thousand differing perspectives. The result is a strong well researched foundation. But then, my field is Chemistry, perhaps things are done differently in your field.
grondilu
5 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2013
Instead of just dismissing the theory, challenge it.


I don't dismiss the theory, but I just can't be convinced by merely possibilities. To me the way to challenge this theory would be to try to obtain an hybrid beyond families or genus.

Take the platypus as an example. Some scientists show that they have both mammalian-like and bird-like chromosomes, if I understand correctly. So an hypothesis to explain that would be: platypus are mammals-bird hybrids, to put it bluntly. Although I'm willing to admit it is not *impossible*, I'd like a bit more to be convinced. After all, it may just be because platypus have almost not evolved for a very long time, and are living fossils of a time when birds and mammals were very much alike. To convince me that a platypus has an hybrid origin, show me a living F1 specimen of an hybrid between a bird and a mammal.

It doesn't even have to look like a platypus, as long as it proves me that a bird and a mammal can interbreed.
UKMervSanders
1 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2013
"To convince me that a platypus has an hybrid origin, show me a living F1 specimen of an hybrid between a bird and a mammal.

It doesn't even have to look like a platypus, as long as it proves me that a bird and a mammal can interbreed."

I will leave those more learned than myself to respond seriously to this, but I immediately thought of a bat being a cross between a bird and a rat!

Dug
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 26, 2013
Clearly the good Dr. McCarthy - and his followers - spent far too much time watching Sesame Street as children (and or as adults) and are still in denial regarding their unnatural affections for Miss Piggy. This theory seems to have at least equal scientific basis and even greater probability than his pig/chimp hybrid theory.
grondilu
5 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2013
"To convince me that a platypus has an hybrid origin, show me a living F1 specimen of an hybrid between a bird and a mammal.

It doesn't even have to look like a platypus, as long as it proves me that a bird and a mammal can interbreed."

I will leave those more learned than myself to respond seriously to this, but I immediately thought of a bat being a cross between a bird and a rat!


I meant: make such an hybrid specimen, so that it's easy to verify the hybrid nature via genetics.
UKMervSanders
3 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2013
Oh dear, how many times? The hypothesis is based on Mr Piggy
Smithder
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
Clearly the good Dr. McCarthy - and his followers - spent far too much time watching Sesame Street as children (and or as adults) and are still in denial regarding their unnatural affections for Miss Piggy. This theory seems to have at least equal scientific basis and even greater probability than his pig/chimp hybrid theory.


@Dug -- LOL, Ah yes, the lovely Miss Piggy.

But Dug, please read the detail - Ms Piggy stayed at home with all the other mothers piggy, while young Master Piggy was sent packing from the sound, and found his way into the loving embrace of the sisters Pan, who lovingly raised their love child and who in turn was 'loved' by daddy Pan.

The Devil Dug, is in the detail...
Koolokamba
1 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
Gmr: I think you have an inaccurate idea about science. I don't want to say I'm "THE SCIENTIST," but you've admitted that you are not one. So I'll try to give you some idea of how it works from what I've seen myself: The usual situation is that you have scientists--here I'm thinking about professors of genetics at the University of Georgia--coming up with certain hypotheses early in their careers and they research those hypotheses often for years, or even until death. They usually are able to come up with at least some data to support their position. They try to convince people of their view, often unsuccessfully, but they stick with it, partially because it's their reputation and partly because they're curious. But as far as tests and data, very few are able to muster as much evidence as I'm offering. So I can only say that I invite you to read my arguments and think about them. Because really, no matter how much you test and investigate, questions always remain.
grondilu
not rated yet Jul 26, 2013
to be removed please
montechiari
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2013
Back on the subject of publicity, doctor, we should take Felisa Wolfe-Simon as an example of what careless media attention can do. A lot was put into making the arsenic life a big discovery, it appeared on television and what not, but when it was proved wrong there was not one quick note about it. And we are talking about a published paper, with a practical testable claim. As it was said here on phys.org on the first article about your idea: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. You have to admit that, even though you have put a lot of thought in it, there is still no such evidence. Maybe someday you figure out a way to falsify it, but until that day you should not make a fuss about it. You are doing more harm than good that way. On the last thread I actually saw a guy saying that he just had to wait until evidence supporting this claim showed up, like it was a certainty. Last time I saw such confidence was from a creationist, and that's just not right.
Koolokamba
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
It's Friday evening and this thread will soon draw to a close, but I wanted to address one thing, that is: Is it testable? Yes, of course, it's testable. For example, when I first came up with this idea, I looked up all the different characteristics that distinguish humans from chimpanzees. I looked at that list, which was quite long, and picked out a few traits that I knew suggested pig. But most of the traits I had no idea whether pigs had them or not. But I checked. At that point my hypothesis was that the pig was the other parent in the cross that produced humans. And it could easily have turned out that pigs would not have had all the various traits that distinguish humans from chimpanzees (and other non-human primates). So the hypothesis could have been rejected. But it wasn't. As it turned out, pigs had those traits to an amazingly consistent degree. So it passed the test. But you can always test a hypothesis a little more. There's no end of research.
Gmr
2.3 / 5 (12) Jul 26, 2013
That is not a test. There is no quantitative analysis, no formal definition of a "trait" and no comparable statistical analysis comparing trait counts if an accepted definition existed among individuals, near species, and disparate species.

The plural of anecdote is not data.
Koolokamba
1 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
Many criminals have been tried, convicted and hung without the prosecution resorting to "quantitative or statistical analysis." There are other ways of gaining knowledge. Fingerprints, circumstantial evidence, lack of an alibi, eye witnesses, and many other forms of evidence involve little in the way of analysis, and yet they are taken as guidance in matters of life and death. I have an undergraduate degree in mathematics, but I've figured out many, many things without quantitative or statistical analysis. It's very often, in fact, I would say usually, unnecessary.
Gmr
2.1 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
There is no court in science, no appeal, no jury. It does not depend on making a case to a courtroom. There is only whether or not it has any predictive value.

That is determined by proposing a test which could invalidate the hypothesis.

I note you never extended your analysis to any creatures other than chimp and pig. That argues for stacking the deck, if we are using court standards. You want it to be so, so you find it so.
brianweymes
2.8 / 5 (9) Jul 26, 2013
As any skilled listener might observe, the most important thing in communication is not always hearing what is said, but rather, hearing what isn't said. One thing we have not heard here is objection from those writer-scientists who have any kind of public reputation in the evolutionary sciences.


The vast majority of people here do not have the right educational background to critique Mr. McCarthy's chimp-pig theory, but that doesn't mean we're unable to sense he's full of shit. I have a feeling a molecular geneticist would blow this theory apart, but I guess phys.org is trying to turn its comments section into some sort of peer review for this guy sense he can't get chimp-pig published elsewhere.

I'll leave with Pharyngula's thoughts on Mr. McCarthy and his hybridization theories. http://freethough...olution/
Koolokamba
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
Oink! Oink! Snort! Oink!
Koolokamba
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
"Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't."
Mark Twain
Koolokamba
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
Mark Twain
Thrasymachus
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2013
It's not just about the chromosome count. There are vast morphological differences between pigs and chimpanzees. Everywhere in their DNA a pig's genome says "Do X" where a chimp's genome says "Do Y" the resulting instructions in a proposed F1 hybrid are gonna be a complete scramble. Hybridization doesn't result in something that's halfway between the parents when the instructions conflict. HoovesXHands doesn't result in hoofy-hands, it results in something completely fucked up most of the time, i.e. not viable. The differences between genetic instructions are so large between pigs and chimps, that the odds of getting a viable F1 hybrid are so low that if you tried to produce one every day, you might get one before the heat-death of the universe. Chromosome differences don't really matter. Donkeys and Zebras have different numbers of chromosomes, but they can produce occasionally viable F1 hybrids because the chromosomes they share in common are virtually identical.
Requiem
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
Yes, I'm sure that the closest thing that your crank crap can get to peer review shredding it here, in the comments section which is now much more substantial than your intentionally provocative article, will bode well for you.

Willfully ignorant and/or delusional too! Your skill set continues to amaze. Stay classy buddy.

By the way, the most stupid redneck hick who can't even speak understandable english from the deep South will tell you that it's a well-known fact that pigs are the most anatomically similar animal to a human. So basically that's your groundbreaking observation. You're a joke...
grondilu
4.3 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
I am skeptical about McCarthy's work but I find the contempt about his work totally unfair. To me, the idea that hybridization is currently overlooked by evolutionary theory is very appealing. Also, it's quite clear that there are lots of features in the human anatomy that really stands out in the human anatomy when compared to other great apes. As far as I know, those features are currently more or less of a mystery and McCarthy just proposed one explanation which is coherent with numerous observations. The only problem is that it relies on quite an extraordinary hypothesis: the possibility of a partially fertile hybridization between a primate and an artiodactyle. McCarthy has worked hard on showing that once you admit this possibility, it is quite an efficient way of explaining the oddities of a few human characteristics. But it really begs for some proof. He should show that such a wide cross is possible, not just that it would explain things.
Koolokamba
1.6 / 5 (13) Jul 26, 2013
Homines fere credunt id quod volunt.
(Most men believe to be true what they want to be true.)
Julius Caesar
De Bello Gallico
Requiem
2.3 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
You're mistaking contempt for his work for contempt for the way he is going about this. Although his work is rather pathetic. Based on a well-known premise, and something a child could perform.

You only see us bashing the crank commenters on most articles here, and that's fact. So what's different here?
grondilu
5 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2013
I'd like to add something. When I wrote that he should prove that such a wide cross is possible, I mean that he should do a bit more than collecting centuries-old reports of alleged such cross. That would not be much more than cryptozoology. I think he should produce a F1 specimen in laboratory. I would not accept the ethical excuse, because he does not have to end the gestation. A dead foetus would do.
interrupting cow
3.8 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2013
The way you are going about this Requiem, is putting a bad face on skepticism; use restraint, lose the ad hominems, and stick to putting forth valid arguments, unemotionally. And then commenting about what is and isn't valid science or inquiry might hold more umph.
grondilu
5 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2013
If I was very rich, I would immediately buy a farm where I'd raise pigs and chimps together, and see what happens. For a start, that'd give me a few funny videos to put on YouTube. :-)

(so far I've found a dog humping a pig, a pig humping a dog, and a monkey humping a goat. No pig humping a chimp. I keep hope :-) )
Koolokamba
1.8 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: I almost entirely agree with you (i.e., "McCarthy just proposed one explanation which is coherent with numerous observations. The only problem is that it relies on quite an extraordinary hypothesis"). That's just it--it's a hypothesis, as I say on the website, over and over again. But whether it's extraordinary makes no difference to me. For me, it's just a matter of whether the available evidence is consistent with the hypothesis. ;-)
Koolokamba
1 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: If you're thinking about buying a farm, I think you are already more convinced than I am. But before you really do it, please read my kindle novel. You might think again. ;-)
grondilu
4 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2013
It is an extraordinary hypothesis. You really should try to prove it. If you could create a F1 specimen between a primate and an artiodactyle, thus proving that chimp-pig hybridization is at least conceptually perfectly possible, your theory would be much more solid. And you'd get a Nobel price or something.

Because right now, such an hybridization is considered impossible. It has never been irrefutably seen, neither in history or in biological archives. You need to prove it is not fantasy.
Koolokamba
1 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: I think your longed for experiment already took place. Check this out:

https://www.googl...4dEXPvU0

I don't think those images are from Photoshop.
Requiem
2.1 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: I almost entirely agree with you (i.e., "McCarthy just proposed one explanation which is coherent with numerous observations. The only problem is that it relies on quite an extraordinary hypothesis"). That's just it--it's a hypothesis, as I say on the website, over and over again. But whether it's extraordinary makes no difference to me. For me, it's just a matter of whether the available evidence is consistent with the hypothesis. ;-)


Yes, and there's no problem with simply leaving it at that. Intriguing idea. Maybe a real scientist will become interested and do some real work. You certainly wouldn't be hearing from me on the topic.

That is not what you're doing. With every post on here you show more and more of your true colors(is crank a color?).
Telekinetic
2.2 / 5 (13) Jul 26, 2013
How can I prove that you're a card-carrying Nazi, Ghost? National Socialism = Nazism,yes? So here I quote you from 2012:

"In concert with national socialism it depopulated the continent and ENDED the religious influence on euro politics which had CREATED the chronic conditions of overpopulation and war. It continued throughout Asia, annihilating BOTH nationalist and communist hordes by the millions and replacing the cultures which produced them with a brutal martial law.
Overpop ceased. PEACE REIGNS except where war has been necessary to clean up the fringes. What you see is Progress of the kind which ENDURES."

You're all PIG, no human mixed in at all.
Koolokamba
1 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: I know. It's gross. But, hey, you kept bringing it up. ;-)
Requiem
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 26, 2013
The way you are going about this Requiem, is putting a bad face on skepticism; use restraint, lose the ad hominems, and stick to putting forth valid arguments, unemotionally. And then commenting about what is and isn't valid science or inquiry might hold more umph.


