Ape-Human Hybrids, Racism & Human Identity

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Anonymous

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#1
After reading about the cases of the mutant chimp "Oliver", who some scientists thought was a human/chimp hybrid, and the Russian "Wild woman" Zana, who might have been a Neanderthal and who had children by human men (her grandchildren are apparently still alive), I have become intrigued (and to some extent horrified) by the concept of possible hybridisation between apes and humans. This seems to raise questions about the exact definition of a human being - if an ape/human hybrid was created, would it have human rights? How many "human" rights do apes deserve, bearing in mind their apparent closeness to humans?

Also, when such a possibility is discussed, it seems to me that the discussion often veers close to racist stereotypes and "Social Darwinist" or fascist-influenced views of human evoluition, ie. that some "races" of humans are closer to apes than others, and therefore "less human". Apes in fiction are often used as such a veiled racist stereotype and to portray a symbolic representation of the "inhuman" non-white races - watch "King Kong" and think of the ape as representing the black American population, and at once you see the racist subtext of that movie. "Jungle Book", "Tarzan" and "Planet of the Apes" have similar symbolism.

So - anyone have any theories/information regarding this very disturbing article which turned up in my Google search of "ape human hybrid"? The site it comes from seems to have a very clear racist/ white supremacist agenda...

http://www.jrbooksonline.com/bassou.htm

My initial thought is that the individual in the photo (if it is not photoshopped) is human but suffers from a cranial deformity. Also it reminds me of a fairly recent Breaking News story on here about a mentally disabled Nigerian boy who was abandoned and claimed to be "raised by chimps". I hope the whole thing is just made up, but that doesnt stop it being sick racist propaganda.

Some other stuff that comes to mind on the general subject - "De Loys Ape" was "discovered" (or invented if you think it is a hoax) by an expedition sponsered by a man called Montandon who was trying to prove his racist theory of human evolution, that each human "race" evolved from a separate species of ape, so therefore they should not interbreed.

The fictional books "Star Beast" and "Shadow Hunter" by Will Baker deal with a future world in which humans persecute a new "race" (viewed in a very positive light, the message is anti-racist and somewhat Green/Gaia) descended from human/ape hybrids.

I also once read a book called "Borderline" about the discovery of a living missing link in (I think) New Guinea called "tropis" and an attempt to hybridise one with a human to try to create an exact legal definition of a human being - anyone know the author?

Also more info on "Zana" would be very useful, as would scientific info on whether human/ape hybridisation is in fact possible.

edited to add link to "boy raised by chimps" strory: http://news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,4136216%5E1702,00.html
 
A

Anonymous

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#2
I can't say that I give the thought of human/ape interbreeding much credence, even though we're all primates. The genetic differences are just too great to allow cross fertilisation. Barring the intervention of science (as in that BBC drama of not too long ago, 'Chimera') I don't think it could ever happen. The website of the article you quoted from, National Alliance , seems to be a standard issue American far right loony/extremist platform. They advertise the laughable 'Turner Diaries' and a computer game called 'Ethnic Cleansing' their blurb for which says:

'No, you can't shoot those pesky sub-humans in real life -- but you can in Ethnic Cleansing: The Game! Enter the virtual race war!'

The orginal article, 'Bassou: Man-Ape Hybrid,' shows someone suffering deformity/disability and people of all races can suffer from worse, so I don't see what point they were making.

As for the rights of primates, the BBC recently had an article on this here :

'Animal activists in the United States have launched a new campaign to let chimpanzees go to court.
The Chimpanzee Collaboratory says chimpanzees are so close to humans - sharing 98.7% of our genetic make-up - that they deserve to get the same kind of legal representation as children. '

The rights of animals (particularly primates and other species which may have developed consciousness) is a topic which I admit I am not well informed enough to comment on.

As for the 'blacks are not as highly evolved as whites' motif it's an idea as old as the publication of 'The Origin of Species,' and replaced earlier racist myths such as non-whites being the hewers of wood and drawers of water mentioned in the Old Testament. Complete arse.

The best allegory for racism where primates represent the oppressed must still be 'Planet of the Apes,' IMHO.
 

stu neville

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#3
My initial thought is that the individual in the photo (if it is not photoshopped) is human but suffers from a cranial deformity.
It looks like Bassou has microcephaly, sufferers of which were known as "pinheads" in less enlightened times. The condition is almost inevariably coupled with learning delay, but in most other respects sufferers can lead a fairly normal life.

It is a genetic condition, but from what I understand is no more prevalent in any particular race.

And yes, the rest of the site concerned is just vile.

