This Doctor Believes That We, Humans, Evolved When Chimps Mated With Pigs

Back in July 2013, Eugene McCarthy proposed that humans are the result of hybridization between chimps and pigs. This didn't get much attention at the time, but today's Daily Mail discussed it, so there might be an upswing of attention.

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A certain Dr. Eugene McCarthy, who, according to the Daily Mail, is a leading geneticist and also one of the world's leading authorities on hybridisation in animals, has claimed that humans are the result of hybridization between chimps and pigs

Screengrab from the Daily Mail website.

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The Daily Mail reports: "He points out that while humans have many features in common with chimps, we also have a large number of distinguishing characteristics not found in any other primates. 'What is this other animal that has all these traits?' he asks rhetorically. 'The answer is Sus scrofa, the ordinary pig.'"

Eugene McCarthy proposed this back in July of 2013. This didn't get much attention at the time, but today's Daily Mail discussed it, so there might be an upswing of attention. So, who is the claimant actually?

Eugene McCarthy acquired his BS (in Mathematics), MS (in Genetics) and PhD (in Genetics) at the University of Georgia; the last of these degrees he acquired in 2003. According to his Google+, he is a geneticist, evolutionary theorist, author, and web entrepreneur.

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His employment for the last 5 years has been his website, To quote from his website:

"During my years at the genetics department, I became increasingly dissatisfied with the standard explanation of evolution. The more I read about fossils, the more convinced I became that Darwin's account of the evolutionary process was fundamentally flawed. Moreover, in my study of hybrids I became aware that an alternative way of thinking about evolution, what I now call "stabilization theory," could do a better job of explaining the available data."

So, basically, in his own words, Dr. McCarthy thinks evolutionary science is wrong somehow but thinks he knows better

Dr. McCarthy does have a book about bird hybrids published by Oxford University Press, which appears to be his most recent published scientific work; his attempts to publish a similar book about mammals and about his new theory of animal origins have not worked out, possibly because of his claims.

What is Dr. McCarthy's claim, according to the Daily Mail?

Various apes have mated, produced viable offspring, and continued mating with various species of pigs, and this mating has produced some of the modern and extinct species of apes.

In particular, humans are the result of mating between, to quote from the above-linked article from, "a male boar or pig (Sus scrofa) with a female chimp (Pan troglodytes)".

The Daily Mail reports that McCarthy suggests that humans' hairless skin and subcutaneous fat could be explained by porcine ancestry.

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Here's why this claim is almost definitely wrong

One important criticism, which dubs his theory the 'Monkey-F******-A-Pig hypothesis', is that there is little chance that pigs and chimps could be interfertile. The two orders of creatures, according to evolutionary theory, diverged roughly 80million years ago, a ScienceBlogs post points out.

'[J]ust the gradual accumulation of molecular differences in sperm and egg recognition proteins would mean that pig sperm wouldn’t recognize a chimpanzee egg as a reasonable target for fusion,' PZ Myers writes.

Furthermore, the blogger explains, while chimps have 48 chromosomes, pigs have just 38.
He adds: 'Hybridizing a pig and a chimp is like taking half the dancers from a performance of Swan Lake and the other half from a performance of Giselle and throwing them together on stage to assemble something. It’s going to be a catastrophe.'

Finally, Myers suggests Dr McCarthy do the experimental work himself and try mating with a pig to see what happens.

Does this claim deserve attention?

No, it doesn't deserve attention. The author is a modern day Charles Fort in the sense that he is really good at tracking down small pieces of data in order to support a seemingly nonsensical conclusion. But in the scientific world, hypotheses deserve to be tested.

Dr. McCarthy's hypothesis demands that others do the work to test it scientifically, while ignoring multiple lines of scientific evidence that it is wrong, and even making false claims about the hybridization abilities of mammals to the extreme of claiming that mammals and birds used to (or still can?) be able to produce viable offspring.

So, NO, we are NOT chimp-pig hybrids

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