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Do human-ape hybrids exist?

Do human-ape hybrids exist?



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Since humans and apes share up to 99% of their DNA, can they interbreed? For example, a horse and a donkey seem to be just as distantly related and produce offspring. Mules, however, are sterile. Would ape-human interbreds be sterile?


Although this question sounds easy to answer in the first place, it is not. The main problem between humans and the apes we are most closely related to is that we have 46 chromosomes, while the apes all have 48. At some point in the evolution of the humans the ancestral chromosomes 2 and 4 fused together to form our chromosome 2, leaving us with only 46 chromosomes (see reference 1).

This makes offsprings much more complicated, but not completely impossible. A good example for this are crosses between donkey and horses (donkeys have 64 chromosomes, horses 62) to get mules (male donkey crossed with a female horse) or hinnys (male horse crossed with a female donkey) which subsequently have 63 chromosomes and are infertile. There are even crosses possible between horses and zebras which even differ wider. Zebras have between 32 and 46 chromosomes (depending on the species) but still zebroids are possible. See reference 2 for some more details.

So far there has been no successfull attempt to produce such hybrids, although there have been some attempts to make them. Some information can be found in reference 3.

Besides this problems (which are also due to ethical restrictions), there is a study available that at least humans and chimpanzees interbred for at least 1.2 million years after diverging and still produced fertile off-springs. See references 4 (for a summary) and 5 (original paper) for details.

Based on this evidence, I would say it is possible for humans and apes to produces off-springs, however, this is relatively unlikely and they will probably be infertile.

References:

  1. Origin of human chromosome 2: an ancestral telomere-telomere fusion.
  2. The chromosomes of two horse x zebra hybrids; E. cahallus x E. grevyi and E. hurchelli
  3. Blasts from the past: The Soviet ape-man scandal
  4. Human Ancestors May Have Interbred With Chimpanzees
  5. Genetic evidence for complex speciation of humans and chimpanzees

Missouri lawmaker indicted for promoting fraudulent COVID-19 treatment

Are these scientists trying to create a human-monkey hybrid?

Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California have conducted a controversial experiment that entails growing human stem cells within a macaque monkey embryo.

But the scientists aren’t attempting to create a real-life monkey man. Instead, they say, they’re hoping to better understand cell communication at conception.

As a result of their work, the researchers hope they can learn more about human development, disease progression and drug therapies, and eventually, nurture entire human organs into life, making organ transplants via brain-dead donors an obsolete procedure.

Currently, there are over 107,000 patients on the waiting list for organs, 17 of whom die each day waiting for a life-saving transplant, according to the US Health Resources and Services Administration.

Despite the need for more viable human tissues, many have called such research dangerous and unethical, fearing it could lead to the creation of a “human-nonhuman” species.

In the lab, these embryos are called monkey-human chimeras, and created in a petri dish — in other words, in vitro fertilization (IVF). The embryos were monitored during a 20-day period and have since been destroyed.

The macaque monkey is ideal for such research as their embryonic development is almost identical to humans’. Alamy Stock Photo

“These chimeric approaches could be really very useful for advancing biomedical research not just at the very earliest stage of life, but also the latest stage of life,” said lead researcher Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte.

Belmonte’s promising new study was published in the journal Cell on Thursday. The report states that the monkey-human chimeras “survived and integrated with better relative efficiency than in the previous experiments in pig tissue.”

The macaque monkey is ideal for such experimentation as their embryonic development is almost identical to humans’, according to previous research.

Maintaining that their study adhered to current ethical and legal guidelines, Belmonte added in a public statement, “Ultimately, we conduct these studies to understand and improve human health.”


