Human hybrids: a closer look at the theory and evidence

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.

Human hybrids:  a closer look at the theory and evidence.
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.


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A chimp-pig hybrid origin for humans?

More information: www.macroevolution.net/
Journal information: Nature , PLoS Biology

© 2013 Phys.org

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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
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
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.

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
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
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?

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.

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
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.

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!

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".

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
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.

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?

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

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'.

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
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.

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

Jul 25, 2013
I can assure you that a human female cannot get pregnant by a dog or a horse.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
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
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?

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.

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

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
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?

Jul 25, 2013
We also plan to have Dr. McCarthy back on the show to go further into the discussion.

Jul 25, 2013
To talk about the platypus, dogs, and more of his counter arguments.

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. ;-)

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.

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.

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.

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

Jul 25, 2013
For a more in-depth, technical exposition of the hybridization theory see "Xanth" work, produced by Piers Anthony.

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.

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?

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
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.

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
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.

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.

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
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.

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
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.

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
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."

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.

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
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.

Jul 25, 2013
I thought Allah turned people into apes and pigs, not the other way around.

Jul 25, 2013
I thought Allah turned people into apes and pigs, not the other way around.


You are what you eat. :>

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
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.

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."


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
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.

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
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.

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.

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.

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."

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
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
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.

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.

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
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.

Gmr
Jul 26, 2013
Welcome to the compound, Mandan. Mind the gold Rolls-Royce. : )

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.

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.


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
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
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?

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
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.

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
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!

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.


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.

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.

Jul 26, 2013
Requiem So you think it is all BS. Yep I get that. Have a nice day.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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?

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
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.

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...

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.

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.

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
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
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.

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?

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
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.

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
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.

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).

Jul 26, 2013
to be removed, please.

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.

Jul 26, 2013
JohnGee: Thanks. I'll try. LOL indeed!

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.

Jul 26, 2013
This hybrid stuff is old hat already-

http://www.youtub...TI4vXQEQ


Gmr
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.

Jul 26, 2013
grondilu, that sort of test would never make it past an ethics committee

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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

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. ;-)

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.

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...

Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here:
Smithder (@grondilu): "Look in the mirror, and what do you see?"

LOL! What indeed!

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?

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 ...

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.

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.

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
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).

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 ...."

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.

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.

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
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.

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.

Jul 26, 2013
Oh dear, how many times? The hypothesis is based on Mr Piggy

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...

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.

Jul 26, 2013
to be removed please

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.

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
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.

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
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.

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/

Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
Oink! Oink! Snort! Oink!

Jul 26, 2013
"Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't."
Mark Twain

Jul 26, 2013
"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
Mark Twain

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.

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...

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.

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

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?

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.

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.

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 :-) )

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. ;-)

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. ;-)

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.

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.

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?).

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.

Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: I know. It's gross. But, hey, you kept bringing it up. ;-)

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.

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?


Jul 26, 2013
McCarthy here.
grondilu: Well? What do you think? Is that the kind of hybrid you were looking for?

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
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.

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?

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.

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

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.

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.

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'!" ;-)

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.

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!

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?

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
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Gmr
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...

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.

Gmr
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?"

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.

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.

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

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.

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).