I remember the rumours a few years back that the Chinese Government had attempted to splice humans with chimps - I don't suppose for one minute any of it was ever substantiated. Interesting how it's always the Chinese/Russians/Koreans/etc, and never the UK or the US, despite these last leading the world in genetic science. Perhaps we're looking the wrong way...:eek:
 

Inhabitant

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#4
Re the question 'How many "human" rights do apes deserve, bearing in mind their apparent closeness to humans?'. An excellent book on the subject is "The Great Ape Project" edited by Peter Singer...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos...687/sr=1-23/ref=sr_1_3_23/026-5858275-0745269

Re Zana the "wildwoman", I've read several times that Alan Wicker, as part of the "Wicker's World" series filmed in the 70s, actually tracked down and interviewed her alleged descendents in a rarely visited part of the Pamirs (I think). Does anyone remember seeing this program?
 
A

Anonymous

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#5
Hmmmmmm. Not sure if Ape-Human hybrids are impossible. I read somewhere(yeah, I know, I dont DO footnotes) that there had been live-born offspring from Horses and Cows (im sure the meat would be a delicacy in Belgium). If humans and Chimps share 98% of their DNA how close must Lions and Tigers or Goats and Sheep be? Ive seen live examples of both these hybrids. However I am not suggesting that this has any connection with the existing physical differences within human populations. I will not pander to fascists (unless "pander to" is a posh way of saying "kick")
 
A

Anonymous

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#6
Defining humans is a real moral minefield. But I think it has to be done.

One of the reasons I don't like the idea of proving the existence of say Bigfoot it that issue. What if they turn out to be neanderthals for example. Or at least some hairy creature that acts very human.
 
A

Anonymous

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#7
People seem to have a morbid tendency to think "If I can do it, then I must do it." You can rest assured, Goldstein, that sooner or later some bright spark will attempt to clone a human/chimpanzee hybrid. Ok, so it's probably beyond the reach of current gene technology, but it won't be forever. :madeyes:

Of course there's always the old turkey baster trick. I would guess that humans and chimps are close enough for viable offspring, even though they may well be sterile.

As for getting the semen into the right place in the traditional way .... the mind boggles. Who'd want to mate with something strong enough to rip your ... er ... arm off if you step out of line? As for the other potential combination, the same comment holds. :cross eye :blah:

Still there's no evidence for any hybrids to date, and given the manic inclination of male humans to mate with anything whether it moves or not, that may be all the evidence we need. :p
 
A

Anonymous

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#9
A man called Gordon?

That thing with 98% of the genes is usually quoted out of context. To someone who doesn't know better it sounds quite impressive. But less so when you find out that we also share 70% of our DNA with the mold that grows on your bread.

But I think that primates are close enough to humans for us to grant them special rights as compared to other animals. But I think many would feel it would be degrading us. I don't think it really matters how many genes they share with us. What matters is that they seem to have everything humans have. There is nothing big seperating us from them, it is all just gradients. They also have tool using for example, they seem to have something akin to religion and they have some idea of their own existence.
 
A

Anonymous

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#10
durriti said:
I read somewhere that there had been live-born offspring from Horses and Cows (im sure the meat would be a delicacy in Belgium).
Tsss... I could get offended by that. ;)

On a more serious note, I thought pigs were also very close genetically to humans, and had been shown to be more intelligent than chimps. It's just that they aren't designed to use tools. Does that mean I'll have to give up bacon?
 
A

Anonymous

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#11
I don't know the studies you refer to, so here's just what I think.
Pigs have been shown to be smarter than dogs. Many people feel we should not eat dog since they are so intelligent. So this should be bad news. I'm guessing the repsonse by most would be "so what, they're tasty!"

And I don't think they are very closely related to humans, but they are supposed to taste like us. I think it was someone on here who mentioned that her firefighter father gave up eating pig after having smelled too many roasted humans.
 

stu neville

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#12
Xanatic said:
And I don't think they are very closely related to humans, but they are supposed to taste like us. I think it was someone on here who mentioned that her firefighter father gave up eating pig after having smelled too many roasted humans.
AWWWW!:eek:

I was about to have a bacon butty!!

Where's the cheese....
 

stu neville

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#14
Inhabitant said:
What, the congealed mammary fluid?
Erm....honey? No, that's bee crap.

Ah, sod it. I'll have the bacon, and pretend I haven't read this thread:cool:

Stu
 
A

Anonymous

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#15
Cheese, that is disgusting. Just milk gone bad. All those students that are in need of money, should just sell that milk they've had in the fridge for 6 months anyway. Claim it is good for you and such.

Now honey is better. Mashed bees, hmmm :D
 
A

Anonymous

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#16
This article examines animal-human transplants, particularly pigs and baboons, and some of their ethical considerations. Another examination of the pros and cons here. And a last one here.