The Russian Government Once Funded a Scientist’s Quest To Make an Ape-Human Hybrid

A very senior chimpanzee. Photo: Mark Fowler

In 1926, less than a decade after the Russian revolution, Russia’s Bolshevik party—which went on to become the Communist Part of the Soviet Union—was seeking to stamp out religion, a perceived threat to the party’s power. And famed Russian zoologist Ilia Ivanov, an expert in artificial insemination and a man “hell-bent on breeding a creature that was half man, half ape,”  knew how to take advantage of that political push, Stephanie Pain wrote in New Scientist a few years ago. Ivanov pitched his pet project to the Russian Academy of Sciences as a way to ‘prove Darwin right’ and “strike a blow against religion.” Supported and financed by the Bolshevik government, Ivanov set off for Africa to catch some chimpanzees and orangutans and, he hoped, to use one to artificially inseminate a human woman.

“If he crossed an ape and a human and produced viable offspring then that would mean Darwin was right about how closely related we are,” says Etkind.

Originally, Ivanov wanted to force the procedure on an unsuspecting woman. Eventually, he had to seek volunteers.

According to Pain, Russia’s scientists disapproved of Ivanov’s quest. But party politics persevered.

Ivanov’s quest for hybridization was not without precedent. Using his mastery of artificial insemination, he had “produced a zeedonk (zebra-donkey hybrid), a zubron (European bison-cow cross) and various combinations of rats, mice, guinea pigs and rabbits. In 1910, he told a gathering of zoologists that it might even be possible to create hybrids between humans and their closest relatives.”

Though the guise of overturning religion was the argument that earned approval for Ivanov’s ethically-dubious research, Pain suggests that the real reason compelling the work may have been even darker.

There is a third possible motive – that Ivanov’s research was part of an ambitious plan to transform society. The high-ranking Bolsheviks who backed Ivanov were intellectuals who saw science as a means of realising their dream of a socialist utopia. “Politicians could change the political system, nationalise industries and turn farms into vast collectives – but the task of transforming people was entrusted to scientists,” says Etkind. “The aim was to match people to the socialist design of Soviet society.”

“One way to do that was through “positive eugenics”, using AI to speed up the spread of desirable traits – a willingness to live and work communally, for instance – and to get rid of “primitive” traits such as competitiveness, greed and the desire to own property. “There were many projects aimed at changing humanity,” Etkind says. “Ivanov’s was the most extreme but if he succeeded then that would show that humans could be changed in radical and creative ways.”

Unfortunately for Ivanov, none of his experiments ever worked. And in the mid-1930s, he was “exiled to Kazakhstan,” with the quest for a human-ape hybrid left unfinished.


The birth of half-human, half-animal chimeras

In H. G. Wells's The Island of Doctor Moreau, the shipwrecked hero Edward Pendrick is walking through a forest glade when he chances upon a group of two men and a woman squatting around a fallen tree. They are naked apart from a few rags tied around their waist, with "fat, heavy, chinless faces, retreating foreheads, and a scant bristly hair upon their foreheads." Pendrick notes that "I never saw such bestial looking creatures."

As Pendrick approaches, they attempt to talk to him, but their speech is "thick and slopping" and their heads sway as they speak, "reciting some complicated gibberish". Despite their clothes and their appearance, he perceives the "irresistible suggestion of a hog, a swinish taint" in their manner. They are, he concludes, "grotesque travesties of men".

Wandering into Doctor Moreau's operating room one night, Pendrick eventually uncovers the truth: his host has been transforming beasts into humans, sculpting their bodies and their brains into his own image. But despite his best efforts he can never eliminate their most basic instincts, and the fragile society soon regresses to dangerous anarchy, leading to Moreau's death.

It is 120 years since Wells first published his novel, and to read some recent headlines you would think that we are veering dangerously close to his dystopic vision. "Frankenstein scientists developing part-human part-animal chimera," exclaimed the UK's Daily Mirror in May 2016. "Science wants to break down the fence between man and beast," the Washington Times declared two months later, fearing that sentient animals would soon be unleashed on the world.

The hope is to implant human stem cells in an animal embryo so that it will grow specific human organs. The approach could, in theory, provide a ready-made replacement for a diseased heart or liver &ndash eliminating the wait for a human donor and reducing the risk of organ rejection.

