Let’s face it, our ancestors were a little slutty

Uka is thankful for fire.

A new study out of Uppsala University in Sweden strongly indicates that ancestors to humans slept around; crossing the species lines numerous times creating strings of hybridizations that jumbled up gene pools and made for very awkward family gatherings at Thanksgiving. How awkward? Picture an Amish boy bringing Snookie home to meet his parents… or any guy bringing Snookie home to meet his parents.

From the article Siberians share DNA with extinct human species in The Telegraph:

Professor Mattias Jakobsson, of Uppsala University in Sweden who conducted the study together with graduate student Pontus Skoglund, said hybridisation took place at several points in evolution and the genetic traces of this can be found in several places in the world.

He said: “We’ll probably be uncovering more events like these.

“Previous studies have found two separate hybridisation events between so-called archaic humans – different from modern humans in both genetics and morphology – and the ancestors of modern humans after their emergence from Africa.

I find this study to be extremely cool. I’ve long believed that the deeper we dig into our evolutionary past, the more we’ll discover that we Homo sapiens didn’t drive other hominid groups to extinction through murder and mayhem, but through love and understanding which resulted into widespread genetic integration. You can read between the lines there.

In fact, this is part of the current discussion going on within the Bigfoot community. Unsubstantiated and unauthorized leaked results of Dr. Ketchum’s DNA study suggest our giant man of the forests could be a hybrid species that is part modern human and part unknown archaic hominid species. In fact, some have even gone on to say that the study shows that the genetic gap between Bigfoot and human is smaller than that of our closest known living ancestor, chimpanzees – 37.5% closer, to be exact.

Of course, no one really knows what Dr. K has, so for now we have to dismiss any discussion about the study as hearsay. In the literal sense, she’s made no known discovery. On the other hand, Professor Jakobsson has, and I’m interested to see where his study takes us.

Note to Snookie fans: I’m sorry if I offended you, but in my defense, I didn’t think you could read.

Human/Animal Hybrids

Oliver, just a chimp or something more?

Oliver, just a chimp or something more?

 

I’m going through one of those phases where I am endlessly fascinated by a particular topic.  This time it is cloning and embryonic stem cell research.  In particular, I’m interested in the creation of human/animal hybrid embryonic cells.   They have done so with a human and a cow.  This was done in the name of scientific research.  They hope to create viable embryonic stem cells that they can one day be used in the research and treatment of various diseases and catastrophic injuries.  Sounds like a plot out of your basic science fiction novel, but it’s real and what’s more, I’m in favor of the research.  What concerns me is that it won’t stop with the embryonic stage.  To convince ourselves that it will is naïve.  Science is driven by curiosity, and curiosity is born from that one archetypal question “What if?”  What if we can carry it past the fetus stage and create a living breathing creature? 

Before cloning, before the first heart transplant, before antibiotics were widely used, it is rumored that in the 1920s the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Orange Park, Florida brought a human-chimp (humanzee) baby to full term.  It in fact lived for several days before they decided to destroy it.  An adult female chimp was artificially inseminated with human sperm.  This is all from an eyewitness account told to Gordon G. Gallup, Jr, PhD.

This was done almost 90 years ago.  Think of what science could do now.  There’s also evidence that both the Soviets and the Chinese dabbled in human/ape hybrid experiments.  To what end, no one really knows, but it seems clear they did conduct studies.

It’s almost certain that science will move beyond the embryonic stage with human/animal hybrids.  It’s quite possible they’ve all ready done so.  What we have to ask ourselves as a society is what rights will these scientific creations possess.  Will they be afforded human rights, or will they be afforded your basic animal rights where they are guaranteed nothing more than humane treatment?  Will they be used for medical research? 

On the face of it, these sound like ridiculous questions, but the day will come when humanity will have to consider these questions.  We should do all the future generations a favor and start the discussion now.