Are Humanzees Possible?
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13-11-2013, 10:12 PM (This post was last modified: 14-11-2013 08:01 AM by ghostexorcist.)
Are Humanzees Possible?
I wrote most of this last year, but I decided to expand it slightly and post it here because of the positive comments from my last posting. I'll admit the last part is a bit depressing.
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Are Humanzees Possible?

By Jim R. McClanahan

Are Human-chimp hybrids (a.k.a. Humanzees) possible? This is a difficult question to answer with certainty. Prof. Robin Bernstein of George Washington University believes it might be possible in a lab setting, but there are three barriers to this happening in the wild: 1) humans and chimps would not normally look at each other as mates; 2) the biological mechanisms of human and chimp sexual reproduction are not exactly the same; and 3) There are great differences at the chromosomal level. I will go over each of these. First, animals tend to mate with their own species. This is because they are genetically programed to detect certain bodily attributes or hormones that make the males or females of their species attractive. In addition, species that are active in different areas tend not to come in contact with each other. So the chances of a male chimp and a female human or a female chimp and a male human finding each other attractive and mating in the wild is very slim. However, captive chimps have been shown to be attracted to humans. Two examples are Lucy Temerlin (1964-1987) and Washoe Gardner (1965-2007). Both were raised as human children—wearing clothing, eating at the table, sleeping in beds, etc.—so they each self-identified as humans since they didn’t grow up around other chimps. The two were also trained in American Sign Language by Dr. Roger Fouts. Lucy’s adopted father, the psychologist Dr. Maurice Temerlin, noted that she became sexually aroused by pictures of naked men in Play Girl. She would scratch at the penises with her finger and squat down over them. Washoe was quite enamored with several of her male keepers while staying at Central Washington University. She particularly liked the son of Dr. Fouts. He was so embarrassed by her advances that he stopped coming to the lab altogether.

Second, although both have similar reproductive systems, they are not exactly the same. For instance, chimpanzee penises are very long for their body size, but they are carrot-like in nature (i.e., it is wide at the base and tapers to a point). Human penises, on the other hand, are wide at the base and have a wide head. This means a chimp penis might not be rigid enough to reach far enough inside a human female to implant seed. The human penis might be too big to reach far enough inside a chimp female to do the same. It is important to mention that humans have forward-facing vaginas, while chimps have backwards-facing vaginas. Humans can have sex face to face, something that chimps can't do. Considering that chimps must mate in an awkward "doggie style," a human male might have problems orienting himself. The male chimp may have similar problems.

Third, chimps have 48 chromosomes (2 pairs of 24) and humans have 46 (2 pairs of 23). It is known that human chromosome 2 is simply a fused version of the chimp chromosome, which accounts for us having 2 less chromosomes. Animals with different chromosome counts can't usually mate, but there are a few instances where they have in closely related species. For example, horses have 64 (2 pairs of 32) and donkeys have 62 (2 pairs of 31), but they are able to produce a mule. Since the mule gets an unequal number of chromosomes from both parents, it is born sterile due to genetic abnormalities. Therefore, if a chimp-human hybrid could ever be brought to term, a male specimen probably wouldn't be able to reproduce. Yet, there is evidence that human ancestors and chimps might have interbred in the distant past.

The oldest fossil associated with the human lineage is around 7 million years old. This means the joint human-chimp ancestor probably lived around this time. Yet, genetic chronology shows that the split between the lineages happened around 5 million years ago. In his article "Two Splits Between Human and Chimp Lines Suggested," science journalist Nicholas Wade describes genetic research that reconciles the difference by positing the separate human and chimp lineages might have continued to breed and later split for a second and final time. Genetic chronology shows that the X chromosome in the human and chimp lineages split over a million years before the other chromosomes. Dr. David Reich of Cambridge, the head researcher on the project, suggests this could have been caused by hybrid females interbreeding with chimpanzees (since hybrid males would not have been able to reproduce). In addition, he further suggests that this interbreeding could have hastened human evolution since it would have allowed us to better adapt to the new environment of the African savannah. Paleoanthropologists like Dr. David Pilbeam of Harvard are not quick to accept the information since genetic chronology only provides "relative ages, which are translated into real time by reference to a timescale established by early ape and monkey fossils." Further research is needed to determine if the hybrid theory is correct.

[Image: n6tm.png]

A hairless chimpanzee.

The Russian biologist Ilya Ivanov tried for 4 years from 1926 to 1930 to produce a Humanzee in a lab setting. He initially gained permission from the French government and backing from the Soviet government in 1925 to start such experiments in Kindia, Guinea (northeastern Africa), but none of the chimps assigned to him a year later where sexually mature enough to carry children to term. He then relocated to the Guinean capital of Conakry in late 1926 to capture his own specimens. He artificially inseminated three female chimps with human sperm in early and mid-1927, but none of them became pregnant. After returning to Russia in 1929, he gained permission and backing from the Soviet government to conduct human trials. But after the 1929 election changed the USSR's power base, Ivanov's experiments were stopped and he was eventually arrested and exiled. To my knowledge, no one has tried (legally or otherwise) to create a Humanzee since then.

