Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
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13-08-2013, 03:23 PM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
I think the most important thing to realize about the chimp-pig theory is that it is, itself, a test of whether distant hybrids can occur. That is, if it turns out to be true, then we will know that distant fertile hybrids can occur, at least on occasion. Whereas, certain opponents of the chimp-pig theory say they somehow know that such distant hybrids are impossible, ergo the theory can't be true. As I see it, this is putting the intellectual cart before the horse. People who argue that way argue by positing something they can't know (i.e., that such hybrids are impossible) in order to show that something they can potentially know (i.e., that such hybrids are possible) is impossible.
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13-08-2013, 04:02 PM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
And I should perhaps add that I've documented a lot of reports about some very strange hybrids on my website (http://www.macroevolution.net/mammalian-...sf235T1U). The only thing I'm not sure of is exactly how weird they can get. =o
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13-08-2013, 07:56 PM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
(13-08-2013 03:23 PM)koolokamba Wrote:  I think the most important thing to realize about the chimp-pig theory is that it is, itself, a test of whether distant hybrids can occur. That is, if it turns out to be true, then we will know that distant fertile hybrids can occur, at least on occasion. Whereas, certain opponents of the chimp-pig theory say they somehow know that such distant hybrids are impossible, ergo the theory can't be true. As I see it, this is putting the intellectual cart before the horse. People who argue that way argue by positing something they can't know (i.e., that such hybrids are impossible) in order to show that something they can potentially know (i.e., that such hybrids are possible) is impossible.

I don't think anyone here claimed they were impossible. Reference?

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13-08-2013, 08:13 PM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
(13-08-2013 03:23 PM)koolokamba Wrote:  I think the most important thing to realize about the chimp-pig theory is that it is, itself, a test of whether distant hybrids can occur. That is, if it turns out to be true, then we will know that distant fertile hybrids can occur, at least on occasion. Whereas, certain opponents of the chimp-pig theory say they somehow know that such distant hybrids are impossible, ergo the theory can't be true. As I see it, this is putting the intellectual cart before the horse. People who argue that way argue by positing something they can't know (i.e., that such hybrids are impossible) in order to show that something they can potentially know (i.e., that such hybrids are possible) is impossible.

Impossible?

No.

Sufficiently unlikely as to be dismissed, particularly by light of comparison to the overwhelming evidence for direct descent of homo sapiens (and, indeed, chimpanzees) from hominid ancestors?

Very much yes.

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13-08-2013, 09:17 PM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
(13-08-2013 08:13 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Impossible?

No.

Sufficiently unlikely as to be dismissed, particularly by light of comparison to the overwhelming evidence for direct descent of homo sapiens (and, indeed, chimpanzees) from hominid ancestors?

Very much yes.

How does this theory invalidate other evidence we may have in the form of fossil or preserved bone fragments?

My understanding is it simply offers an alternate explanation for some morphological changes and some similarities/differences between pigs and chimp/bonobo. It's a different interpretation of the available evidence.

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13-08-2013, 09:39 PM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
(13-08-2013 09:17 PM)DeepThought Wrote:  How does this theory invalidate other evidence we may have in the form of fossil or preserved bone fragments?

My understanding is it simply offers an alternate explanation for some morphological changes and some similarities/differences between pigs and chimp/bonobo. It's a different interpretation of the available evidence.

Well, the salient point is perhaps that all of the morphological features in question do not emerge simultaneously in modern humans - which they would have to, if they were all introduced from specific hybridization events.

And as I mentioned before - the supposed similarities are based on traits found in domestic pigs, a species whose ancestors (wild boar) did not coexist with ours.

That is on top of the fact that no hybridization has ever been observed between such distantly related species. Known hybridizations occur within the same family or genus (that is, generally, with common ancestry somewhat less than 10 million years ago). Humans and pigs - that is to say, primates and artiodactyls - that is to say, their ancestors, diverged about 100 million years ago.

Human/non-human sexual encounters can and do happen; none have ever produced offspring.

It is indeed a different interpretation. It is also a much less likely one. The above objections must be dealt with before it might even be considered possible.