It's going to open up a new understanding of biology

These bold and controversial plans are the culmination of more than three decades of research. These experiments have helped us understand some of the biggest mysteries of life, delineate the boundaries between species, and explore how a ragbag bunch of cells in the womb coalesce and grow into a living, breathing being.

With new plans to fund the projects, we are now reaching a critical point in this research. "Things are moving very fast in this field today," says Janet Rossant at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and one of the early pioneers of chimera research. "It's going to open up a new understanding of biology."

That is, provided we can resolve some knotty ethical issues first &ndash questions that may permanently change our understanding of what it means to be human.

For millennia, chimeras were literally the stuff of legend. The term comes from Greek mythology, with Homer describing a strange hybrid "of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle". It was said to breathe fire as it roamed Lycia in Asia Minor.

At least 8% of non-identical twins have absorbed cells from their brother or sister

In reality, chimeras in science are less impressive. The word describes any creature containing a fusion of genetically-distinct tissues. This can occur naturally, if twin embryos fuse soon after conception, with striking results.

Consider the "bilateral gynandromorphs", in which one side of the body is male, the other female. These animals are essentially two non-identical twins joined down the centre. If the two sexes have wildly different markings &ndash as is the case for many birds and insects &ndash this can lead to a bizarre appearance, such as a northern cardinal that had grown bright red plumage on half of its body, while the rest was grey.

Most often, however, the cells mix to form a subtler mosaic across the whole body, and chimeras look and act like other individuals within the species. There is even a chance that you are one yourself. Studies suggest that at least 8% of non-identical twins have absorbed cells from their brother or sister.

The mixed bag of animals from Greek legends certainly cannot be found in nature. But this has not stopped scientists from trying to create their own hybrid chimeras in the lab.

Janet Rossant, then at Brock University, Canada, was one of the first to succeed. In 1980, she published a paper in the journal Science announcing a chimera that combined two mice species: an albino laboratory mouse (Mus musculus) and a Ryukyu mouse (Mus caroli), a wild species from east Asia.

Previous attempts to produce a hybrid "interspecific" chimera often ended in disappointment. The embryos simply failed to embed in the uterus, and those that did were deformed and stunted, and typically miscarried before they reached term.

We showed you really could cross species boundaries

Rossant's technique involved a delicate operation at a critical point in pregnancy, around four days after mating. At this point, the fertilised egg has divided into a small bundle of cells known as the blastocyst. This contains an inner cell mass, surrounded by a protective outer layer called the trophoblast, which goes on to form the placenta.

Working with William Frels, Rossant took the M. musculus and injected it with the inner cell mass of the other species, M. caroli. They then implanted this mixed bag of cells back into the M. musculus mothers. By ensuring that the M. musculus trophoblast remained intact, they ensured that the resulting placenta would match the mother's DNA. This helped the embryo embed in the uterus. Next they sat back and waited 18 days for the pregnancies to unfold.

It was a resounding success of the 48 resulting offspring, 38 were a blend of tissues from both species. "We showed you really could cross species boundaries," Rossant says. The blend was apparent in the mice's coats, with alternating patches of albino white from the M. musculus and the tawny stripes of the M. caroli.

Even their temperaments were noticeably different from their parents. "It was quite obviously a weird mixture," says Rossant. "M. caroli are very jumpy: you would need to put them at the bottom of a garbage can so they don't jump out at you, and you'd handle them with forceps and leather gloves." The M. musculus were much calmer. "The chimeras were somewhat in between."

With today's understanding of neuroscience, Rossant thinks this could help us to explore the reasons why different species act the way they do. "You could map the behavioural differences against the different regions of the brain that were occupied by the two species," she says. "I think that could be very interesting to examine."

Time magazine described the geep as "a zookeeper's prank: a goat dressed in a sweater of angora"

In her early work Rossant used these chimeras to probe our basic biology. Back when genetic screening was in its infancy, the marked differences between the two species helped to identify the spread of cells within the body, allowing biologists to examine which elements of the early embryo go on to create the different organs.