About the 'pigs are genetically close to humans' statement, I might be wrong. The literature seems to swing both ways, so I don't know. Any geneticists around?
 

carole

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#17
alien-man hybrids?

Going one step further, has anyone ever claimed knowledge of, or even claimed to be, an alien-human hybrid?

Carole
 
A

Anonymous

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#18
I think many have claimed to have seen them. You know, they get into a flying saucer and have sex and are then shown some strange looking foetuses. There are people who claim to be alien, but I don't know if any of them claim they are hybrids.
 

stu neville

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#19
Re: alien-man hybrids?

carole said:
Going one step further, has anyone ever claimed knowledge of, or even claimed to be, an alien-human hybrid?

Carole
That might explain Ian Duncan Smith: half man, half mekon.:D
 

carole

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#22
Re: Re: alien-man hybrids?

Stu Neville said:
That might explain Ian Duncan Smith: half man, half mekon.:D
So William Hague has handed the Mekon mantle over to him, then?

Carole
 
A

Anonymous

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#23
In New Guinea and the South Pacific, the aboriginal people supposedly used to call human flesh "long pig" for the very reason you mention, Xanatic.

Also, Terry Pratchett calls a street or district in Anhk-Morpork "Long Hogmeat" ..... hmmmmm.
 

Inhabitant

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#25
When sailors had to resort to cannibalism when shipwrecked etc -I thought that was where the term came from. Maybe wrong.
 
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Anonymous

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#26
Re: alien-man hybrids?

carole said:
Going one step further, has anyone ever claimed knowledge of, or even claimed to be, an alien-human hybrid?

Carole
I created an alien-human hybrid!

In an, um, work of fiction.

Nonny
 
A

Anonymous

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#27
Thanks for the Lovecraft story - very cool, very very creepy. Typical Lovecraft in a way, but with mysterious apes instead of mysterious fishlike alien-god-demon people, and quite obviously the inspiration for Chrichton's laughable "Congo" (which slipped my mind when I started this thread, but is in fact very relevant, if only for its stereotypical derivativeness of a) this Lovecraft story, b) King Kong, c) the De Loys/ Montandon expedition, and probably other stuff too).

Also reminds me a bit of the very Lovecraftian couple (and ther monstrous, apelike son)who inhabited the "Local Shop" in the League of Gentlemen...

Bringing aliens into it, there is of course the theory, touched on in Kubrick's 2001, that humans are actually descended from alien/ape hybrids.

And bringing politicians into it, I wonder if George Bush is related to the House of Jermyn... ;)
 

evilsprout

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#29
Re cows and horses producing offspring... sounds very unlikely. Bovines and equines are only superficially similar, ie they have hooves, but belong to two completely different mammal orders, Artiodactyla (cows, sheep, goats, pigs, antelopes, hippos etc) and Perissodactyla (horses, zebras, rhinos, tapirs etc). Interbreeding with other members of an animal's family is rare, I believe interbreeding between orders would be impossible.

There is speculation, however, that putting man in a seperate family (hominidae) is merely vanity, and we should be in the same family as the great apes (pongidae, which houses chimps, bonobos, gorillas and orang utans). Interbreeding between various members of a family is rare but no unheard of, ie sheep/goat hybrids. So it is possible that people and apes could produce offspring, allbeit sterile.

Incidentally, to produce fertile offspring, an animal has to mate with a member of the same species.

Ie a wolf (Canis lupus) can only produce fertile offspring with another wolf. However a Timber Wolf (Canis lupus rufus) and a Grey Wolf (Canis lupus lupus) could produce fertile offspring, because they are merely sub-species.

A wolf could mate with a member of its genus, such as a domestic dog (Canis familiaris), and produce sterile offspring. Think the mountie's dog in Due South.

After this it gets cloudy, occasionally two members of different genera within the same family can mate (ie the sheepgoat mentioned above). So I guess its possible that the wolf could very occasionally produce offspring with another animal from the family Canidae, say a fox (genus Vulpes) for example? (Geneticists jump in here please!)

After that I don't think two orders can mate, that would be like our sexually overactive wolf mating with a cat, bear, hyaena or mongoose.

However, the classification system is not faultless, and cross-species matings could prove animals to be closely related than we think.
 
A

Anonymous

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#30
I haven't heard of cows and horses mating. That would be strange. But I think a few mules have actually had offspring.

Also read an article some time ago where I think it was a horse that was sold on and found to be pregnant. Which baffled the previous owners since it hadn't been near any male horses. Untill the animal was born and was found to be half horse half other animal. I don't remember which animal but it was one that they had had going in the field with the horse, because there had never been a mating between them before. So there was no word for the kind of offspring they had. Sadly I can't remember what animal it was.
 
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