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14-08-2013, 05:51 AM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
I've pasted in the quotations below in answer to comment #53 from Chas (i.e., "I don't think anyone here claimed they were impossible. Reference?"). BTW, this list is not exhaustive. And perhaps I should say that here I am equating "impossible" with such phrases as "extremely low probability" or "I ain't seeing it" or "not credible" or "wild leap" which amount to claims that such a cross cannot, or cannot plausibly occur. With regard to this topic, I agree Mark Twain: "Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't."

Chas wrote (comment #9 in this thread):
"The probability of a human/pig zygote occurring is extremely low, so there would have to have been a whole lot of pig fucking going on. A lot."
HouseofCantor wrote (comment #10 in this thread):
"I hate to agree with Chas, 'cause he's a poopyhead, but I ain't seeing it. Seems more like stirring up a buncha controversy to make a name."
Ridethespiral wrote (comment #11 in this thread):
" And what are the chances of such a creature being fertile to boot. I'd say probably on the order of 0.000001%"
Chas wrote (comment #16 in this thread):
" My apparently jocular response about a lot of pig fucking was quite serious, in fact.
Is there some other mechanism proposed?"
Chas wrote (comment #20 in this thread):
" I have a decent understanding of hybridization. What is not present here is any convincing evidence of this hybridization or any credible mechanism for it."
Chas wrote (comment #22 in this thread):
" No, I speak with the voice of skepticism. There is insufficient evidence either from DNA or a credible mechanism."
Halnof wrote (comment #27 in this thread):
"I would rank this one as significantly less plausible than the aquatic ape hypothesis, if only because of the extreme non-sterile hybrids that would be required."
cjlr wrote (comment #30 in this thread):
" All known cases of hybridization occur between extremely closely related individuals. Humans and pigs descend from lineages whose last common ancestor was during the Cretaceous."
cjlr wrote (comment #33 in this thread):
" Human/pig hybrids - assuming such a thing is even possible, which is a wild leap, but sure, we'll roll with it - would necessarily be even less likely to be fertile."

cjlr wrote (comment #56 in this thread):
"no hybridization has ever been observed between such distantly related species. Known hybridizations occur within the same family or genus (that is, generally, with common ancestry somewhat less than 10 million years ago). Humans and pigs - that is to say, primates and artiodactyls - that is to say, their ancestors, diverged about 100 million years ago."
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14-08-2013, 05:59 AM (This post was last modified: 14-08-2013 06:03 AM by koolokamba.)
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
I think, too, in response to the the last passage ("Humans and pigs - that is to say, primates and artiodactyls - that is to say, their ancestors, diverged about 100 million years ago."), quoted in my last comment (#57), it would be worthwhile to quote an interchange that I had yesterday with user Thrasymachus in the comment section of one of the PhysOrg articles about my research (http://phys.org/news/2013-07-human-hybri...nce.html):