The two lineages could even help scientists investigate the role of certain genes. They could create a mutation in one of the original embryos, but not the other. Watching the effect on the resulting chimera could then help tease apart a gene's many functions across different parts of the body.

Using Rossant's technique, a handful of other hybrid chimeras soon emerged kicking and mewling in labs across the world. They included a goat-sheep chimera, dubbed a geep. The animal was striking to see, a patchwork of wool and coarse hair. Time described it as "a zookeeper's prank: a goat dressed in a sweater of angora."

Rossant also advised various conservation projects, which hoped to use her technique to implant embryos of endangered species into the wombs of domestic animals. "I'm not sure that has ever entirely worked, but the concept is still there."

Now the aim is to add humans to the mix, in a project that could herald a new era of "regenerative medicine".

For two decades, doctors have tried to find ways to harvest stem cells, which have the potential to form any kind of tissue, and nudge them to regrow new organs in a petri dish. The strategy would have enormous potential for replacing diseased organs.

The aim is to create chimera animals that can grow organs to order

"The only problem is that, although these are very similar to the cells in the embryo, they are not identical," says Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. So far, none have been fit for transplantation.

Izpisua Belmonte, and a handful of others like him, think the answer is lurking in the farmyard. The aim is to create chimera animals that can grow organs to order. "Embryogenesis happens every day and the embryo comes out perfect 99% of the time," says Izpisua Belmonte. "We don't know how to do this in vitro, but an animal does it very well, so why not let nature do the heavy lifting?"

Today's plans to build a human-animal chimera may have provoked controversy, but they are nothing compared to the scandalous experiments of Ilia Ivanov, also known as the "Red Frankenstein". Hoping to prove our close evolutionary ties to other primates once and for all, Ivanov hatched a crackpot scheme to breed a human-ape hybrid.

Starting in the mid-1920s, he tried to inseminate chimps with human sperm, and even tried to transplant a woman's ovary into a chimp called Nora, but she died before she could conceive.

When all else failed, he gathered five Soviet women who were willing to carry the hybrid. However, the prospective father &ndash called Tarzan &ndash died of a brain haemorrhage before he could carry out his plan. Ivanov was eventually arrested and exiled to Kazakhstan in 1930 for supporting the "international bourgeoisie" a crime that had nothing to do with his grotesque experiments.

Unlike the "geep", which showed a mosaic of tissue across its body, the foreign tissue in these chimeras would be limited to a specific organ. By manipulating certain genes, the researchers hope they could knock out the target organ in the host, creating a void for the human cells to colonise and grow to the required size and shape. "The animal is an incubator," says Pablo Juan Ross at the University of California-Davis, who is also investigating the possibility.

We already know that it is theoretically possible. In 2010 Hiromitsu Nakauchi of Stanford University School of Medicine and his colleagues created a rat pancreas in a mouse body using a similar technique. Pigs are currently the preferred host, as they are anatomically remarkably similar to humans.

If it succeeds, the strategy would solve many of the problems with organ donation today.

"The average waiting time for a kidney is three years," explains Ross. In contrast, a custom-made organ grown in a pig would be ready in as little as five months. "That's another advantage of using pigs. They grow very quickly."

In 2015, the US National Institutes of Health announced a moratorium on funding for human-animal chimera

Beyond transplantation, a human-animal chimera could also transform the way we hunt for drugs.

Currently, many new treatments may appear to be effective in animal trials, but have unexpected effects in humans. "All that money and time gets lost," says Izpisua Belmonte.

Consider a new drug for liver disease, say. "If we were able to put human cells inside a pig's liver, then within the first year of developing the compound, we could see if it was toxic for humans," he says.

Rossant agrees that the approach has great potential, although these are the first steps on a very long road. "I have to admire their bravery in taking this on," she says. "It's doable but I must say there are very serious challenges."