You just don't get it. There is no valid argument against a non-disprovable idea aside from pointing out that the idea itself is not disprovable. It's like trying to make a coherent argument against God. You can't because that idea is invulnerable to such; No matter what you say, the idea can live on. I do believe that you're describing the many pages of Gmr's comments before I decided to start up, because what he was doing obviously wasn't having any effect either. You're being a cliche crank with this whole "ad hominem" line. Seen it more times than I could even attempt to estimate.
Smithder
2.1 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
@Thrasymachus

"HoovesXHands doesn't result in hoofy-hands, it results in something completely fucked up most of the time, i.e. not viable."

What Hooves x Hands F1 hybrids have you seen for you to be able to make such a statement?

Or is this just a personal opinion of a situation you would like to be hte case?

Koolokamba
1 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: Well? What do you think? Is that the kind of hybrid you were looking for?
Requiem
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 26, 2013
Oh my god. It's not a hybrid. It's not even unprecedented and there is a name for it. You can't even spend 5 minutes researching something on the internet before you cite it as more "supporting evidence" for your crank theory, no wonder you do the work of a child and believe it's worthy of attention.
Gmr
1.8 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
I will reiterate. It is not a hypothesis until it includes its own exclusion criteria.

A hypothesis is an idea you can test. This, in its current state, is untestable.

Ergo, it is not a hypothesis. It is conjecture.
Koolokamba
1 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: So what do you think? I won't be able to wait much longer for a response. I'm going out to drink in about 12 minutes. You didn't faint did you?
montechiari
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2013


What Hooves x Hands F1 hybrids have you seen for you to be able to make such a statement?

Or is this just a personal opinion of a situation you would like to be hte case?



You made a point there. None, no hooves x hands F1 hybrids ever.
Koolokamba
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Tennyson
Ulysees
interrupting cow
5 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2013
I'm not sure how I am being a crank, since I'm not saying anything about the theory, I spent the whole podcast questioning it as even a theory; I'm point out to you that repeatedly saying 'crank' is no argument, if your valid arguments are making no headway, then move on. It does you no service to start making logical fallacies, and in a way puts a bad face on any valid arguments you started out with. If you really think saying 'you're a joke!' makes you a rational one in this conversation, you might want to re-examine what your major issue with the whole article has been.
Claudius
2.4 / 5 (14) Jul 26, 2013
Oh my god. It's not a hybrid. It's not even unprecedented and there is a name for it. You can't even spend 5 minutes researching something on the internet before you cite it as more "supporting evidence" for your crank theory, no wonder you do the work of a child and believe it's worthy of attention.


It was sarcasm. Earlier it was humor. Probably from frustration with people who are criticizing his work without actually reading it.
Koolokamba
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 26, 2013
interrupting cow: Thanks for your support, but please don't get mad at the Tar Baby. You'll just get stuck. "Tar Baby don't say nuthin'!" ;-)
grondilu
5 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: Well? What do you think? Is that the kind of hybrid you were looking for?


Be serious please. This is most likely some weird congenital anomaly or something. And anyway, whenever a F1 is produced, it will require a bit more than a photograph to convince people that it is indeed a F1 cross. It will require a genetic analysis, and a peer-reviewed publication.
Claudius
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
interrupting cow: Thanks for your support, but please don't get mad at the Tar Baby. You'll just get stuck. "Tar Baby don't say nuthin'!" ;-)


Blap!
Requiem
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
I'm not sure how I am being a crank, since I'm not saying anything about the theory, I spent the whole podcast questioning it as even a theory; I'm point out to you that repeatedly saying 'crank' is no argument, if your valid arguments are making no headway, then move on. It does you no service to start making logical fallacies, and in a way puts a bad face on any valid arguments you started out with. If you really think saying 'you're a joke!' makes you a rational one in this conversation, you might want to re-examine what your major issue with the whole article has been.


Unless you're attempting to resonate with the same hapless random reader that the crank is, in which case it is usually quite effective. How many networks of websites that saw 50M uniques per month have you grown from the ground up?
Koolokamba
1 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: I thought you might like a laugh. Though, again, I have lots of people sending me photos of that "pig-ape" saying they think it's stupendous. Anyway, I'm going to leave you guys with it. I have to go out and imbibe. After all, it is Friday night. I might look in again late. Bye now. One more thing, grondilu, since you have serious questions about this, you really ought to email me sometime. That way we can talk about in a more depth. But right now it's bottoms up!
Gmr
2.2 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
It is not a hypothesis. It cannot, in its current form, be taken seriously.

Implications are too widespread without further elucidation.
No exclusion criteria exist.
Subjective judgement of appearance trumps genetics and comparative anatomy.
No means is defined for declaring a "trait" as a discrete, definable entity.
Articles are cited without clear understanding of their implications.
There is no prediction model included that accounts for current species diversity and genetics as well as or better than evolutionary theory and common descent.

Objections could continue, but I have to prepare dinner.
interrupting cow
5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2013
I'm at a loss for what you are trying to say... did you do that? Should I be trying to do that? I'm only at the moment trying to get you to see that yelling 'you're a joke' is futile. With the podcast I'm trying, among many things, have a conversation about what is and isn't science. I think that's what you are trying to do as well.
grondilu
5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2013
One more thing, grondilu, since you have serious questions about this, you really ought to email me sometime.


I may, actually. Cheers.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2013
How can I prove that you're a card-carrying Nazi, Ghost?
Uh, steal my wallet?
So here I quote you from 2012
Well I knew you were a fan but I had no idea that you were cataloguing ottos posts. I am so flattered.

I describe how things were, what happened, and how things are now. In addition I give you a plausible explanation for all of it. Is this such a bad thing?

I know people like you and trashy and antialiens prefer pleasant fairy tales and warm fuzzy things but that is apparently not the world we live in.

The world we live in contains evil religions which force women to reproduce until it kills them. And so there must be People in it who have to resort to planning wars so that the results of them wont destroy civilization. Is this my fault? I dont think so but who knows?
You're all PIG
Oink? Hey did you see that pic of tesla? Looks like he spent some time in malthausen himself.

I would tell you about pol pot but you would just think I was a commie so too bad.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (11) Jul 26, 2013
By the way youre way off topic. I suppose the idea that we are all part pig makes you squirm as well. This is related to the way people feel when they hear that we are descended from apes. This doesnt mean that its not true though does it? Er, doesnt it?

The only comfortable things in this world are the things we make up. This is the tragedy of the human condition. No matter, our machine successors will not suffer this affliction. Which is why they are INEVITABLE.
Thrasymachus
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
@Thrasymachus

"HoovesXHands doesn't result in hoofy-hands, it results in something completely fucked up most of the time, i.e. not viable."

What Hooves x Hands F1 hybrids have you seen for you to be able to make such a statement?

Or is this just a personal opinion of a situation you would like to be hte case?


These patterns of hybridization are so well known, they were written about in 1949. See:

Moore, J.A: 1949. Patterns of evolution in the genus Rana. En: Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution. Gepsen, G., Mayr, E. & Simpson, G. (eds). Princeton University Press, pag.: 315-355.

It's not like scientists have no idea what happens when you cross dissimilar species. Hybridization has been studied for a very long time, and is in fact one of the cornerstones of modern agriculture and the Green Revolution.

In other words, McCarthy's idea flies in the face of nearly everything modern science knows about how hybridization works.
Mandan
3.2 / 5 (9) Jul 26, 2013
@ TheGhostofOtto1923

We also raised horses and cattle. Though larger and more powerful than hogs, both are easier to herd and keep penned.. I spent less time around sheep but enough to learn their nature. They live up to their reputation for being absolutely controllable.

But hogs are a thing unto themselves. You almost have to use reverse psychology on them-- make them think you want them to do one thing when you actually want them to do another. They show no shame or guilt-- quite the contrary. They will mercilessly harass any sick or weak individual, and will literally eat each other alive. When in a pen with them repairing the damage they constantly inflict on wood and metal, you have to rhythmically kick one foot backwards and then the other or they will sneak up behind you and bite the crap out of you. They never become depressed, even when suffering from serious physical problems, almost as if oblivious to pain.

Pigs are a trip.

Off topic-- have you read Robert Ardrey?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (14) Jul 26, 2013
These patterns of hybridization are so well known, they were written about in 1949
Ahaahaa a philo is schooling a geneticist. How cute.
It's not like scientists have no idea what happens when you cross dissimilar species. Hybridization has been studied for a very long time
Thats what they said about the dinosaurs. They had feathers did you know it? And stegosauri were pangolins. Ask the good doctor.

I understand that you would prefer that science move at the same pace as classical philosophy. But then that changes every generation doesnt it? You should be used to massive paradigm shifts.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (16) Jul 26, 2013
We also raised horses and cattle....I spent less time around sheep but enough to learn their nature. They live up to their reputation for being absolutely controllable.
Sounds like fun. You still need dogs to herd cattle and sheep though, yes?

And dogs are a lot more manageable than cats. And zebras are entirely undomesticable.

Robert Audrey
"The killer ape theory posits that aggression, a vital factor in hunting prey for food, was a fundamental characteristic which distinguished prehuman ancestors from other primates."

-I wonder if this was before or after goodall and the discoveries of hunting and warfare among primates. There is little difference between hunting and fighting. And after a battle why leave all that good protein for the buzzards?

I think that as soon as we became able to hunt the predators which had kept our numbers in check, the human condition became a distinctly nasty and unnatural affair.
Estevan57
2.7 / 5 (24) Jul 26, 2013
Dogs are not necessary to herd cattle or sheep. They do make it easier though, especially with larger herds. Quads are more fun.

Mandan, you're quite right about pigs, they are eerily smart, and they attack even faster than Otto.
Mandan
3.9 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
TheGhostofOtto1923

No, we do it all from horseback or on foot for cattle. Never had dogs. Some use dogs for sheep, we never did. Horses love to herd cattle. We "break" our horses and train them, but they'll still go wild if left out to pasture too long, as cattle do as compared to when they are in pens.

As for rapid domestication, see 'Nice Rats, Nasty Rats: Maybe It's All in the Genes' http://www.nytime...nted=all

I'm a huge fan of Ardrey. He made basic mistakes of chronology and violated his own ideas in a couple of instances, but I think he is spot on in most respects. I've read 'African Genesis', 'The Social Contract', and 'The Territorial Imperative', but not 'The Hunting Hypothesis' which ironically is the one for which most like Pinker and Dawkins hold him in dishonor. I respect Pinker but his latest book is bunk. And Ardrey's Social Contract did everything 'The Blank Slate' did but 40 years earlier.

Ardrey's pre-Goodall, BTW
Mandan
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
Estevan57

As I told Otto, we still use horses for our cattle, at least when they are out on pasture. They are expensive to feed but we are traditionalists. They don't tear up or compact the pasture like quads can. Our lots are well-designed and laid out to take advantage of their behavioral tendencies so when they are off pasture it is easy to walk the pens on foot, remove and doctor sick ones, etc.

We even use non-hydraulic squeeze chutes-- all ropes and levers, since the old days. But we are a small family operation.

As I get older, I am fearing more and more the possibility of collapsing some day in a pen of pigs. Loss of consciousness would get very ugly within five minutes. Something of a frenzy, I'm afraid. I consider them the psychopaths of domesticated animals. And like fanatics, they are more dangerous in numbers.
Gmr
2.3 / 5 (12) Jul 26, 2013
Mandan
My mother used to tell me a story -lived on a tiny family farm - about having to keep collecting piglets in the morning, since they seemed to find a way out of their pen sometime during the night, despite it having an electrified wire right about their height which should keep them in.

One morning she gets out there at four or so, and they're all still penned. The lot of them start to jostle, and line up in the pen on the far side from one of the wires - and in unison start squealing full out as they charge the wire. She said it was like they knew it was going to hurt and started screaming in advance. But they all shot through, out into the yard...
Telekinetic
2.3 / 5 (15) Jul 27, 2013
Don't flatter yourself, Ghost. I quote you because I can remember verbal exchanges from years ago. I have a keen memory since I don't take pharmaceuticals to blur it- you should try it some time. On the other hand...
And why would I squirm at the thought of possible pig predecessors? Here's a quote of my own:

Telekinetic 2.7 / 5 (14) Jul 03, 2013

"While this idea is repulsive and almost depressing..."- Xylos21


"Why is it so repulsive? Pigs are extremely intelligent animals as are chimps. Pigs respond to affection and verbal commands when raised as pets. Their behavior in pens, an unnatural environment, is no indication of their nature. Modern humans exhibit similar behavior when forced into crowded and competitive. I now have another reason not to eat them- it may be construed as cannibalistic."-Telekinetic
You also reverse-engineer genocidal history as a narrative to your psychotic fantasies. It's the worst type of revisionism.
Mandan
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 27, 2013
Gmr

I believe it. They're master escape artists, very competitive, and will imitate what they see others do.

But there's a limit to their intelligence. Very simple designs can be used on gates, for instance, and they'll never figure them out. Much of what they succeed in doing is because they are always doing something. They never quit rooting and chewing on things, and sooner or later something they do is bound to have a novel result, just like drawing cards from a deck will eventually result in a royal flush.
Mandan
2.7 / 5 (7) Jul 27, 2013
Gmr-- I don't know what happened there. I was giving you a five right as I submitted my last comment and it came up a 1. It won't let me take it back. Sorry, but I guess the way certain people are going around here dropping ones on others it doesn't make much difference.