Barring the natural barriers mentioned above, I believe there might be a psychobiological explanation for why Ivanov's early batch of chimps did not become pregnant. Ivanov captured wild chimps and then confined them to cages. One was even shipped from Africa to France by boat. Dr. Fouts explains that such stress can cause adverse effects in chimps like hair-pulling and self-mutilation. Stress-induced chemicals like alpha-amylase have been shown to reduce a human woman's ability to become pregnant because it slows the descent of the egg after long periods of stress. So it's possible that the stress from prolonged confinement may have kept the chimp egg and human sperm from meeting. If he had used human-raised chimps who lived in spacious modern facilities, he may have had a better chance of succeeding. There is no telling what would have happened if the human trials were carried through.

But even if Humanzees were possible, there are some ethical concerns that would keep such a creature from being born. First and foremost, a hybrid would be doomed to have several neurological and morphological abnormalities. The brain of a chimp is one-third the size of a human. A Humanzee would surely have a much larger brain, but it probably wouldn’t be any bigger than two-thirds the size of our own; thus, they would essentially be mentally handicapped in comparison to us. Their reduced mental faculties may result in several learning disabilities. Chimps can’t talk because they have thin tongues incapable of the same movements as our own, and their larynx is too high in their throat. They also have a smaller space between their velum and epiglottis than we do (due to a difference in skull shape), which makes forming consonant sounds quite difficult. Wrapping vowels in consonants is what allows humans to communicate extra meaning. The hybrid would probably have to use a mixture of sign language and verbal speech to communicate. Chimps can’t walk upright for long periods of time due to a C-shaped spine, a flat pelvis, straight femurs, non-locking knees, and opposable big toes. The latter is designed for grasping and not supporting weight. Their wrists do not bend backwards because they place most of their weight on their knuckles. Their spines are also positioned further back on their skulls, which makes it easier for them to look forward while knuckle walking. There is no telling what the morphology of a Humanzee’s skeletal structure would be like, so crutches may be the only way that it could walk.

A second ethical concern is the hybrid’s place in the human world. Would it be given human rights or animal rights? It wouldn’t be quite human or quite chimpanzee, so the case would probably have to be taken before the Supreme Court. Great legal minds would have to debate the issue and better define what it means to be human. This is an interesting concept because one lawyer is currently seeking to assign “personhood” to an unnamed captive chimp in order to secure its release. Would the Humanzee be raised in a home or a lab? Much like signing chimps, it would probably be raised in a home environment early on, but the amount of autonomy would be minimal. It would most likely be under constant surveillance without ever being given the right of privacy. Would it be allowed to interact with humans its own age or go to school? As a child, it’s possible the hybrid could interact with other kids under supervised conditions, but going to a public school would be out of the question due to its abnormal appearance. It would most likely be homeschooled by the institution responsible for the experiment. As it neared puberty, it’s possible the Humanzee would be subject to the same rapid mood shifts and territoriality common to chimps. That plus its elevated levels of strength would make it dangerous to the general populous. So just like pet chimps who have outgrown their surroundings, it would probably have to be moved to a higher security facility akin to a prison. It could never be placed with a group of chimps because of its differences, so the hybrid would have to live in seclusion. Would it be allowed to propagate upon reaching sexual maturity? This is after all its right as a sentient being. If it was a male, the Humanzee might be sterile, but imagine if it wasn’t. Who would it mate with, a human or a chimp? Would we really want to damn its offspring to the same fate?
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13-11-2013, 10:23 PM (This post was last modified: 13-11-2013 11:01 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Are Humanzees Possible?
My sister tole me I'm a stupid ape. So there's that.

Will never happen. Way too many surface antigens, (such as HLA). Anything that got started (if the gamete could even survive at all, and even fertilization would more than likely be impossible due to all the pre-entry reactions that have to prepare the oocyte for the entry ... "recognition" would never happen) would spontaneously abort, and maybe cause anaphylaxis in the mother. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HLA-B27 Would require SEVERE immuno-supression.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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13-11-2013, 10:34 PM (This post was last modified: 13-11-2013 10:43 PM by ridethespiral.)
RE: Are Humanzees Possible?
Double post please remove.

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13-11-2013, 10:41 PM
RE: Are Humanzees Possible?
What about a hunobo? They love to fuck.

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13-11-2013, 11:08 PM
RE: Are Humanzees Possible?
I was LITERALLY just talking to someone about this today...funny. Haven't read the post yet though, so can't comment on it just yet. But I was just teaching a friend about why human evolution IS true, and the question of whether a humanzee was possible came up.

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13-11-2013, 11:32 PM
RE: Are Humanzees Possible?
Okay, now I've read it. Good report. I told my friend mostly the same thing. I'm glad you got Ilya Ivanov in there. That's actually a really interesting story!

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14-11-2013, 12:13 AM
RE: Are Humanzees Possible?
I think I worked for one.

[Image: reality.jpg?imgmax=800]
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