Many of these difficulties are technical.

The evolutionary gap between humans and pigs is far greater than the distance between a rat and a mouse, and scientists know from experience that this makes it harder for the donor cells to take root. "You need to create the conditions so that the human cells can survive and thrive," says Izpisua Belmonte. This will involve finding the pristine source of human stem cells capable of transforming into any tissue, and perhaps genetically modifying the host to make it more hospitable.

It would be truly horrific to create a human mind trapped in an animal's body

But it is the ethical concerns that have so far stalled research. In 2015, the US National Institutes of Health announced a moratorium on funding for human-animal chimera. It has since announced plans to lift that ban, provided that each experiment undergoes an extra review before funding is approved. In the meantime, Izpisua Belmonte has been offered a $2.5m (£2m) grant on the condition that he uses monkey, rather than human, stem cells to create the chimera.

A particularly emotive concern is that the stem cells will reach the pig's brain, creating an animal that shares some of our behaviours and abilities. "I do think that has to be something that is taken into account and discussed extensively," says Rossant. After all, she found that her chimeras shared the temperaments of both species. It would be truly horrific to create a human mind trapped in an animal's body, a nightmare fit for Wells.

The researchers point to some possible precautions. "By injecting the cells in a particular stage of embryo development, we might be able to avoid that happening," says Izpisua Belmonte. Another option may be to program the stem cells with "suicide genes" that would cause them to self-destruct in certain conditions, to prevent them from embedding in neural tissue.

Even so, these solutions have not convinced Stuart Newman, a cell biologist at New York Medical College, US. He says he has been worried about the direction of this research ever since the creation of the geep in the 1980s. His concern is not so much about the plans today, but a future where the chimera steadily take on more human characteristics.

"These things become more interesting, scientifically and medically, the more human they are," says Newman. "So you might say now that 'I would never make something mostly human', but there is an impulse to do it. There's a kind of momentum to the whole enterprise that makes you want to go further and further."

How we talk about humans during this debate may inadvertently change how we look at ourselves

Suppose that scientists created a chimera to study a new treatment for Alzheimer's. A team of researchers may start out with permission to create a chimera that has a 20% human brain, say, only to decide that 30% or 40% would be necessary to properly understand the effects of a new drug. Scientific funding bodies often require more and more ambitious targets, Newman says. "It's not that people are aspiring to create abominations&hellip but things just keep going, there's no natural stopping point."

Just as importantly, he thinks that it will numb our sense of our own humanity. "There's the transformation of our culture that allows us to cross these boundaries. It plays on the idea of the human as just another material object," he says. For instance, if human chimera exist, we may not be so worried about manipulating our own genes to create designer babies.

Newman is not alone in these views.

John Evans, a sociologist at the University of California San Diego, US, points out that the very discussion of human-animal chimera focusses on their cognitive capacities.

For instance, we might decide that it is okay to treat them in one way as long as they lack human rationality or language, but that train of logic could lead us down a slippery slope when considering other people within our own species. "If the public thinks that a human is a compilation of capacities, those existing humans with fewer of these valued capacities will be considered to be of lesser value," Evans writes.

Our gut reactions should not shape the moral discussion

For his part, Izpisua Belmonte thinks that many of these concerns &ndash particularly the more sensational headlines &ndash are premature. "The media and the regulators think that we are going to get important human organs growing inside a pig tomorrow," he says. "That's science fiction. We are at the earliest stage."

And as an editorial in the journal Nature argued, perhaps our gut reactions should not shape the moral discussion. The idea of a chimera may be disgusting to some, but the suffering of people with untreatable illnesses is equally horrendous. Our decisions need to be based on more than just our initial reactions.

Whatever conclusions we reach, we need to be aware that the repercussions could stretch far beyond the science at hand. "How we talk about humans during this debate may inadvertently change how we look at ourselves," writes Evans.