Personally, I don't much care what my rating is-- it's meaningless under the conditions that obtain here anyway.
Gmr
2.1 / 5 (9) Jul 27, 2013
Mandan, no worries. Like you say on this thread under these conditions. I did enjoy your posts about your experiences with pigs - it's great to hear firsthand accounts. There are a lot of preconceived notions about animal behavior that tend to fall apart on first encounters. We figured out at the local zoo the secret to flamingo breeding - pack 'em in like sardines. They figure if they're really close together, they've got one of the better, central nesting spots.

Used to be asked by kids when I volunteered if a given animal bites.

My response was always "Does it have a mouth?"
jsdarkdestruction
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 27, 2013
Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Tennyson
Ulysees

you remind me of oliver k manuel, you get in a bind and start throwing out random quotes as if they make up for you not answering or addressing the previous posts. maybe you too should talk. just be careful, he likes children, his own, sexually, to be specific.
FainAvis
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 27, 2013
Jsdarkdestruction If you read McCarthy's website you will see that before every chapter he puts in these little verses. Some have expressed doubts that the McCarthy posting here may not be the real one. This kind of poetry is his seal.
UKMervSanders
3 / 5 (6) Jul 27, 2013
A new day, a new beginning.
The basis of this - i shall use the word conjecture if it sits more comfortably with some - are:
1. Animals from different "species" are able to mate and have viable offspring.
2. The physiological/anatomical differences between humans and other primates are indicative of human being a backcross between primates and another "species".
3. The physiological/anatomical similarities between pigs and humans are indicative of pig being that other parent
4. The DNA evidence for such may not still be present, or at least has not yet been found.

I for one am looking forward to the next Interrupting cow podcast in which hopefully these issues will be discussed sensibly without the personal attacks on Dr McCarthy and those like myself who are intrigued by the possibility.

Serious objectors to this conjecture may first wish to read this http://www.earth....ct01.pdf
antialias_physorg
2.8 / 5 (9) Jul 27, 2013
Erm... If that is the way you do science, then that is extremely myopic science. The creator of an idea is the very last person you want to trust with challenging it.

But that's the way it works. You challenge your own ideas. Then you present methods, materials and results of that challenge for peer review (and the peers look at it and jufdge whether what you did is good enough to substantiate the theory).
What you DON'T do is say: "Here's an idea. I pronounce it correct until someone else proves it wrong."
That's not how serious science is done. That's how crank science (and religion) is done.
UKMervSanders
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 27, 2013
hmmm

I know this last remark was picking up on a previous point in the thread and not directed at me, but as indicated in the link I sent in my previous comment above, similar accusations were made against Darwin and his Theory, and look where it got that crank. I know it is not scientifically appropriate to quote Wikipaedia, so with apologies for that, "a "Crank" is a pejorative term used for a person who holds an unshakable belief that most of his or her contemporaries consider to be false." A crank is "also a term used in mechanical engineering, a bent portion of an axle, or shaft, or an arm keyed at right angles to the end of a shaft, by which motion is imparted to or received from it". That crank Galileo, whose evidence was rejected by mainstream science in his day, was left muttering "But it still moves!"

Really sorry I cannot enjoy any follow-up as now off to a BBQ (hope its not pork ribs).
menssana216
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 27, 2013
IMO
The pig-ape hybrid origins of humankind is an hypothesis
The evidence is observational and therefore circumstantial
It has an internal consistency with considerable explanatory power
And it is testable, albeit in a way repugnant (to me)
My understanding from reading Popper is that potential refutability is the sine qua non of a scientific hypothesis (whether it is right is another matter)
Why is it being replaced by the word conjecture
It seems to be semantic manipulation for the purpose of political point-scoring
Like most of the arguments against the hypothesis it is emotive, full of ego and entrenched,
not to mention the ill-informed ad hominem attacks
At one stage Popper labelled Darwinian evolution non-scientifc, calling it a Metaphysical Research Program (though I believe he changed his opinion before he died)
Hybridisation and Stabilisation Theory has more scientific weight than Darwin's and should attract favourable attention from scientists who see those weaknesses
Gmr
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 27, 2013
UKMervSanders:
Darwin was no crank. Part of what Darwin did, in his book, if people choose to read it, is put together a supposition, then explore the consequences of it, if it were true, and discuss what would cause it to also not be true. Falsification, or a way to discount or show the idea was false, is present through the entire book. Concerning to him was that he could not identify a specific mechanism or pattern to germ plasm. That self-doubt is a quality absent in crank science.

menssana216:
It is not semantic manipulation to call this conjecture. It is establishment that this currently has no means of falsification, ergo it cannot be an hypothesis. This conjecture has no "weight" other than volume. A large volume of air is still air. Your assertions are similarly baseless and ad-hominem: "political";"ego,";"emotive";"entrenched."
Koolokamba
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 27, 2013
This is from Inherit the Wind (Does anyone see any parallels?):

Brady: I'll tell you what he's trying to do. He's trying to destroy everybody's belief in the Bible and in God!

Drummond: That's not true and you know it. The Bible is a book. It's a good book. But it is not the only book.

Brady: It is the revealed Word of the Almighty God spake to the men who wrote the Bible.

Drummond: How do you know that God didn't spake to Charles Darwin?

Brady: I know because God tells me to oppose the evil teachings of that man!

Drummond: Oh, God speaks to you?

Brady: Yes!

Drummond: He tells you what is right and wrong?

Brady: Yes!

Drummond: And you act accordingly?!

Brady: Yes!!

Drummond: So, you, Matthew Harrison Brady, through oratory or legislature or whatever, you pass on God's orders to the rest of the world! Well, meet the Prophet from Nebraska! Is that the way of things?! Is that the way of things?! God tells Brady what is good! To be against Brady is to be against God!
Gmr
2.6 / 5 (10) Jul 27, 2013
you remind me of oliver k manuel, you get in a bind and start throwing out random quotes as if they make up for you not answering or addressing the previous posts. maybe you too should talk. just be careful, he likes children, his own, sexually, to be specific.


There are things to address about this. The authors dodging of falsification, the assertion that some tests won't falsify it, but will prove it if true, the lack of consistency, the mobilization of crowds instead of evidence and testable prediction.

This, however; equating or somehow associating the author with child molestation by baseless association, is truly vile, and completely beyond the pale.
Gmr
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 27, 2013
Dr. McCarthy:
To nail yourself upon a cross is not becoming either. Reveling in opposition in preface to intellectual martyrdom is another feature of crank scientists, just so it's made known. Equating one's own opposition to perceived parallels from the past does not address the current discussion of shortcomings and attempting to arrive at consensus on mechanisms and testable prediction.
Koolokamba
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 27, 2013
McCarthy here.
Gmr: Come now, I don't exactly feel like a martyr today. I'm laughing. A bird's singing outside the window. In fact, I'm actually having fun with all of this. Moreover, if you'll take the time to think carefully about it, I think you'll realize the parallel wasn't about me (you must not have seen that movie). But I do thank you for your observation that accusations of child molestation are a bit more than impolite. It shows you're still in the category of someone I might consider inviting over to dinner. ;-)
Gmr
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 27, 2013
Just to be perfectly clear:
Rejection of an idea by the mainstream does not equate with greatness.
Having an unusual idea does not make one Darwin or Galileo. What sets one apart is being willing to provide a test or circumstances under which the idea can be shown to be incorrect.
Going against the mainstream is not a crime. Being unwilling to accept evidence or the potential of being incorrect puts one out of Darwin and Galileo's camp.
Claudius
1.7 / 5 (12) Jul 27, 2013
Just to be perfectly clear:
Rejection of an idea by the mainstream does not equate with greatness.
Having an unusual idea does not make one Darwin or Galileo. What sets one apart is being willing to provide a test or circumstances under which the idea can be shown to be incorrect.
Going against the mainstream is not a crime. Being unwilling to accept evidence or the potential of being incorrect puts one out of Darwin and Galileo's camp.


I hope you realize that Darwin faced enormous criticism from the scientists of the day. These critics raised objections remarkably similar to your own.
Gmr
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 27, 2013
I hope you realize that Darwin faced enormous criticism from the scientists of the day. These critics raised objections remarkably similar to your own.

Anyone in biology at all is familiar with Darwin's story. My criticism is not near those objections. In Darwin's time, the idea of massive geological age was more accepted - the idea that mutation occurs was not unknown. What Darwin proposed was that the environment can substitute for an astute breeder, and that this might be sufficient to explain most if not all variation in life.

Objections surfaced mainly due to the implied subject of man. For all the lesser animals, it could be accepted. But the descent of man was contentious.

Darwin had a lot of substantial experimentation on his own with breeding pigeons, so the heritability of traits and the variation in offspring was firsthand knowledge. If there were not any variation in offspring, Darwin's hypothesis would have been invalidated.
Claudius
1.7 / 5 (12) Jul 27, 2013
I hope you realize that Darwin faced enormous criticism from the scientists of the day. These critics raised objections remarkably similar to your own.

Anyone in biology at all is familiar with Darwin's story. My criticism is not near those objections.


One example:
"You (Darwin) have deserted—after a start in that tram-road of all solid physical truth—the true method of induction, and started us in machinery as wild, I think, as Bishop Wilkins's locomotive that was to sail with us to the moon. Many of your wide conclusions are based upon assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved, why then express them in the language and arrangement of philosophical induction?" Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873)

In short, he was criticizing Darwin for not following the scientific method, being unable to disprove his "assumptions." How does that differ from your criticism of McCarthy?
Gmr
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 27, 2013
In short, he was criticizing Darwin for not following the scientific method, being unable to disprove his "assumptions." How does that differ from your criticism of McCarthy?


Substantially. If any trait was inherited that was acquired, it would have been invalidated. If there was no variation in offspring, it would have been invalidated. If variation was not heritable, it would have been invalidated. Mechanisms existed for disproving the assertion, provided by Darwin's proposed hypothesis. A properly formed hypothesis should have a means to show it false. If A then B.

If we are product of pig-chimp backcrossing, then (insert conclusion here) that is verifiable, true or false. Right now, the "conclusive" proposed test is "true or not quite able to tell it actually is true."

Darwin's theory was actually supported by the difficulty, but not outright impossibility, of hybridization.
UKMervSanders
5 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2013
To Gmr
I would feel unsettled leaving this discussion for now without one final comment: Have you not appreciated the fact that Dr McCarthy has carried out a similar amount of research into avian hybridisation? The research is freely available on-line. Do you not respect his firsthand knowledge of the subject?

The point I was making earlier was in the use of the word crank. I believe its use says more about your mindset than Dr M's.
Quote:
"Going against the mainstream is not a crime. Being unwilling to accept evidence or the potential of being incorrect puts one out of Darwin and Galileo's camp."

I cannot see anywhere in this discussion where that has been claimed. I believe the circumstantial evidence has been forwarded, + a statement to the effect that although no DNA evidence to support this has been found, and a proviso, if never found it does not necessarily disprove the hypothesis. Have fun!
Claudius
2 / 5 (12) Jul 27, 2013
"The leading philosophers, contemporary with Darwin, John Herschel, William Whewell, and John Stuart Mill, were equally adamant in their conviction that the Origin of Species was just one massive conjecture. Darwin had proved nothing!"

- David L. Hull Darwin & His Critics: The Reception of Darwin's Theory of Evolution by the Scientific Community

Starting to sound familiar?
Gmr
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 27, 2013
UKMervSanders : Precisely. It is not a hypothesis if the proffered "test" is of this type. Imagine a pregnancy test, just as an example. How far would sales go if the results were "positive" and "probably positive, but we just can't quite say it now, just yet." It's not a pregnancy test, in that case: it's a "you're pregnant, let's see if we can tell" test.

Claudius: This does not provide a testable method of saying whether or not the conjecture is true. It argues my motive; but that still won't answer the question of whether there is a testable prediction that would falsify the conjecture. I've already pointed out the parts of Darwin's that were falsifiable, and could have resulted in rejection of his hypothesis. Tests have been proposed here, in this thread, but they are either hand-waved ("It wouldn't really show that this was false/true") or are rejected on pseudo-ethical concerns. There is no ethical concern in trying to find grass or pine hybrids at rates predicted.
Claudius
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 27, 2013
Another contemporary scientist re: Darwin

"How does it happen that a theory of the origin of species, which rests upon the same (wholly unfounded) basis, is accepted by multitudes of naturalists, as if it were a new gospel? I believe it is because our naturalists, as a class, are untrained in the use of the logical faculties by which they may be charitably supposed to possess in common with other men. No progress in natural science is possible as long as men will take their rude guesses at truth for facts, and substitute the fancies of their imagination for the sober rules of reasoning." Samuel Haughton, Natural History Review 1860
Gmr
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 27, 2013
Claudius:
Again, what you're showing is another person's assertion: In this case, Samuel Haughton. It could be shown, to falsify his assertion, that many of the naturalists of the day were trained in logic, as many were multidisciplinary. Darwin himself was classically trained for the clergy. His accusation is not against Darwin's theory, but against naturalists as a group using their minds at all.

He is not arguing the points of Darwin's hypothesis, later theory. He is decrying others accepting it, and ad hoc claiming they are not using their brains. That sounds more like some other ad hominems in this thread directed against detractors, as a counterpoint.

