Tag Archives | Primates

Geneticist Thinks Man Evolved From Pig and Chimp Hybrid

ManBearPigLet’s see… who gets to be pissed off first? Scientists? Religious fundamentalists? The pork lobby? Al Gore? I’m going to go pop some popcorn.

Via The Times of India:

Turning the theory of human ancestry on its head, Dr Eugene McCarthy — one of the world’s leading authorities on hybridization in animals from the University of Georgia has suggested that humans didn’t evolve from just apes but was a backcross hybrid of a chimpanzee and pigs.

His hypothesis is based on the fact that though humans have many features in common with chimps, there are a lot more that don’t correspond to any other primates. He then suggests that there is only one animal in the animal kingdom that has all of the traits which distinguish humans from our primate cousins.

“What is this other animal that has all these traits? The answer is Sus scrofa – the ordinary pig” he says.

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Humans May Have Originated As A Pig-Chimp Hybrid

pig-chimpPerhaps the real reason human beings feel the urge to keep kosher/halal is that in pigs we subconsciously recognize a glimmer of ourselves. Phys.org reports:

Dr. Eugene McCarthy is a Ph.D. geneticist who has made a career out of studying hybridization in animals. He has amassed an impressive body of evidence suggesting that human origins can be best explained by hybridization between pigs and chimpanzees. Extraordinary theories require extraordinary evidence and McCarthy does not disappoint. Rather than relying on genetic sequence comparisons, he instead offers extensive anatomical comparisons, which are startling when taken together.

The list of anatomical specializations we may have gained from porcine philandering is too long to detail here. Similarities in the face, skin and organ microstructure alone are hard to explain away. A short list of differential features would include, multipyramidal kidney structure, presence of dermal melanocytes, melanoma, absence of a primate baculum (penis bone), surface lipid and carbohydrate composition of cell membranes, vocal cord structure, laryngeal sacs, diverticuli of the fetal stomach, intestinal “valves of Kerkring,” heart chamber symmetry, skin and cranial vasculature and method of cooling, and tooth structure.

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Could Humanity Have Descended From Aquatic Apes?

aquatic apesAre we all on team aqua ape? The admittedly far-fetched theory posits that certain key traits hint that humanity’s ape ancestors spent significant time in the water. Complete Genomics writes:

A controversial theory that humans evolved from amphibious apes has won new support. The aquatic ape theory, whose supporters include David Attenborough, suggests that apes emerged from the water, lost their fur, started to walk upright and then developed big brains.

While it has been treated with scorn by some scientists since it first emerged 50 years ago, it is backed by a committed group of academics, including Sir David. The group will hold a major London conference next week.

One of the organizers, Peter Rhys Evans told the Observer that humans are very different from other apes, as we lack fur, walk upright, have big brains and subcutaneous fat and have a descended larynx – which is common among aquatic animals.

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Did the Earliest Human Relatives Originate in Asia and Not Africa?

Reports Jennifer Viegas in Discovery News:
The ancestors of humans, apes and monkeys evolved first in Asia before moving on to Africa, suggests a new fossil find from Myanmar. Remains of a newly found primate, Afrasia djijidae, show this monkey-like animal lived 37 million years ago and was a likely ancestor of anthropoids — the group including humans, apes and monkeys. "Many people have heard about the 'Out of Africa' story of human origins and human evolution," said Christopher Beard, a Carnegie Museum of Natural History vertebrate paleontologist who co-authored a study about the fossil find in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Our paper is the logical precursor to that, because we are showing how the anthropoid ancestors of humans made their way 'Into Africa' in the first place."...
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Orangutans Use Tablets To Chat With Friends In Other Zoos

iMahal-largeBored orangutans enjoy using iPads to video chat with their fellow kind in other zoos – it seems that we’re all just monkeys poking at the glowing screens we’ve been given by our handlers. Via Popular Science:

Orangutans living in captivity will soon start using iPads for primate play-dates, using Skype or FaceTime to interact with their brethren in other zoos, according to zookeepers. The great apes have been playing with iPads for about six months at the Milwaukee County Zoo, and they’ve been such a hit that other zoos plan to introduce them, too.

The “Apps for Apes” program started after a zookeeper commented online about getting some iPads for her gorilla charges. Someone donated a used iPad, and it turned out the gorillas didn’t care for it. But the orangutans loved it.

Seeing the primates with iPads has an effect on zoo visitors, according to Richard Zimmerman, who directs Orangutan Outreach: “They have this recognition that these are amazing, cognitive, curious creatures,” he told the Times.

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Scientists Say Mythical Monster The Yeti Is Real, Lives In Siberia

103770942The existence of a giant, apelike monster, alternately known as Bigfoot, the Abominable Snowman, Sasquatch, et cetera, has long been scoffed at and dismissed as a hoax. However, an international team of scientists say the mythical beast is real and roaming the furthest reaches of Russia. Via TIME:

Scientists and yeti enthusiasts believe there may finally be solid evidence that the apelike creature roams the vast Siberian tundra.

A team of a dozen-plus experts from as far afield as Canada and Sweden have proclaimed themselves 95% certain of the mythical animal’s existence after a daylong conference in the town of Tashtagol in the Kemerovo region, some 2,000 miles east of Moscow. In recent years, locals there have reported sightings of the yeti, also known as the abominable snowman.

The Kemerovo government announced on Oct. 10 that a two-day expedition the previous weekend to the region’s Azassky cave and Karatag peak “collected irrefutable evidence” of yetis’ existence on the wintry plateau.

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First Advertising Campaign Targeted At Monkeys

800px-Cebus_olivaceus_gros_planThe advertising belief that sex sells may not just work on humans, but on monkeys too. That is what the first non-human aimed advertising campaign is basing its marketing strategy on. Via Wired:

A primatologist has created the first advertising campaign aimed at non-human primates and believes that it will be sex that sells.

Laurie Santos from Yale University’s Comparative Cognition Laboratory has teamed up with advertising agency Proton Studio to “determine where advertising has innate primate responses”.

Santos and team will create two foods specifically aimed at Capuchin monkeys — possibly two different colours of jelly. One will be featured on a billboard outside of the monkeys’ enclosure and the other will not. After a set period, the monkeys will be offered both foods. “If they tend toward one and not the other we’ll be witnessing preference shifting due to our advertising,” Keith Olwell of Proton told New Scientist.

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How A Human Virus Is Killing Endangered Gorillas

Mountain Gorilla

Photo: FlickreviewR (CC)

Alasdair Wilkins writes in io9:

There’s fewer than 800 Mountain Gorillas left in the entire world, and their survival depends in part on people willing to pay money to go see them. But all this human interaction is bringing gorillas into contact with dangerous diseases.

Although humans are most closely related to chimpanzees, gorillas rank a very respectable second, sharing about 98% of their DNA with us. The current zoological consensus is that there are two distinct species of gorillas, western and eastern, and these are further divided into two subspecies each.

While all the gorilla species are to some degree threatened, the population levels vary wildly. There are at least 100,000 Western Lowland Gorillas in the wild, and 4,000 in zoos, while fellow western subspecies, the rarely seen Cross River Gorilla, is thought to have a remaining population of just 280. As for the eastern subspecies, the Eastern Lowland Gorilla has a relatively healthy population of about 4,000.

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