Koolokamba
(And yes, Koolokamba, IS Dr. Eugene McCarthy.) I just thought I'd comment in response to Thrasymachus's last comment ("the last common ancestor between swine and primates died off before the dinosaurs did"): Your claim, Thrasymachus, depends on the assumption that evolution can be adequately represented by a tree. When you have a tree showing the posited relationships of a set of organisms, you can always approximate the the time back to a common ancestor. That's the method biologists use. However, if hybridization during the course of evolution is widespread, as I am suggesting, then the actual topology of descent would be more like a complex net, not like a tree. So any conclusions about the "time to a common ancestor" -- which are based on the tree assumption -- fall to the ground. Clearly, then, it can't really be known when the last common ancestor of pigs and primates existed.
Thrasymachusnot rated yet 8 hours ago
Not really, no, because in order for hybridization to occur, divergence must have already occurred. All that widespread hybridization can do is muddy up the genetic record enough to make it appear that divergence may have happened later than it really did. Basically, if your theory about widespread hybridization is correct, then it would suggest that the divergence point between pigs and primates is even older than real biologists currently think it is. With widespread gene-sharing enabled by easy hybridization, it takes longer for somewhat diverged species to become further diverged.
Koolokamba1 / 5 (2) 6 hours ago
McCarthy here:
Thrasymachus, you seem to think that you can take for granted such things as divergence and the existence, in any given case, of a single, most recent common ancestor. But such concepts are assumptions of the particular theory in terms of which you think. But if hybridization is a typical process in evolution, you would expect, at any given stage of the evolutionary process, for a variety of preexisting forms to be hybridizing to produce a variety of offspring forms. So divergence, at least divergence in the sense that you mean it, would not even exist. On the basis of the fossil record, we know that at every stage of evolution a variety of life forms have existed. So, at least in principle, hybridization has always been possible. We know of no stage, documented by fossils, where "divergence" would have been first required, as you suggest, for hybridization to occur.
Thrasymachusnot rated yet 2 hours ago
So now you're gonna deny the universality of common descent? This is beginning to smell more and more like crypto-Creationism.
Koolokamba1 / 5 (1) 1 hour ago
McCarthy here:
You don't seem to understand that I'm considering alternative hypotheses, looking to see which is more consistent with available data. I'm not denying (or affirming) a creed. I'm not even sure what you mean by the "universality" of common descent. Are you expressing some sort of faith that we're all descended from some single organism that lived a couple of billion years ago? I don't know anything about that. How could I? From my perspective that belief is just a necessary implication of the particular theoretical construct to which you adhere. If you believe in treelike descent, then I suppose you'd have to believe that there is one, single, ULTIMATE ANCESTOR. But I don't believe in treelike descent. To me that looks like a figment.
Koolokamba1 / 5 (1) 1 hour ago
McCarthy here.
Perhaps I should explain a little further. The mere fact that you can arrange various types organisms into a tree based on their various characteristics does not imply that their evolutionary history was treelike, that is, that it can be accurately described in terms of strict dichotomous branching. For example, take the various things in my basement. I could arrange them, too, into a tree on the basis of their various characteristics. And I'm sure my washer and drier would be on adjacent branches of that tree. They share a lot of traits. They're both white, both metal, both electronic, both cube-shaped, etc. But I would never imagine that they share a recent common ancestor. That's why I say all this notion of yours about "divergent descent" is just a figment. The real mode of descent, what's really happening with evolution, might very well be something entirely different from what you imagine.
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14-08-2013, 06:01 AM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
(14-08-2013 05:51 AM)koolokamba Wrote:  I've pasted in the quotations below in answer to comment #53 from Chas (i.e., "I don't think anyone here claimed they were impossible. Reference?"). BTW, this list is not exhaustive. And perhaps I should say that here I am equating "impossible" with such phrases as "extremely low probability" or "I ain't seeing it" or "not credible" or "wild leap" which amount to claims that such a cross cannot, or cannot plausibly occur. With regard to this topic, I agree Mark Twain: "Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't."

Chas wrote (comment #9 in this thread):
"The probability of a human/pig zygote occurring is extremely low, so there would have to have been a whole lot of pig fucking going on. A lot."
HouseofCantor wrote (comment #10 in this thread):
"I hate to agree with Chas, 'cause he's a poopyhead, but I ain't seeing it. Seems more like stirring up a buncha controversy to make a name."
Ridethespiral wrote (comment #11 in this thread):
" And what are the chances of such a creature being fertile to boot. I'd say probably on the order of 0.000001%"
Chas wrote (comment #16 in this thread):
" My apparently jocular response about a lot of pig fucking was quite serious, in fact.
Is there some other mechanism proposed?"
Chas wrote (comment #20 in this thread):
" I have a decent understanding of hybridization. What is not present here is any convincing evidence of this hybridization or any credible mechanism for it."
Chas wrote (comment #22 in this thread):
" No, I speak with the voice of skepticism. There is insufficient evidence either from DNA or a credible mechanism."
Halnof wrote (comment #27 in this thread):
"I would rank this one as significantly less plausible than the aquatic ape hypothesis, if only because of the extreme non-sterile hybrids that would be required."
cjlr wrote (comment #30 in this thread):
" All known cases of hybridization occur between extremely closely related individuals. Humans and pigs descend from lineages whose last common ancestor was during the Cretaceous."
cjlr wrote (comment #33 in this thread):
" Human/pig hybrids - assuming such a thing is even possible, which is a wild leap, but sure, we'll roll with it - would necessarily be even less likely to be fertile."

cjlr wrote (comment #56 in this thread):
"no hybridization has ever been observed between such distantly related species. Known hybridizations occur within the same family or genus (that is, generally, with common ancestry somewhat less than 10 million years ago). Humans and pigs - that is to say, primates and artiodactyls - that is to say, their ancestors, diverged about 100 million years ago."