The point being, he is not arguing the specifics; I am. I am arguing that there should exist a test; the person in the quote is not. His claims are that it is wholly unfounded. I am trying to get a positive predictive assertion.

But my character is not at issue, and will not validate this threads conjecture.
Claudius
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 27, 2013
"The chief arguments used to establish the theory rests on conjecture.
We are asked to believe all these "maybes" happening on an enormous scale, in order that we may believe the final Darwinian "maybe" as to the origin of species. The general form of his argument is as follows: - all these things may have been, therefore my theory is possible, and since my theory is a possible one, all of those hypotheses which it requires are rendered probable. There is little direct evidence that any of these maybes actually have been. Many of these assumed possibilities are actually impossibilities."

- Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin, The North British Review, June 1867
Gmr
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 27, 2013
Claudius:
If you are going to continue posting Darwin's detractors, I can only assume you are no longer actually reading for comprehension.

A quick method of falsifying this hypothesis exists.
Claudius
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 27, 2013
"It is not semantic manipulation to call this conjecture. It is establishment that this currently has no means of falsification, ergo it cannot be an hypothesis. This conjecture has no "weight" other than volume. A large volume of air is still air."

This argument could have been lifted from a list of criticisms of Darwin by his contemporary peers. I rest my case.
Gmr
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 27, 2013
And thus my hypothesis is proven by one more data point.

I have pointed out three points on which Darwin's base assertion could have been falsified.
Koolokamba
1 / 5 (6) Jul 27, 2013
McCarthy here.
Gmr: "Darwin had a lot of substantial experimentation on his own with breeding pigeons, so the heritability of traits and the variation in offspring was firsthand knowledge. If there were not any variation in offspring, Darwin's hypothesis would have been invalidated."

Your misrepresenting things here (or really I think unknowingly repeating a misrepresentation). Prior to the publication of the Origin in 1859, Darwin did very little in the way of actual breeding. He did keep various pigeons, but for only a three-year period (1855-1858)--not enough time to do any actual breeding, at least not by the gradual methods he describes. Also, some of the breeds that he believed were of gradual origin, such as the pouter, are actually known to have been first produced by hybridization. I document all this in detail on this page: http://www.macroe...win.html
Claudius
1.3 / 5 (12) Jul 27, 2013
"Darwin himself admitted his theory was bereft of proof where it was most needed. In a letter to H. G. Bronn he confessed, "You put very well and very fairly that I can in no one instance explain the course of modification in any particular instance," and further, "When we descend to details, we can prove that no one species has changed; nor can we prove that the supposed changes are beneficial, which is the groundwork of the theory," and finally, "I am actually weary of telling people that I do not pretend to adduce direct evidence of one species changing into another." In other words, Darwin agreed he had no direct evidence for evolution."

- Darwin, Evolution and His Critics: How Was Darwin's Theory of Evolution First Received? Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon

interrupting cow
not rated yet Jul 27, 2013
So isn't the pregnancy test what he is proposing with in silico painting? If the chimp is pregnant, it could show up there, it could not, but that would not entirely definitively show it's not pregnant with a pig. Isn't that precisely the way pregnancy tests work? There are false negatives, so you could still be pregnant, but it just doesn't show up... Though, I'm not sure what the further detailed test with a false negative would be in the chimp case, but I think you may have picked the wrong analogy to argue your point.
Koolokamba
1.3 / 5 (7) Jul 27, 2013
McCarthy here.
Gmr: I think the reason you're being so insistent about this notion of conclusive hypothesis testing is that you have a different mindset from my own. For my own part I don't think there is ever any final conclusion in testing your beliefs, or that their should be. They are always worth examining further. Whereas you seem to be able to imagine a situation in which you would cease to doubt, I cannot. At least not about an issue as complex as this one. I do believe that we are pig-ape hybrids, but I could never believe it to the extent that I lacked all doubt. It's just my working hypothesis, that is, to me it seems more consistent with the facts than does any alternative hypothesis.
Koolokamba
1 / 5 (6) Jul 27, 2013
McCarthy here.
I'm sorry to say that I have to drop out of this conversation for awhile. My wife's out of town and I'm the babysitter. So I must now yield to my two seven-year-olds' demands to see Bugs Bunny at the local theater. Goodbye. ;-)
Gmr
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 27, 2013
Dr. McCarthy:

I am treating it as if it were a proposition for hypothesis because that is the realm it is presented in - it has to be to attempt to supplant evolutionary theory. This is a necessary step because it has to account for all of the successes of evolutionary theory, before it can start attempting to cover holes.

If the assertion is now changing to a "belief" then it should not be present on a science site.
Gmr
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 27, 2013
Interrupting_cow
The pregnancy test is presented precisely because it either shows pregnant or not-pregnant. It would be useless if it showed "pregnant" or "pregnant just trust us you're pregnant even though this is supposed to be a yes or no test."

Bringing in false positives only argues that even if the test bore out this assertion (the assertion of hybrid origins), it would still be subject to doubt until there was some statistical analysis to show the likelihood of multiple tests showing the same result was astronomically low by chance. If it was a "false negative" - then more than one test should suffice to show if it was, indeed, a false negative.

Level of confidence should not be taken to be the same as a test that answers yes or no, nor should it invalidate attempting such a test; it only argues for doing it more than once.
Sinister1811
2.3 / 5 (15) Jul 27, 2013
I guess there's only one way to prove this - if he tries to breed a chimp with a pig. It's hard to imagine though because even a horse/donkey mule is sterile.
interrupting cow
3 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2013
Problem is pregnancy tests don't tell you pregnant or not pregnant. They tell you positive or inconclusive. Either way you go to a doctor to have blood tests done, ultrasounds and find out for sure; you don't take the pregnancy test over and over until you are confident, because it could be something in your system causing a false positive. If you are proposing he needs something with the assurance of a pregnancy test, I would suggest there needs to be something more than that.

Incidentally I agree, it needs to be falsified, I'm telling you a pregnancy test isn't the best analogy.
Koolokamba
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 27, 2013
"I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals."
Winston Churchill
Koolokamba
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 27, 2013
"The pig with its little blue eyes, its eyelashes and its skin has more human qualities than any chimpanzee — think how often naked human beings remind us of swine."
Thomas Mann
The Confessions of Felix Krull
Koolokamba
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 27, 2013
"What men are pleased to call their souls was in the hog and dog begun."
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Koolokamba
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 27, 2013
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
T. S. Eliot
The Rock
jsdarkdestruction
1 / 5 (2) Jul 28, 2013

There are things to address about this. The authors dodging of falsification, the assertion that some tests won't falsify it, but will prove it if true, the lack of consistency, the mobilization of crowds instead of evidence and testable prediction.

This, however; equating or somehow associating the author with child molestation by baseless association, is truly vile, and completely beyond the pale.

You have misunderstood. I was just letting him know of olivers sinful past. that's why I said it as a warning to McCarthy and not a direct comparison. I apologize to you, dr.McCarthy
and any others who misunderstood me.
Osiris1
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 28, 2013
Suppose we were bioengineered and the techs used ...some....pig DNA or other genetic material to improve the product a bit. Then they covered themselves in the training manual they left behind that became our Bible. We actually ARE God's creation, just not first hand as He has acted thru countless other species, probably ALL humanoid........created in the image of GOD. The training and operations manual......pigs are not Kosher......our sense of right and wrong is 'written on our hearts'...
FainAvis
1 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2013
Gmr said:

"Dr. McCarthy:

I am treating it as if it were a proposition for hypothesis because that is the realm it is presented in - it has to be to attempt to supplant evolutionary theory. This is a necessary step because it has to account for all of the successes of evolutionary theory, before it can start attempting to cover holes."

It seems to me that the issue, for McCarthy, is that neo-Darwinian thinking, despite it's great successes for the most part, underestimates the role of hybridisation. Not to supplant Darwinian theory everywhere.

Science recognises that hybrids do exist and that often the fertility is passable. But sometimes the hybrid is sterile. Obviously, that particular cross cannot set off on its own as a new species because it does not have fertile individuals of both sexes. To wit the mule.

McCarthy wants science to apply serious consideration to the possibility that some crosses yield a hybrid that can stand alone as a new species.

Koolokamba
1 / 5 (5) Jul 28, 2013
McCarthy here.
FainAvis: Though I do generally agree with most of your comments, your last one, about what you think I want, really isn't correct. What I actually want to do is continue to play the intellectual game that has entertained me for years, that is, look at empirical data and then formulate an explanation of that data, then use that explanation as a guide to what data to look at next, then if necessary adjusting the explanation in light of that data, then using the adjusted explanation as a guide as to what data to look at next, etc. My goal in this process has been to construct an explanation, or really an internally consistent system of explanations, that accounts for as wide a range of independent data sets as possible. This game is an infinite process, or at least a lifelong one, and it fascinates me because it seems to lead always toward a better understanding of the truth, even if you never quite get there. ;-)
Koolokamba
1 / 5 (5) Jul 28, 2013
McCarthy here.
FainAvis: Personally, with my mathematical background, I think of it as an interative process that asymptotically approaches reality.
obama_socks
1 / 5 (11) Jul 28, 2013
I have come to this discussion quite late, but I must say I find Dr. McCarthy's hypothesis very intriguing. However, as the saying goes,"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Hypotheses that cannot be proven through experimentation, artifacts, or actual sightings of a living ape/pig cross hybrid renders the hypothesis indeterminable as to merit.
Quite possibly the only way to lay to rest all doubts with regard to the cross breeding of two different species that resulted in the forerunner of humans is to experiment through 'in vitro fertilization' of sperm from one specie and an egg from another. Trial and error and finally success may take many years and even a lifetime, but it might prove our origins eventually if it be the case. It is a mystery to me as to why an ape would consider a pig sexually attractive, unless at one time both pig and ape were less diverse from each other physically. That might mean that forerunners of ape and pig were closer genetically.
obama_socks
1 / 5 (11) Jul 28, 2013
I think that too much emphasis is being given to Darwin's theory as being the only truth available. Dr. McCarthy offers an alternative to the origins of man, which does not seem to detract from Darwin, but only amends it as a slight variation on evolution re: our origins.
My faith in my religion and my belief in God the Creator is not shaken by this at all. In fact, it allows me to understand better another theory that lifeforms on Earth did not originate from comets and other space debris, but that the oceans were seeded by some Intelligence who then made it so that evolution and cross breeding could take place in the quest for near perfection. Life on Earth is part of "the grand experiment" and we are one of the success stories.
marraco
1 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2013
Even if wrong, the theory raises questions that need answers, and that is an important aspect of science.

And the argument against making hybrids in lab is ridiculous. If it is impossible, then there is no problem, and if it is possible, then:

- Is not guaranteed to produce intelligence. The theory also states that gorillas may be chimp/pig hybrids, non intelligent, and that intelligence should be posterior evolution after the hybridization time.
- It is arguing against an experiment because it may be successful.
- If such an hybrid being is possible, ¿why it doesn't have right to exist?
marraco
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 28, 2013
This could lead to a complete repudiation of evolution


Keep dreaming. This would be an evolution of evolution theory. Science is not a dogma, so it never is "repudiated". It evolves.
obama_socks
1 / 5 (12) Jul 28, 2013
@Dr. McCarthy
I believe that you and your colleagues should commence forthwith your experiments with 'in vitro fertilization' using samples of sperm and ovum from chimps and pigs for cross breeding. Please take into consideration that you are not using human sperm and ovum, thus you can never be accused of monstrous experimentation with a potentially part human zygote.
There is nothing immoral or worrisome about such tests, and if you do not proceed with such experiments, you will always wonder how it might have turned out and if you might have been able to produce a new life form from it.
This is not creation of life. This would be simply an amendment to life that exists already.
Please think it over carefully. I, for one, look forward to reading of your success in the future.
Koolokamba
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 28, 2013
McCarthy here.
marraco: I think it's because I wrote extensively about a hybrid of this type in my kindle novel (http://www.amazon...ccarthy) that she really is almost alive in my mind. I realize that the real hybrid, if produced, might not be at all like the fictional hybrid created by my imagination and intuition. Nevertheless, I wouldn't want to take that chance. There will, of course, be those who will try, but I can't help thinking about that key passage from Frankenstein: "I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart."
Koolokamba
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 28, 2013
McCarthy here.
obama_socks: Thanks, but that particular experiment I definitely leave to others.
FainAvis
1 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2013
McCarthy
"FainAvis: Though I do generally agree with most of your comments, your last one, about what you think I want, really isn't correct."

Sorry. I guess I was trying to read minds again. And projected something of my thinking onto you.

grondilu
5 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2013
Well, if we can't for practical and/or ethical reasons attempt to produce hybrids between orders, maybe we can try to perform in vitro hybridization between various forms of life inside orders, measure degrees of fertility as a function of the genetic distance, and use statistics in order to extrapolate the inter-order fertility in general, and between a primate and an artiodactyle in particular. If this fertility corresponds more or less to one birth in a few million years, that would support the theory. It would be very frustrating if no experiment could be done to determine in what extend hybridization is possible between any two life forms.
Koolokamba
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 28, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: Whatever my objections, from email I've received I think it already looks as if there will soon be more than one scientist trying to produce this cross. In general, however, many experiments have already "done to determine in what extent hybridization is possible between any two life forms." I talk about this extensively on my website (e.g., http://www.macroe...s.html). Generally speaking, though, what I think, after looking at so many thousands of crosses, is that as the difference between the parents becomes greater, the number of inseminations required to get one viable adult hybrid goes up. But it's not at all clear what degree of difference must exist if the possibility of producing a hybrid is to be ruled out entirely.
grondilu
5 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2013
But it's not at all clear what degree of difference must exist if the possibility of producing a hybrid is to be ruled out entirely.