The question of what defines our humanity was, after all, at the heart of Wells' classic novel. Once Pendrick has escaped the island of Doctor Moreau, he returns to a life of solitude in the English countryside, preferring to spend the lonely nights watching the heavens.

Having witnessed the boundary between species broken so violently, he cannot meet another human being without seeing the beast inside us all. "It seemed that I too was not a reasonable creature, but only an animal tormented with some strange disorder in its brain which sent it to wander alone, like a sheep stricken with gid."

David Robson is BBC Future&rsquos feature writer. He is @d_a_robson on Twitter.


Human hybrids: a closer look at the theory and evidence

Credit: http://www.skullsite.co.uk/Pig/pigdom.htm

There was considerable fallout, both positive and negative, from our first story covering the radical pig-chimp hybrid theory put forth by Dr. Eugene McCarthy, a geneticist who's proposing that humans first arose from an ancient hybrid cross between pigs and chimpanzees. Despite the large number of comments, here at Phys.org, on macroevolution.net, and on several other discussion forums, little in the way of a scientific consensus has emerged. By and large, those coming out against the theory had surprisingly little science to offer in their sometimes personal attacks against McCarthy.

As any skilled listener might observe, the most important thing in communication is not always hearing what is said, but rather, hearing what isn't said. One thing we have not heard here is objection from those writer-scientists who have any kind of public reputation in the evolutionary sciences. I don't think that is because they didn't hear about the story. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel found the article, or at least parts of it, to be rather revealing, and he used segments from it on his show. Commenters on the O'Reilly Factor also called in asking for his opinion on the story. The reason for the silence from above, so to speak, is that they have nothing to gain in being right, but much to lose when any statement they might offer is picked apart by someone with a little more conceptual fluidity, and who has substantial research vested in the theory.

As many critics noted, the advancement of scientific knowledge does not require disproving every radical theory that comes along. Lots of incorrect theories exist that cannot, for all practical purposes, be formally disproven. It seems, however, that decent arguments against the hybrid origins theory are surprisingly hard to find, and moreover, the established elders of the field, well, they know it.

We decided it would be worthwhile to take a closer look at the objections that were most commonly offered against the hybrid hypothesis. Chief among them was that the chromosome differences here are just too large to support a viable hybrid. One of the previous examples we gave, the zedonk (zebra parent, 2n=44, donkey parent, 2n=62), can and does result in female hybrid offspring that have been reported to produce offspring in backcrosses. The same is true for the geep (sheep, 2n=54, and goat 2n=60). While the reduction in fertility associated with large differences of this sort is often severe, the existence of fertile hybrids, particularly in backcrosses, invalidates this objection.

Credit: ristorantemystica.wordpress.com

Another argument was that the morphological distance, or genetic differences besides chromosome number, are just too great. Most of us are familiar with the platypus. A paper published in Nature a few years ago demonstrated that the platypus genome contains both bird and mammal chromosomes, and therefore that the vastly different bird and mammal sex chromosome systems have been successfully bridged by this creature. This example is not offered as any kind of proof. But it does suggest that sometime, long ago, a cross occurred that would have been even more distant than that between a chimpanzee and a pig – one between a otter-like mammal and a duck-like bird. And if such was the case, the hybrids from the cross must have been able to produce offspring (otherwise they would have died out, and the platypus would not exist today).

The objection that mating between such different animals is just too strange has been addressed at length on McCarthy's website. Ample counterexamples have been given there and elsewhere, including the evidence for matings, without issue, between such strange pairings as a buck rabbit with female cat (or even with a domestic hen), or a dog with a monkey, or with a swan goose. In general, as McCarthy points out, it has long been known that many organisms, as adults, prefer to mate with whatever animal they are exposed to at the critical early stage in their lives when sexual imprinting occurs.