Equating "extremely low probability" with "impossible" mischaracterizes what I said, and is simply untrue. "Impossible" means 0 probability.

Please quote me accurately or not at all.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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14-08-2013, 06:05 AM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
(14-08-2013 05:59 AM)koolokamba Wrote:  I think, too, in response to the the last passage ("Humans and pigs - that is to say, primates and artiodactyls - that is to say, their ancestors, diverged about 100 million years ago."), quoted in my last comment (#57), it would be worthwhile to quote an interchange that I had yesterday with user Thrasymachus in the comment section of one of the PhysOrg articles about my research (http://phys.org/news/2013-07-human-hybri...nce.html):

Koolokamba
(And yes, Koolokamba, IS Dr. Eugene McCarthy.) I just thought I'd comment in response to Thrasymachus's last comment ("the last common ancestor between swine and primates died off before the dinosaurs did"): Your claim, Thrasymachus, depends on the assumption that evolution can be adequately represented by a tree. When you have a tree showing the posited relationships of a set of organisms, you can always approximate the the time back to a common ancestor. That's the method biologists use. However, if hybridization during the course of evolution is widespread, as I am suggesting, then the actual topology of descent would be more like a complex net, not like a tree. So any conclusions about the "time to a common ancestor" -- which are based on the tree assumption -- fall to the ground. Clearly, then, it can't really be known when the last common ancestor of pigs and primates existed.
Thrasymachusnot rated yet 8 hours ago
Not really, no, because in order for hybridization to occur, divergence must have already occurred. All that widespread hybridization can do is muddy up the genetic record enough to make it appear that divergence may have happened later than it really did. Basically, if your theory about widespread hybridization is correct, then it would suggest that the divergence point between pigs and primates is even older than real biologists currently think it is. With widespread gene-sharing enabled by easy hybridization, it takes longer for somewhat diverged species to become further diverged.
Koolokamba1 / 5 (2) 6 hours ago
McCarthy here:
Thrasymachus, you seem to think that you can take for granted such things as divergence and the existence, in any given case, of a single, most recent common ancestor. But such concepts are assumptions of the particular theory in terms of which you think. But if hybridization is a typical process in evolution, you would expect, at any given stage of the evolutionary process, for a variety of preexisting forms to be hybridizing to produce a variety of offspring forms. So divergence, at least divergence in the sense that you mean it, would not even exist. On the basis of the fossil record, we know that at every stage of evolution a variety of life forms have existed. So, at least in principle, hybridization has always been possible. We know of no stage, documented by fossils, where "divergence" would have been first required, as you suggest, for hybridization to occur.
Thrasymachusnot rated yet 2 hours ago
So now you're gonna deny the universality of common descent? This is beginning to smell more and more like crypto-Creationism.
Koolokamba1 / 5 (1) 1 hour ago
McCarthy here:
You don't seem to understand that I'm considering alternative hypotheses, looking to see which is more consistent with available data. I'm not denying (or affirming) a creed. I'm not even sure what you mean by the "universality" of common descent. Are you expressing some sort of faith that we're all descended from some single organism that lived a couple of billion years ago? I don't know anything about that. How could I? From my perspective that belief is just a necessary implication of the particular theoretical construct to which you adhere. If you believe in treelike descent, then I suppose you'd have to believe that there is one, single, ULTIMATE ANCESTOR. But I don't believe in treelike descent. To me that looks like a figment.
Koolokamba1 / 5 (1) 1 hour ago
McCarthy here.
Perhaps I should explain a little further. The mere fact that you can arrange various types organisms into a tree based on their various characteristics does not imply that their evolutionary history was treelike, that is, that can be accurately described in terms of strict dichotomous branching. For example, take the various things in my basement. I could arrange them, too, into a tree on the basis of their various characteristics. And I'm sure my washer and drier would be on adjacent branches of that tree. They share a lot of traits. They're both white, both metal, both electronic, both cube-shaped, etc. But I would never imagine that they share a recent common ancestor. That's why I say all this notion of yours about "divergent descent" is just a figment. The real mode of descent, what's really happening with evolution, might very well be something entirely different from what you imagine.

You are going to need a lot more evidence to support your claim that evolutionary descent is not strictly, or predominantly, branching. The current evidence strongly indicate that it is.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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