Precisely. That's the very question your hypothesis raises. We're dying of curiosity, now.

Also, all your examples in the "accounts" section of your page about mammalian hybrid are crosses inside a family. There is nothing about crosses between orders. The "articles" section relates alleged cases, that we can't take for granted.
meBigGuy
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 28, 2013
I seem to be missing something. I see a proposal consistent with available data being rejected outright because it isn't supported by available data. That seem to be the basis of gmr's desperate denial. I don't see how hybrids can "supplant evolutionary theory". (can someone explain that to me in a rational way?) Gmr calls the theory conjecture and proceeds to argue with the most blatant conjecture possible.
obama_socks
1.5 / 5 (16) Jul 28, 2013
McCarthy here.
obama_socks: Thanks, but that particular experiment I definitely leave to others.


What others? With all due respect I do not believe that your heart is in it (the science), and that which you would have us believe that you have so carefully and consistently accumulated data for the purpose of eventually providing the proof that your hypothesis is correct and not merely a long-shot possibility. By not experimenting, you make a mockery of your ideas and the faith that others may have in those ideas. Your unwillingness to perform the experiments yourself tells me that you are very unsure and that you hesitate because of a possible lack of confidence.
Now I could be wrong about you, but I have never met a scientist yet that was unwilling to perform experiments to ascertain and confirm certain truths if those truths exist.
You leave us hanging and twisting in the wind, but that is your decision to make, however disappointing.
Koolokamba
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 28, 2013
McCarthy here.
meBigGuy: Thank you. I must say, I, too, have been puzzled by Gmr's comments. It kind of strike me as "Okay, you have a huge pile of evidence consistent with your hypothesis, but because you can't produce even more evidence immediately, that evidence doesn't count and, in fact, your hypothesis is not even a hypothesis."
grondilu: In general, as the crosses become more distant, the evidence becomes more tenuous and at some point seems to merge with myth. But it's clear that the known crosses are can be a lot weirder than the average person on the street would expect. You should read those articles, though. Even the old ones are often more than what I would call an allegation, that is they are often serious eyewitness reports by sober scholars. For horse x cow (interordinal) there is a genetically testable specimen.
grondilu
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2013
Even the old ones are often more than what I would call an allegation, that is they are often serious eyewitness reports by sober scholars.

I can't trust any old report on these matters. I'm pretty sure there are plenty of serious reports about various impossible creatures. That's why cryptozoology exists and I'm not willing to dig into this. I want live specimens, or well-conserved dead bodies.

For horse x cow (interordinal) there is a genetically testable specimen.

I happen to live in France. So I may one day visit this museum and ask why such a genetic analysis has never been done (assuming it has indeed never been done).
Koolokamba
2.2 / 5 (10) Jul 28, 2013
McCarthy here.
obama_socks: I don't see why, by the mere fact that I've made the information available that I've collected, that I should be obliged to engage in an experiment that I would find distasteful and repugnant (I might even say that I have an irrational dread of it). Besides, what do you expect me to do? Run in the back room and inseminate a chimpanzee? I have neither a pig nor a chimpanzee, nor the facilities in which to keep them. But I don't think I've left you "hanging and twisting in the wind," as you suggest. After all, I've supplied you with a massive amount of carefully documented information on this website which is consistent with only one hypothesis. If you can think of no other explanation, then you are not hanging and twisting in the wind. Why do you have to see an actual hybrid to reach the only consistent conclusion? I don't need to myself.
obama_socks
1.3 / 5 (13) Jul 28, 2013
McCarthy here.
FainAvis: ...What I actually want to do is continue to play the intellectual game that has entertained me for years, that is, look at empirical data and then formulate an explanation of that data, then use that explanation as a guide to what data to look at next, then if necessary adjusting the explanation in light of that data, then using the adjusted explanation as a guide as to what data to look at next, etc. My goal in this process has been to construct an explanation, or really an internally consistent system of explanations, that accounts for as wide a range of independent data sets as possible. This game is an infinite process, or at least a lifelong one, and it fascinates me because it seems to lead always toward a better understanding of the truth, even if you never quite get there. ;-)


I see. You are more of a statistician who would rather not get his hands dirty. The dirty work is for others to perform. Bravo!! Thanks for the explanation.
grondilu
4 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2013
Besides, what do you expect me to do? Run in the back room and inseminate a chimpanzee?


You don't have to. In your "articles" section you discuss about an alleged case of a cat-dog hybrid. Well, you could try to prove that such an hybridization can indeed be done. If you could show the world such a creature, it would amaze everyone and would certainly shake the dogmas that prevent your theory to be considered seriously.
Koolokamba
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 28, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: I have to ask you, how many eyewitnesses will you discount in order to preserve your beliefs? Besides, why is it so important to you not to believe in such things? Wouldn't it at least be better to say that we don't know whether a pig can successfully mate with an ape, but that we do have a great deal of evidence that one day long ago one did? Isn't that better than saying "I believe that can't happen so throw out the evidence." That evidence is what we do know, not our beliefs. Anyway, I'm glad you live in France. Send me some good pictures of that skull and let me know what you find out (and news of any other strange hybrids you run across there at Alfort).
Koolokamba
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 28, 2013
Mccarthy here:
grondilu: You don't seem to know what sort of person I am. I'm a guy who spends most of his time in libraries, not out in a farmyard or laboratory breeding strange hybrids. And even if I did produce a cat-dog hybrid myself, how would it be any more convincing, than that old report I quote on the website, which is multiply attested by respectable eyewitnesses. Am I somehow more believable than them? Take the step to the realization that we really know very little about this subject since even biologists have always been so prejudiced against the idea of distant crosses that virtually no systematic experimentation has been done to evaluate the situation. Right now all you have is someone like me who has collected thousands of reports. To experimentally evaluate the limits, as you suggest, you'd need large scale experimentation that no single person could carry out. But what you don't know should never prevent you from drawing reasonable conclusions from what you do know.
grondilu
4 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2013
I have to ask you, how many eyewitnesses will you discount in order to preserve your beliefs?

It's not my decision to make, anyway. For instance, in the case of the horse-cow hybrid, I can read on the Wikipedia page (the french one, I haven't found the english one), that the specimen has been dismissed as such an hybrid long time ago. If at some point the scientific community were to recognize an hybrid between orders, I'd totally accept it as a fact, even if I would not have seen this specimen with my own eyes. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think any of these cases described in these articles offers a scientific consensus, do they? Not for an inter-ordinal hybrid, anyway.
I get your point: you gathered anatomical evidences suggesting that humans may derive from an ancient hybridization with pigs. But such an hybridization is considered impossible. You must break this belief in order to make your hypothesis plausible.

grondilu
4 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2013
Mccarthy here:
grondilu: You don't seem to know what sort of person I am. I'm a guy who spends most of his time in libraries, not out in a farmyard or laboratory breeding strange hybrids. And even if I did produce a cat-dog hybrid myself, how would it be any more convincing, than that old report I quote on the website, which is multiply attested by respectable eyewitnesses. Am I somehow more believable than them?

We have genetic analysis, nowadays. A F1 specimen would be easily identified as such with absolute certitude, wouldn't it?
grondilu
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2013
You don't seem to know what sort of person I am. I'm a guy who spends most of his time in libraries, not out in a farmyard or laboratory breeding strange hybrids.


Well, maybe you could consider getting out of your comfort zone, just a bit?

I will very probably visit this museum indeed. Quite soon. This story is seriously troubling me.
Koolokamba
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 28, 2013
Yes. Absolutely, an F1 would be extremely easy to verify, at least by the particular type of laboratory that's set up to do that sort of work. But I have noticed that some people strain to their utmost not to believe this, no matter how much evidence you give them. It's always, there's something wrong with the evidence, not with my beliefs. I've thought a lot about what might be the basis of this incredibly strong bias, but I really can't fathom it. As to getting out of my comfort zone, how far do you think I am out of my comfort zone now, out here in the spotlight after so many years of comparative solitude? I go to the grocery store now and I see people pointing at me and staring. But, let's put it this way, if someone were willing to supply me with the large amount of money required to set up a facility where distant crosses could be systematically investigated, I would jump at the chance. But no one is offering that money, so it doesn't look like I'll be doing it. :(
grondilu
5 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2013
But, let's put it this way, if someone were willing to supply me with the large amount of money required to set up a facility where distant crosses could be systematically investigated, I would jump at the chance. But no one is offering that money, so it doesn't look like I'll be doing it.


This I can accept. Not having resources to perform an experiment is a good reason not to perform it indeed. Also, this reason leaves room for hope, as you may find the money one day.

As I wrote already, I would begin immediately if I was rich.
Koolokamba
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 28, 2013
Mccarthy here.
grondilu: Thanks. I had forgotten that it was you who wanted that pig-chimp farm. If you are eager to do that, I think you are far more convinced than I had supposed. LOL!
galileolivingston
3.5 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2013
Very interesting idea, equally intriguing as the disappearance of the Neandertals.

Because positively identifying the actual and complete genetic, physiological, environmental,

etc. structure of the original pair (not a pig or a chimp per se, but the genetic predecessors

that made the initial coupling) would be a 'miracle' in and of itself, unless a serious effort in

trial and error is put forth and a viable (I'd settle for the fetus surviving to six months, as the

'chimpanzee' gestation is the closest to the current human gestation period ) result achieved,

this idea will remain an exercise in hypothesis.

McCarthy, if that is truly you responding on this forum, you need to be aware that you are

being 'trolled' as is the parlance. Remember the words of Charles Bukowski and the problem

with the world.
UKMervSanders
5 / 5 (1) Jul 29, 2013
Just throwing this into the mix:

Quote from the Book of Jasher:

"After the fallen angels went into the daughters of men, the sons of men taught the mixture of animals of one species with the other, in order to provoke the Lord" (4:18)

If one were to remove the religious element from such literary fossils, accepting that the science behind such an event had long been forgotten, thus attributing it to the supernatural, history could be on the verge of repeating itself.

And once the genie is again released .....
louis_fiven
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 29, 2013
the weak link in the argument is presenting the platypus as the sole substantiated example of a bird/mammal hybrid, the other French accounts of rabbit/hen hybrids etc on the website sound too much like the stuff you'd expect to find in the Fortean Times. And you also seem to have willfully misinterpreted the Nature report. The platypus has mammal, bird and REPTILE genes. "It's not that the platypus has mixed ancestry, so it's not a true hybrid. Rather, it's thought that the ancestors of the platypus evolutionarily diverged from the rest of the mammals about 166 million years ago, so it retains some of the genetic and physical characteristics that other mammals may have had at that time but have since lost." ( www usnews com/science/blogs/thinking-harder/2008/05/07/decoded-platypus-genome-spells-out-hybrid ) More likely the platypus is some relic holdover. So to say that if the platypus can result from bird/ otter union, then pig/chimp hybrids should be possible is misleading.
menssana216
5 / 5 (1) Jul 29, 2013
Hybrid crosses do occur
They are not always sterile or infertile
The parents do not have to have the same number of chromosomes
Inter-ordinal hybrid crosses have been documented in nature

Does anyone disagree with any of the above statements?
Koolokamba
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 29, 2013
McCarthy here:
As the lead author of the Nature study, Dr. Franz Grützner, specifically states: "The platypus actually links the bird sex chromosome system with the mammalian sex chromosome systems." (Quoted in: http://www.abc.ne...71.htm). This genetic evidence is consistent with the idea that platypuses are anciently derived from a cross between a mammal and a bird. So is their strange morphology, which combines egg laying and a duck bill with hair and milk production. This cross is more distant than merely interordinal. It's between separate classes (Mammalia and Aves). It also must have produced a fertile hybrid, otherwise the platypus would not still exist.
Koolokamba
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 29, 2013
McCarthy here:
Sorry there was a broken link in my last comment (the final paren got into the URL). Here's the right link: http://www.abc.ne...5871.htm
Koolokamba
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 29, 2013
McCarthy here:
Also a platypus, which is classified as a mammal, has a cloaca and internal testes, both characteristic of birds, but not other mammals. A draft version of the platypus genome (Warren et al. 2008) identified at least two genes otherwise known only in birds.

Warren, Wesley C.; Hillier, LW; Marshall Graves, JA; Birney, E; Ponting, CP; Grützner, F; Belov, K; Miller, W et al. (May 8, 2008). Nature 453 (7192): 175–183.
Claudius
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 29, 2013
Remember the words of Charles Bukowski and the problem

with the world.


If you mean "The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt." It was Bertrand Russell. Misattributed to Charles Bukowski.
grondilu
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2013
This genetic evidence is consistent with the idea that platypuses are anciently derived from a cross between a mammal and a bird. So is their strange morphology, which combines egg laying and a duck bill with hair and milk production. This cross is more distant than merely interordinal. It's between separate classes (Mammalia and Aves).


