Human evolution may be the result of the ancient mating of a female chimpanzee and a male pig, at least according to one of the world’s top geneticists just this week. Dr. Eugene McCarthy, known as a leading authority in the field of animal hybridization, revealed his controversial hypothesis through an article on the website Macroevolution.net.
Dr. McCarthy suggests that rather than having its roots in the primate family alone, human evolution may stem from a crossover between chimpanzees and pigs. He bases this claim in part on that fact that while humans are genetically close to chimpanzees, they also have many physical traits that are quite distinct from chimpanzees. And in fact, traits that are quite distinct from all other primates.
He reasons that because these traits that distinguish humans from all other primates exist, that a primate, most likely a chimpanzee, must have cross-bred with a non-primate at some point in human evolutionary history. Further, he asserts that all of the traits present in humans to distinguish them from chimpanzees are also present in only one other animal, the common pig. Thus leading him to the conclusion that there is at least a possibility that a chimpanzee-pig pairing occurred eventually leading to human evolution as a result.
Dr. McCarthy appears to understand that this claim will seem outrageous to many and takes care to provide explanation for some of the arguments he is likely to face. For example, he preemptively explains that it would not, in fact, be impossible for a female chimpanzee and a male pig to mate. He admits that it may seem unlikely on the surface, but states that it is anatomically possible and that the typical behavior patterns of the two animals do not rule it out either. Further, while hybrid species will often produce sterile offspring, this is not an absolute rule and if the hybrid species does manage to survive, it is likely to have greatly improved fertility rates down the line through the process of natural selection.
Dr. McCarthy offers additional support for his hypothesis of human evolution by asking others to consider the fact that the organs of the pig are becoming commonly used as a part of human medical treatment. Transplantation of pig skin and pig heart valves are standard treatments for some human medical conditions. McCarthy also suggests that humans’ hairless skin, long eyelashes, the presence of a thick layer of subcutaneous fat, protruding noses and the occurrence of light-colored eyes point to the pig as a likely ancestor in the long road of human evolution.
Dr. McCarthy’s hypothesis is obviously a controversial one and would turn the entire notion of evolution as we know it upside down if proven to be true. Dr. McCarthy has had difficulty getting a publisher for his work on the idea that human evolution is the result of a chimpanzee-pig pairing, and so is publishing the ideas on his own via Macroevolution.net. He believes, however, that a hybridization explanation for human evolution would go a long way toward explaining previously unexplainable phenomena under Darwin’s evolutionary theory alone.
By Michele Wessel