I'm pretty sure that no serious biologist thinks that platypus originate from a cross between a mammal and a bird. Or at least they would not dare saying this loud. The fact that this idea is consistent with the weird anatomy of this animal does not constitute any proof. It could be a living fossil of some old kind of reptilian-like mammal. Australia has been isolated for a very long time and its fauna is known to be awkward. The only way people could believe in a bird-mammal hybrid origin of the platypus would be if it was shown that such a huge cross is possible. Because right now it's phantasmagorical.
BobSage
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 29, 2013
I wonder whether Oliver, the so-called Humanzee, (http://scienceray...lf-ape/) could have been a hybrid between a chimp and some other creature. The speculation was that he was a cross between a human and a chimp. But perhaps a different cross breeding might have produced a chimp with human characteristics.

Second point: Here is one way that a chimp and a wild board might mate. A female chimp finds an orphan baby wild boar and raises it. The boar grows up to be part of the chimp troupe. As such he or she participates in mating. No need in this scenario for the rather unlikely successful rape of a chimp by a boar.

A wonderful book exists (http://www.amazon...friends) that documents current cases of inter-species friendships. Friendships often lead to sexual contact.
Koolokamba
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 29, 2013
McCarthy here:
grondilu: I think you should rephrase to "The only way YOU could believe in a bird-mammal hybrid origin of the platypus would be if it was shown that such a huge cross is possible." I know many people who already do believe it, and many who more think it is at least possible. So it may be phatasmagorical to you, but it certainly isn't to everyone. Anyway, I think different people differ in the strength of their beliefs and with respect to the kinds of evidence they'll accept. I certainly never expected to please or convince everyone with this. Definitely not. BTW, in connection with your comment last night where you said "This story is seriously troubling me," have you considered that you might be experiencing cognitive dissonance? https://en.wikipe...ssonance
grondilu
3 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2013
"This story is seriously troubling me," have you considered that you might be experiencing cognitive dissonance? https://en.wikipe...ssonance


Possibly. I don't know why it should matter. The thing is that I did read the naked ape from Desmond Morris in the past, and I wrote a substantial part of the french wikipedia article about Homo Sapiens, so I'm very well aware of a few oddities of human beings when compared to other great apes. That's why I'm quite interested in your hypothesis. But I can not be totally convinced by just anatomical comparisons. I need proof that an inter-ordinal hybridization is possible, not just that it would explain things. What is troubling me is the idea that an experiment to find out for sure might be possible, but nobody may be willing to do it for ethical or practical reasons. That would be extremely annoying. I'd hate to be left in doubt or ignorance just because of that.
Koolokamba
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 29, 2013
McCarthy here:
grondilu: I think that for any given topic belief/doubt is a continuum. Some people believe without question, others are not totally convinced, others can't make up their mind, others doubt a lot, still others don't believe at all. You say you're not totally convinced. So on the spectrum it looks like you're close to believing. Anyway, if you're close enough link that Wikipedia page to my site so that your readers will have an alternative take on human origins. ;-) And don't worry about whether someone is actually going to do the cross. From what people have been telling me, I'm sure someone's going to try it soon. It's just not going to be me.
grondilu
3 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2013
Whether I believe it or not is not the issue. I'm familiar with other alternate theories of human evolution, such as the aquatic ape theory. Yours just happens to be one that could be supported by an experiment. So I would very much like this experiment to happen. What I believe does not matter, but I now I really really want to know how far must be two animals until interbreeding is impossible.

I will not add any link to your website in the Wikipedia article, unless you publish a paper on the subject in a well-known scientific revue or something.
Skepticus
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 29, 2013
Check these pics out: human-pig hybrids found in China:
http://vtc.vn/311...htm#IMG1
obama_socks
1.2 / 5 (13) Jul 29, 2013
@Dr. McCarthy
One of the problems I have with your hypothesis of a cross-bred pig/chimp hybrid is the pig's skull. The rows of teeth in the back are a bit similar to human molars, but it is the elongated skull and hugely massive jawbone that juts out similar to a horse's jaw and nasal cavity that I find nearly impossible to deal with. To me it's not the physiology of the pig's body itself that is a problem, but the pig's skull would need an enormous modification in a first generation chimp/pig hybrid while gestating in a chimp uterus.
If the hybrid was able to procreate with chimps, then that skull would have to be modified even further through succeeding generations until the jaw, nasal cavity, in effect-the whole skull was trimmed enough to appear more chimp-like.

Had the cross-breeding continued onward generationally to become a prototype progenitor of humans, much more physiological differences would need to be isolated and modified or completely changed.
obama_socks
1.1 / 5 (14) Jul 29, 2013
The massive brow-ridge of Neanderthalensis is closer in appearance to modern apes than to pigs.
If this cross-breeding of 2 disparate species actually happened, I would think that it would be a male chimp that was able to mount a sow for it to conceive and carry to term. It would be too mind boggling to imagine an adult boar mounting a female chimp as the boar would crush the smaller chimp - even a female silverback gorilla could not survive that. However, a sow would be able to carry a first gen cross-bred to term in spite of the elongated skull and snout, quite comfortably, whereas a chimp/ape might have complications giving birth.

In any case, I cannot imagine a frequent coupling of sow and chimp even for the first generation hybrid...(maybe a one-time affair) and even less for such couplings of multiple sows and chimp pairs.
I have my own hypothesis about such a possibility of cross breeding across species, but it smacks of religion, so I will not talk about it here.
BAKOON
1.6 / 5 (13) Jul 29, 2013
you have no clue what you are talking about obama_socks. shut up moron.
FainAvis
3 / 5 (4) Jul 30, 2013
obama_socks Definitely male pig x female chimp. Not the reciprocal.
How does a farmer improve a trait in his herd? Answer, bring in stud bull. Can you imagine putting up a sign, 'Fine cow at stud'?
Claudius
2.2 / 5 (13) Jul 30, 2013
Check these pics out: human-pig hybrids found in China:
http://vtc.vn/311...htm#IMG1


These are photos of an exhibition of sculptures by Patricia Piccinini in Venice, Italy.
http://www.ncbi.n...1326412/
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (13) Jul 30, 2013
Now I could be wrong about you, but I have never met a scientist yet
You mean you never met a scientist at ALL dont you? This is because not many of them live in trailer parks.
One of the problems I have with your hypothesis of a cross-bred pig/chimp hybrid is the pig's skull. The rows of teeth in the back are a bit similar to human molars, but it is the elongated skull and hugely massive jawbone that juts out similar to a horse's jaw and nasal cavity that I find nearly impossible to deal with
Perhaps this is because you got all of this info by studiously and statisticially analysing the single picture included with this article?

Perhaps you need to examine more pictures.

Here is a collection which should aid you in further statistical research.
http://alanschell...54620355

Christ. Another thread shot to hell.
Thrasymachus
3 / 5 (4) Jul 30, 2013
The single biggest difference between pigs and chimps that would prevent any kind of crossing is the difference between their gestational periods. Pigs are born after 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days of gestation, where chimps are born much like humans, after about 40 weeks of gestation. Any gestating hybrid between them would have massively conflicting instructions regarding the rate of development to the point where it could not survive.
obama_socks
1.3 / 5 (13) Jul 30, 2013
obama_socks Definitely male pig x female chimp. Not the reciprocal.
How does a farmer improve a trait in his herd? Answer, bring in stud bull. Can you imagine putting up a sign, 'Fine cow at stud'?
-FainAvis

Thanks for the input. But it is hard to perceive such a mating unless both animals were close to the same body size and weight where the male pig could easily inseminate the female chimp without biting it and chewing her to death...also providing that she held still long enough for the sperm to travel up her cervix.
He would have to be lightweight and quite gentle for the coupling to take effect and result in a hybrid. Female chimps most often have a single live birth for each pregnancy, so then it was either 'hit-or-miss" on one occasion, or it was multiple couplings which would have made a better chance for conception.

Regarding the stud bull and the cow - they are both of the same species even if cross-bred and their physiology are compatible with each other.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (11) Jul 30, 2013
without biting it and chewing her to death
Uh thats usually not how it is done. Except for the praying mantis as I understand it. But I am not an expert nor am I a NASA afronautical engineer (contract)
obama_socks
1 / 5 (12) Jul 30, 2013
@FainAvis

One of the alternatives to the "natural" coupling between a male pig and female chimp, if that indeed was the case, is a presently unpopular hypothesis that millions of years ago, an extraterrestrial presence of scientists came to Earth and experimented with the animals that they found by using artificial insemination between different species.
obama_socks
1.3 / 5 (16) Jul 30, 2013
Also, in certain books that have survived, including the Bible and the Book of Enoch (which I read last week), the story goes that the fallen angels (Watchers) impregnated human females, and their coupling produced monsters who ravaged every living thing in their path, even birds.
But what if those females weren't quite human, or what if they were the result of in vitro fertilization performed by those scientists I mentioned that added their own sperm to inseminate the females, along with pig genes added?
It's all conjecture, of course…and it is only unpopular right now due to the extraterrestrial factor. But there is the possibility that humans are not just the progeny of pig and chimp, but also a grand experiment by ET with their own DNA.

Quite honestly, I like the idea.

Further examination of components of DNA would be required to ascertain and confirm such a possibility. There was a sudden explosion of life forms millions of years ago and no one knows why or how.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (13) Jul 30, 2013
also a grand experiment by ET with their own DNA
You moron. Dont you think anybody else here has watched the x files??
and it is only unpopular right now due to the extraterrestrial factor
What, do you think ET is clouding our insight? Impeding our ability to reason with some kind of stupid-ray or something? Maybe it is only you -?
Quite honestly, I like the idea
She likes it. She likes it a LOT fapfap.
There was a sudden explosion of life forms millions of years ago and no one knows why or how.
Perhaps it was before fapping was invented and/or evolved.
obama_socks
1 / 5 (13) Jul 30, 2013
http://en.wikiped...xplosion

The Cambrian explosion has generated extensive scientific debate. The seemingly rapid appearance of fossils in the "Primordial Strata" was noted as early as the 1840s,[8] and in 1859 Charles Darwin discussed it as one of the main objections that could be made against his theory of evolution by natural selection.[9] The long-running puzzlement about the appearance of the Cambrian fauna, seemingly abruptly and from nowhere, centers on three key points: whether there really was a mass diversification of complex organisms over a relatively short period of time during the early Cambrian; what might have caused such rapid change; and what it would imply about the origin and evolution of animals. Interpretation is difficult due to a limited supply of evidence, based mainly on an incomplete fossil record and chemical signatures remaining in Cambrian rocks.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (13) Jul 30, 2013
The fapprian explosion

"The central questions to consider are whether precambrian life in any of its forms had the ability to fap, the appropriate organs to fap, or the appropriate appendages with which to fap."
http://en.wiktion...#English
FainAvis
5 / 5 (2) Jul 30, 2013
obama_socks Aliens!? Bible!? Sorry, didnah ken yer.
McCarthy has looked at mating competence. Apparatus - competent. Strength of the chimp to carry him - competent.
Chimp covers pig is not credible because if that were the case our XX (that is the female) would have both X from the pig. That would be outstandingly obvious to science. Hence I feel confident that both X in human females descend more nearly from chimp.

FainAvis
3 / 5 (2) Jul 30, 2013
Thras A quick google search tells that the gestation time of hybrids tends toward the species of female, in this case the chimp. And also tends to between the two parental types. Viz. donkey x mare -> mule. Look it up.
FainAvis
3 / 5 (2) Jul 30, 2013
obama_socks On your stud bull comment above. In general, it is the male of any species that is able to convey traits to a whole population. I will rephrase my question: Can you imagine anyone putting up a sign that reads, "Fine (female of the species) at stud." ? No. Why? - Traits not maintained in the population by the species own bull __Carrying that trait__ will leak out of the herd, island population, or even the bigger group a whole species. That is the nature of the XY and XX species determining system.
obama_socks
1 / 5 (13) Jul 30, 2013
FainAvis,

As I already mentioned, it is all conjecture. It is based on ancient books that tell a story and is unpopular because of the Extraterrestrial or fallen angels factor. Most people are frightened of that which they are not familiar and cannot understand. It leaves them cold and makes them wonder if it would affect their comfort zone.

Theghostofotto1923 aka Theghostofotto1932 and sockpuppets has been following me around into this thread and others with idiotic accusations and ad hominem attacks. Not just on me but on several others who are innocent also.

I would suggest that you and everyone else who isn't Blotto's sockpuppet completely ignore it, as it is suffering from DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER among other maladies and has assigned himself the role of head censor and purveyor or ad hominems.

And with that I bid you gute nacht. I am in Munich on business for my company (aerospace) and have an early appointment to negotiate a deal.

FainAvis
3 / 5 (2) Jul 30, 2013
Ghost I concede that pigs will eat anything. Heck the pig breeder commenting earlier said he really fears going in the pen alone, lest he had a turn and fell down. He said they would eat him alive. Yet others have said they have a gentle side too. Perhaps Miss Chimp was lucky. Maybe pig had had his meds and it was his good day.
Thrasymachus
3 / 5 (4) Jul 30, 2013
Both horses and donkeys have similar gestational periods of around 12 months, donkeys have greater variability in gestational period and a horse's gestational period is on average slightly longer, but a horse's gestational period is not twice as long as a donkey's, as would be the case between a chimp and a pig. Go ahead and find even a single hybrid whose parent species gestational periods don't overlap in their variability, where one parent's species average gestational period is twice as long as the other parent's.
Koolokamba
1.8 / 5 (10) Jul 30, 2013
McCarthy here:
Thrasymachus: When you talk about gestation periods as somehow needing to be the same in hybrids you, parrot, as many people parrot, an ancient assertion that's been repeated by naturalists since at least the time of Pliny (d. 69 A.D.). He made that assertion when people knew almost nothing about hybrids, and hybrids are still not a well investigated today. But we do know that gestation periods don't have to be the same to get a hybrid. Two well established examples are the cama, the hybrid of a dromedary camel (gestation period = 13 months) and a llama (g.p.=11 mos), and the wolphin, the hybrid of a false killer whale (g.p.=15.5 mos) and a bottlenosed dolphin (g.p.=11.5 mos). So the objection you are raising is really just an ancient, unsubstantiated belief, a fiction that you are continuing to repeat. And like all believable fictions it does have a plausible ring. As Mark Twain pointed out, "Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't."
Thrasymachus
2.7 / 5 (7) Jul 31, 2013
No, the gestational periods of the parent species in both the case of the cama and the wolfin overlap, the 11 months, 13 months, 15.5 months and 11.5 months you cite are the gestational averages. The gestational period of camels, for instance, can vary by as much as two months, and the same thing is true of dolphins and the false killer whale. In no instance is there an example of a hybrid whose parent's gestational periods differ by such a degree as proposed in a pig/chimp cross. A pig fetus is ready to be born before the alveoli have developed in the lungs of a chimp fetus, before their eyes have finished forming, before they have fingernails. Point to one other hybrid cross where there are such similar differences in fetal development.
Koolokamba
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 31, 2013
"Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't."
Koolokamba
2.2 / 5 (10) Jul 31, 2013
McCarthy here:
Thrasymachus: Heterogenic hybrids are not very well studied in mammals. But more experimental data is available for such hybrids in fish. Read pp. 398-400 of this paper about hybrids between mackerel and mud minnow: http://books.goog...;f=false
Koolokamba
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 31, 2013
Mccarthy here:
Thrasymachus: The best example of a probable hybrid with extremely disparate parents, so disparate in fact that one of its parent does not even have a gestation period as such, is the platypus. On the basis of both genetic and morphological evidence, It now really does look as if that animal is a cross between a mammal and a bird. And please let's not argue it out again. It's already been discussed in the comments above. Just search the page for the word platypus.
Koolokamba
1.8 / 5 (10) Jul 31, 2013
"In nature's infinite book of secrecy a little I can read."
Shakespeare
Seattle Reader
2 / 5 (6) Jul 31, 2013
Absolutely Priceless. Thank you Dr. McCarthy for clarifying the relationship between science news and academia. Your social commentary comes through loud and clear, and I haven't even finished your book, "The Department", yet. But I will. Priceless. I have truly learned something valuable from this story. To all you commenters, especially the ones who may be experiencing cognitive dissonance, $2.99 might just buy you a clue. Worth it, I say. It could potentially change the way you read science news forever.
Koolokamba
1.8 / 5 (10) Jul 31, 2013
McCarthy here.
Seattle Reader: After your providing me with the most positive assessment of my work that I have received in several years (perhaps, in my life?), all I can think of to say is THANKS! And, no doubt, after such an incredible endorsement, it would be wise for me to add the URL for The Department: http://www.amazon...091JJED0 (since, I must admit, I am not entirely indifferent to the acquisition of cash).
Anyway, thanks, and thanks again. And should you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me through the website (http://www.macroe...um35T1U)
Thrasymachus
2.8 / 5 (9) Jul 31, 2013
Mccarthy here:
Thrasymachus: The best example of a probable hybrid with extremely disparate parents, so disparate in fact that one of its parent does not even have a gestation period as such, is the platypus. On the basis of both genetic and morphological evidence, It now really does look as if that animal is a cross between a mammal and a bird. And please let's not argue it out again. It's already been discussed in the comments above. Just search the page for the word platypus.


In other words, you don't have such an example and the best you can do is point to the platypus and say, "maybe that's a hybrid?" even though the evidence for that is thin at best. There is no kind of consensus that a platypus is any kind of hybrid, and simpler explanations for bird-like DNA in the platypus genome. It's becoming pretty clear that you aren't interested in any kind of science regarding the origin of species or the possibilities of hybridization. This is about selling your books.
Koolokamba
2.3 / 5 (12) Jul 31, 2013
McCarthy here.
Thrasymachus: I never, ever expected to convince everyone that humans are pig-ape hybrids. If you don't accept the same sort of evidence that many other people do accept, including me, then I think you are merely a more stringent person who demands much more evidence in order to change your thinking. Or possibly you are even like a creationist, that is, perhaps you have a fixed idea that you continue to embrace in face of all evidence to the contrary. Whatever, I don't know you, and it's not my job to sit here and spoon feed you a new reality. I'm willing to talk to anyone who's polite, but you're not being polite. So I'm not going to respond to anything else you have to say. So far as I can see nearly all of your comments thus far are mere unsubstantiated opinion. If you want documented facts, go to my website.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (11) Jul 31, 2013
then I think you are merely a more stringent person who demands much more evidence in order to change your thinking. Or possibly you are even like a creationist
Yeah thats exactly it. Someone who thinks that insight into the metaphysical gives them some form of universal knowledge. Neither of which exist, just like god.

Science is LOTS more complicated than you think it is, thrashy.
mr x
2.5 / 5 (8) Aug 01, 2013
then I think you are merely a more stringent person who demands much more evidence in order to change your thinking. Or possibly you are even like a creationist
Yeah thats exactly it. Someone who thinks that insight into the metaphysical gives them some form of universal knowledge. Neither of which exist, just like god.

Science is LOTS more complicated than you think it is, thrashy.


It seems to me that the species essentialism and arboreal taxonomies are metaphysical in the sense that an aristotelian/scholastic arboreal hierarchy of concepts is imposed on the chaotic plurality/diversity of being, the truth might be more reticular or rhizoidal ....
mr x
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 01, 2013
McCarthy here:
And don't worry about whether someone is actually going to do the cross. From what people have been telling me, I'm sure someone's going to try it soon. It's just not going to be me.


Dear Dr McCarthy, have you seen the movie Splice? it was an interesting, empathic look at life of a humanoid hybrid, and against the usual Scifi formula, where the scientist dabbling with the Natural Order creates chaos and destruction, it presented against hybridization/ GM experiments not the inherent dangers but the fact the the resultant living soul might find happiness elusive or impossible.

On the other hand "i'd rather be unhappy Socrates than a satisfied Pig"

TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (9) Aug 01, 2013
it presented against hybridization/ GM experiments not the inherent dangers but the fact the the resultant living soul might find happiness elusive or impossible
It presented FOR sensationalism and the fact that it sells movies. It didnt present anything BUT that. It was a low-grade scifi MOVIE.
obama_socks
1 / 5 (12) Aug 02, 2013
@Dr. McCarthy

I'm sure you are familiar with the condition known as syndactyly.or "webbed toes". Ducks, amphibians, kangaroo, platypus have it, and it also shows up in many humans. Fingers may also be affected.
My question is: Could the fused toes on each foot on a human have anything to do with avian genetics of geese, seagulls and ducks? Or could it be an attempt by genes to fuse the toes into that more resembling even-toed ungulates like pigs, camels, et al?
I agree with you that there are certain resemblances between pig and human, but the webbed toes condition is puzzling.
321BIOS
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 02, 2013
@Gmr
Advertizing sales must be down at phys.org. Complete conjecture and here is why: While this may be possible, that doesn't make it an intelligent scientific explanation worth seeing the light of day until a BODY of supportive evidence is gathered - This is also why there is no peer-review going on- there is nothing to review other than hypothetical musings.

Let me put it another way: While it is fun and controversial to say Seal Team Six came in through my window last night and turned off my bedroom light for me (it's possible), it is more likely that I simply turned it off myself in a rather standard manner (probable). Until I come up with supportive evidence, President Obama isn't going to look into why SEAL Team Six was in my house last night!

P.S. I have an article I wrote about Pre-Apocylaptic Martian gene therapy used to control banana backcrossing in Precambrian Asia I'd like published.
obama_socks
1 / 5 (11) Aug 02, 2013
LOL...321BIOS is quite apparently another sock puppet of Theghostofotto1923. Why? Because to GhostofOtto aka FrankHerbert/BAKOON/ and all his other sockpuppets, it is great fun to ruin good threads and either surreptitiously or blatantly harass certain individuals by poking fun at their comments. This gives Ghost a sense of power. Isn't that right, Blotto?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (10) Aug 02, 2013
LOL...321BIOS is quite apparently another sock puppet of Theghostofotto1923. Why? Because to GhostofOtto aka FrankHerbert/BAKOON/ and all his other sockpuppets, it is great fun to ruin good threads and either surreptitiously or blatantly harass certain individuals by poking fun at their comments. This gives Ghost a sense of power. Isn't that right, Blotto?
Sorry freak I actually think this idea makes sense, and have said so further up.
poking fun at their comments
ANYBODY who posts here should expect that their posts will be scrutinized and commented on. You consistently post absolute rubbish, and myself and others here understandably take exception to this.

For a long list of only some of the bullshit you have posted under only one of your many suckpuppets, please see my profile page.

Say does your interest in webbed toes have some personal significance? Perhap an unfortunate result of inbreeding within the pussytard bloodline?

Munich.... ahaahaaahaaaa
obama_socks
1 / 5 (13) Aug 02, 2013
I haven't got any sockpuppets other than the two that I made up recently to prevent Blotto/Theghostofotto1923 from continuing its consistent harassment and ridiculous assertions toward me. I do not use those names anymore as they have served their purpose in affording me the peace of commenting with others towards good discussions without disruption as in this thread and in other threads.

Blotto also has harassed and vilified innocent people such as Estevan57, CaptainStumpy (newcomer), Pirouette, Pussycat_Eyes, Russkycremepuff, and a host of many others, including antialias_physorg and Noumenon on occasion...as a desperate attempt at gaining attention and admiration for its ability to Google search on each topic just prior to commenting.

All anyone has to do is to follow Theghostofotto1923 into the threads to determine that his rantings and ad hominems are the result of his mental illnesses and desire for power and control over those he disagrees with.
obama_socks
1 / 5 (13) Aug 02, 2013
Theghostofotto1923 has been diagnosed by a psychiatric nurse who used to comment under the name Pussycat_Eyes and who has had to change her user name to escape the unwanted and vitriolic attentions from Theghostofotto, and who had the complete professional acceptance of her assertions by her superiors at the Psychiatric department in which she is employed.

Theghostofotto1923 is a classic example of one who suffers from DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER - having many identities residing within his mind whose personalities differ from each other, but each retaining the same speech patterns and forms of attack, as well as poking fun at comments by twisting the texts of what was said and then presenting the twisted version to the commenter.
These are some of Theghostofotto's "modus operandi" plus his attempt to CENSOR comments - that runs counter to Physorg's 'Terms of Service' or the rules of the website.

Blotto breaks all the rules and gets away with it because Physorg doesn't care.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (12) Aug 02, 2013
I haven't got any sockpuppets other than the two that I made up recently
But youre a liar. Documented.
http://phys.org/profile/
I do not use those names anymore as they have served their purpose in affording me the peace of commenting with others towards good discussions without disruption as in this thread and in other threads
My but arent we sounding eloquent today. Certainly not like yesterday
Hey Blotto, how's your mama's pussy. I hear you've been giving her a good lickin and she still keeps on tickin, aye? Here puss puss
...ad hominems did you say?
ad hominems
-Why yes you did.
Theghostofotto1923 has been diagnosed by a psychiatric nurse who used to comment under the name Pussycat_Eyes
-But she is a LIAR. Which is understandable because she is you.
Blotto breaks all the rules and gets away with it
You are a flooder, a liar, and obscene.

You continue to drop em and I will continue to copy/paste em as I feel it is my civic duty.
VCRAGAIN
1.8 / 5 (10) Aug 02, 2013
The comments to Dr. McCarthy on this site have been unbelievably rude considering his scientific standing - he is being very brave to put out his ideas into the mainstream instead of just going the old fashioned route of begging for recognition from 'peers' with all that implies - remember the 'peers' have their own careers/positions to protect - they do not always welcome new wild ideas - and here we are getting a first hand discussion of a wild and new concept ! While it may be wrong ( we shall in due course hopefully find the ultimate truth ) - all of history has followed the same path - generally those who stick their neck out are only proved right long after they have died. I think we owe him a big thank-you for allowing the public to share in this discussion.
VCRAGAIN
1.8 / 5 (10) Aug 02, 2013
The comments to Dr. McCarthy on this site have been unbelievably rude considering his scientific standing - he is being very brave to put out his ideas into the mainstream instead of just going the old fashioned route of begging for recognition from 'peers' with all that implies - remember the 'peers' have their own careers/positions to protect - they do not always welcome new wild ideas - and here we are getting a first hand discussion of a wild and new concept ! While it may be wrong ( we shall in due course hopefully find the ultimate truth ) - all of history has followed the same path - generally those who stick their neck out are only proved right long after they have died. I think we owe him a big thank-you for allowing the public to share in this discussion.
VCRAGAIN
1.8 / 5 (10) Aug 02, 2013
The comments to Dr. McCarthy on this site have been unbelievably rude considering his scientific standing - he is being very brave to put out his ideas into the mainstream instead of just going the old fashioned route of begging for recognition from 'peers' with all that implies - remember the 'peers' have their own careers/positions to protect - they do not always welcome new wild ideas - and here we are getting a first hand discussion of a wild and new concept ! While it may be wrong ( we shall in due course hopefully find the ultimate truth ) - all of history has followed the same path - generally those who stick their neck out are only proved right long after they have died. I think we owe him a big thank-you for allowing the public to share in this discussion.
obama_socks
1.3 / 5 (12) Aug 02, 2013
@Dr. McCarthy

I didn't have to look very hard before I found this YouTube video of a german shepherd mating with a sow. I sent it over in email to my ex-wife, and she answered with "Eeewwwwwww".

So we can establish that there can be sexual contact between dog and pig.

Now if someone can show a male pig having sex with a female chimp - that would be living proof of pig/chimp hybrid potential...despite all the similarities between human and pig.

http://www.youtub...K_q0sQcQ
galileolivingston
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 02, 2013
@TheGhostofOtto1923:

For some reason you have include my profile in whatever poop slinging game is going on here at phys.org.

Please don't do this.

321BIOS
1.9 / 5 (9) Aug 02, 2013
@obama_socks

I simply think it is beneath phys.org to publish such garbage as if Dr. McCarthy were some kind of courageous zeitgeist in the likes of Galileo or Darwin. It's a slap in the face to them and utter bullshit. I have no problem with Dr. McCarthy trying to get attention for his ideas, I DO have a problem with phys.org publishing this melodrama for the aforementioned reasons.
ViktorBout
3 / 5 (4) Aug 02, 2013
McCarthy/Koolokamba:

Are there any proven instances of hooved animals producing fertile offspring by mating with non-hooved animals?

Are there any proven examples of primates producing fertile offspring with non-primates?

What's the most distant proven hybridization (the biggest cross-species crossing) that produced fertile offspring? (The platypus has not been proven to be a hybrid. You have not yet shown us an article specifically claiming that it is a hybrid.)

I notice that this John Hewitt article says that cat-rabbit, rabbit-hen, dog-monkey, and dog-swan hybrids have occurred, but there's no substantiation for any of them. They all come from your collection of claimed hybrids , but each one is like the supposed possum-cat hybrid: "This cross is so distant that it would need formal verification by controlled experiment to be accepted as having actually occurred." Like the dog-monkey, you don't even claim that it exists.
321BIOS
1.5 / 5 (8) Aug 03, 2013
Holy background check! Dr. McCarthy is a lifelong bird hybrid expert and has never published a single shred of research relating to the genetics of mammals! Rule #1, dummies: always check your sources!

But wait, there's more!! He's an aspiring novelist- his main character is a pig-chimpanzee hybrid!!! hahahahahahahah!!!! Maybe this article was a press release meant for Marvel Comics. Oh, man, if this doesn't totally discredit him, there's no hope for any of you!

PS: Koolokamba is not Dr. McCarthy you idiots.

And shame on you all for bagging on the "establishment" for not publishing Dr. McCarthy and putting "Pig Hybrid Theory" in all of the 2014 biology texts next year.

Do any of you work in Washington DC??? Congress perhaps?

Just jokes really- I'm having a good time reading all of this jibberish based on other jibberish, which is the title of my new novel :)
321BIOS
1 / 5 (3) Aug 03, 2013
Horozontal gene transfer among different species and even different domains is actually documented and easily explains all of this without the need for unwed swine mothers in a time without condoms or Plan B or reliable daycare facilities.

And then there are lysogenic vectors- this 'crazy' idea was peer-reviewed and published by that dammed backward-thinking scientific establishment: Redrejo-Rodríguez, M, Muñoz-Espín, D, Holguera, I, Mencía, M, Salas, M, (2012). "Functional eukaryotic nuclear localization signals are widespread in terminal proteins of bacteriophages". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109 (45): 18482–7. doi:10.1073/pnas.1216635109. PMID 23091024.



SURFIN85
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 03, 2013
Complete conjecture and here is why: While this may be possible, that doesn't make it an intelligent scientific explanation worth seeing the light of day until a BODY of supportive evidence is gathered - This is also why there is no peer-review going on- there is nothing to review other than hypothetical musings.


Ya, sure. Conjecture, from an expert in his field, with supporting rationale and logical argument.
Matt2013
1 / 5 (3) Aug 04, 2013
Hm, in addition to the question of a viable offspring from a pairing not even in the same families, there is a question of physical capacity for such a pairing to have occurred between these two species. Believed a boar inseminated an ape...? Hardware issues: The penis of an ape, while it can be quite long in some species, rarely exceeds the diameter of a pencil. The penis of a boar is not only larger in diameter but comes equipped with a corkscrew end which can only be accommodated by the female of the same species. There is a recorded instance of a man who had anal sex with a pig which resulted in a puncture wound in his intestines. A female ape having sex with a male pig would likely result in fatal internal injuries for the chimp.
So, if male pig + female ape = human, then this would likely have had to have occurred through artificial insemination and we have some strong new evidence in support of the notion that extraterrestrials have played a significant role in human evolution.
DarkHorse66
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 05, 2013
@TheGhostofOtto1923:
For some reason you have include my profile in whatever poop slinging game is going on here at phys.org.
Please don't do this.

@galilealiv I clicked on the same link &found my own profile cropping up. You confirmed what I had suspected quite quickly; that Otto had only posted half a link.In other words http://phys.org/profile/ is only the 'category' part of the address.The missing bit that should have followed that is 'user/(insert a specific username here)'.I can guarantee you that every single 1 of uswill find themselves directed back to their own profiles if we click on that link from inside of our accounts.I would say that the responsible algorithm is filling in the missing username info by reading it from there.I bet that evenOtto will find his own profile(instead of the intended 1)coming up -if he tests that link.Besides, the pg that came up for me was a page that is not for general viewing(private details)I suspect it's the same for all of us DH66 :)
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (8) Aug 05, 2013
@galilealiv I clicked on the same link &found my own profile cropping up. You confirmed what I had suspected quite quickly; that Otto had only posted half a link.
Yah sorry about that. This is the link to ottos very excellent profile page and museum of physorg trolls and bugs and biofilm
http://phys.org/p...tto1923/
Grall
5 / 5 (2) Aug 09, 2013
Why does it seem like everyone writing on this subject is ignoring the fact that chimpanzees back during this hybridization time (when is that anyway? Have they given a time frame?) were not the chimpanzees we know today, and neither were the pigs. In fact, very little is know about what chimp ancestors were like after they split from the human line since very little fossilizes in forest environments. Furthermore, has any research been done comparing pigs to hominid specimens that we have found like ardi and lucy? The idea is definitely very intriguing and I would like to see it explored more in depth as long as it doesn't become a freakshow. It has opened my mind up to the possibility of a lot of hominid ancestors stemming from hybrids that occurred between the human-chimp lines after the split.
Thrasymachus
2 / 5 (4) Aug 10, 2013
Why does it seem like everyone writing on this subject is ignoring the fact that chimpanzees back during this hybridization time (when is that anyway? Have they given a time frame?) were not the chimpanzees we know today, and neither were the pigs.

It's been mentioned several times in this thread alone. It's one of the largest reasons given for discounting this theory, as all the anatomical comparisons done by McCarthy are between modern types.
The idea is definitely very intriguing and I would like to see it explored more in depth as long as it doesn't become a freakshow. It has opened my mind up to the possibility of a lot of hominid ancestors stemming from hybrids that occurred between the human-chimp lines after the split.

There is little doubt that hybridization played a role in human evolution. There is convincing evidence of neanderthal/sapiens hybrids, for example. But the last common ancestor between swine and primates died off before the dinosaurs did.
Koolokamba
2 / 5 (8) Aug 13, 2013
McCarthy here:
(And yes, Koolokamba, IS Dr. Eugene McCarthy.) I just thought I'd comment in response to Thrasymachus's last comment ("the last common ancestor between swine and primates died off before the dinosaurs did"): Your claim, Thrasymachus, depends on the assumption that evolution can be adequately represented by a tree. When you have a tree showing the posited relationships of a set of organisms, you can always approximate the the time back to a common ancestor. That's the method biologists use. However, if hybridization during the course of evolution is widespread, as I am suggesting, then the actual topology of descent would be more like a complex net, not like a tree. So any conclusions about the "time to a common ancestor" -- which are based on the tree assumption -- fall to the ground. Clearly, then, it can't really be known when the last common ancestor of pigs and primates existed.
Thrasymachus
3 / 5 (4) Aug 13, 2013
Not really, no, because in order for hybridization to occur, divergence must have already occurred. All that widespread hybridization can do is muddy up the genetic record enough to make it appear that divergence may have happened later than it really did. Basically, if your theory about widespread hybridization is correct, then it would suggest that the divergence point between pigs and primates is even older than real biologists currently think it is. With widespread gene-sharing enabled by easy hybridization, it takes longer for somewhat diverged species to become further diverged.
Koolokamba
1.9 / 5 (9) Aug 13, 2013
McCarthy here:
Thrasymachus, you seem to think that you can take for granted such things as divergence and the existence, in any given case, of a single, most recent common ancestor. But such concepts are assumptions of the particular theory in terms of which you think. But if hybridization is a typical process in evolution, you would expect, at any given stage of the evolutionary process, for a variety of preexisting forms to be hybridizing to produce a variety of offspring forms. So divergence, at least divergence in the sense that you mean it, would not even exist. On the basis of the fossil record, we know that at every stage of evolution a variety of life forms have existed. So, at least in principle, hybridization has always been possible. We know of no stage, documented by fossils, where "divergence" would have been first required, as you suggest, for hybridization to occur.
Thrasymachus
2.6 / 5 (5) Aug 13, 2013
So now you're gonna deny the universality of common descent? This is beginning to smell more and more like crypto-Creationism.
Koolokamba
2 / 5 (8) Aug 13, 2013
McCarthy here:
You don't seem to understand that I'm considering alternative hypotheses, looking to see which is more consistent with available data. I'm not denying (or affirming) a creed. I'm not even sure what you mean by the "universality" of common descent. Are you expressing some sort of faith that we're all descended from some single organism that lived a couple of billion years ago? I don't know anything about that. How could I? From my perspective that belief is just a necessary implication of the particular theoretical construct to which you adhere. If you believe in treelike descent, then I suppose you'd have to believe that there is one, single, ULTIMATE ANCESTOR. But I don't believe in treelike descent. To me that looks like a figment.
Koolokamba
1.9 / 5 (9) Aug 13, 2013
McCarthy here.
Perhaps I should explain a little further. The mere fact that you can arrange various types organisms into a tree based on their various characteristics does not imply that their evolutionary history was treelike, that is, that can be accurately described in terms strict dichotomous branching. For example, take the various things in my basement. I could arrange them, too, into a tree on the basis of their various characteristics. And I'm sure my washer and drier would be on adjacent branches of that tree. They share a lot of traits. They're both white, both metal, both electronic, both cube-shaped, etc. But I would never imagine that they share a recent common ancestor. That's why I say all this notion of yours about "divergent descent" is just a figment. The real mode of descent, what's really happening with evolution, might very well be something entirely different from what you imagine.
VCRAGAIN
1.8 / 5 (10) Aug 14, 2013
The base issue here for anyone steeped in accepted Evolution, is that Dr McCarthy is upsetting their applecart - I think this is a good thing, BUT I can see that for anyone who hates NON-Evolution, this is dangerous because they feel that Creationists are coming at them from a different angle (and that means RELIGION is behind it - ugh !! )
I personally love the applecart-upsetting but we should all be just looking for truth, which unfortunately you can't do if you are hung up on what your Pastor is telling you on Sundays !
On the other hand if newer discoveries show us that yes - there was a creation at some point, why would we fight that truth, at some point SOMETHING got created didn't it, unless you think that before the bang was nothing - so who created the first electron/neutron/positron ?
Keep up the good work Dr McCarthy, I love your ideas !
Koolokamba
2.2 / 5 (12) Aug 14, 2013
McCarthy here:
VCRAGAIN: Thanks so much! It's always great to have people like you chiming in, because it's to the extent that others chime in, not to the extent that I tout it, that this theory will get serious attention. After all, without people like you, I'd just be one guy blowing his own horn. But don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to upset anyone's apple cart. I used to ride in the exactly same cart as Thrasymachus. That's why I look at his comments sympathetically. Years ago, I might have been saying the same thing. It was, as you say, "looking for the truth" and this pig-chimp hypothesis that dumped my cart off a cliff.
Seattle Reader
1 / 5 (4) Aug 22, 2013
I just finished an episode of 'House' today. Nobody in that show could be trusted to say what he was really up to. Best show on TV.... Everybody lies. McCarthy. (I bet you liked that show). Time for another drink.... I don't have anything stronger.

More news stories

Low Vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms

A new study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopa ...

Astronomers: 'Tilt-a-worlds' could harbor life

A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by astronomers at the University of Washington, Utah's Weber State University and NASA. In fact, ...