He also notes that it is not as if his hypothesis that humans are pig-chimp hybrids has not been tested. Under the alternative hypothesis (humans are not pig-chimp hybrids), the assumption is that humans and chimpanzees are equally distant from pigs. You would therefore expect chimp traits not seen in humans to be present in pigs at about the same rate as are human traits not found in chimps. However, when he searched the literature for traits that distinguish humans and chimps, and compiled a lengthy list of such traits, he found that it was always humans who were similar to pigs with respect to these traits. This finding is inconsistent with the possibility that humans are not pig-chimp hybrids, that is, it rejects that hypothesis.

Also raised was the argument that pigs and humans might have converged anatomically as a result of longstanding animal husbandry, not limited to but perhaps including genes carried over by retroviruses. If that is, in fact, a general mechanism that operates behind the scenes, then we might justifiably ask—why don't a lot of the traits that distinguish us from primates connect us with dogs, with whom we have obviously lived, at close quarters, since prehistoric times? Why is it only pigs?

One objection which seems to have really stretched the genetic exclusion argument was an appeal to junk DNA as a mechanism that can prevent two species from reproducing. The reference was to a paper in PLoS Biology which revealed interesting phenomena occurring in Drosophila (fruit flies) that can prevent embryos from developing. The study points to faster mutation rates found for noncoding DNA, and outlines a mechanism where mutation in a segment on the X chromosome of the father prevents proper separation of the whole chromosome. Clearly, a unique situation in this particular species, however interesting, does not invalidate the documented existence of successful hybrids produced in thousands of other species crosses.

In moving forward, we hope to see more discussion on this issue from both sides of the argument. Nothing is preventing anyone from taking a closer look at the genetic picture. In fact, doing so has never been easier. Sites like eEnsembl let you "browse a genome" with unprecedented ease. Sequence data, or genome organization can be curated to support both observation and idea, as it can also be done to oppose the same. For the matter at hand, we might expect each side to continue to accuse the other of cherry-picking their arguments. Eventually though, sufficient data will fall from the collisions between example-fed discussion and informed search to deliver an elevated consensus. One particular approach recommended McCarthy is in silico chromosome painting of the human genome with random pig and chimp sequences in an effort to find hotspots of similarity to pig.

Another possibility that McCarthy does not recommend, but which several scientists have suggested to him, is producing an actual hybrid. He objects to this approach, not on scientific, but humanitarian grounds. After all, he says, such an experiment might result in an intelligent but non-human creature, much more piglike than any human being, who would have no happy place in our world. He in fact includes such a hybrid, an F1 female, as one of the major characters in The Department, his kindle book satire of academic life. In it he observes, "I hope never to meet her in the flesh." You can see McCarthy address some of the issues raised above in greater depth in a podcast that has just been released.


'I proved human-alien hybrids EXIST', says scientist who 'found them living on Earth'

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A green energy expert claims humans and aliens have made hybrids

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Author Miguel Mendonça, 42, now claims the so-called alien-hybrid community is expanding on Earth and vital to the future of the human race because of how they are helping us "evolve into higher beings".

Mr Mendonça, who suffers with MS, the illness that leaves suffers with neurological symptoms, muscle pain and severe physical and mental exhaustion, even feels better with increased energy levels for having regular contact with the hybrids, although he stressed it could not cure his condition.

He said: "It's made no difference to my condition, but I do feel better on some levels."

Mr Mendonça, from Bristol, was formerly research manager for the World Future Council, which promotes best policy renewable power sources, and has written extensively on green energy policy.

However, for his latest publication, Meet The Hybrids: The Lives And Missions of ET Ambassadors On Earth published by Amazon and co-authored with Barbara Lamb, he spent time interviewing eight people who claim they have grown up with implanted alien DNA in their bodies and are part of a mission to improve mankind.

Ms Lamb has held great interest in the claims since she first heard them and has been an alien abduction researcher since the 1980s.

Mr Mendonça said he began the project with an open mind, but after finishing the research was convinced they were telling the truth and thinks he has now solved the mystery of why UFOs allegedly visit the Earth.

Green guru turned alien believer Miguel Mendonça

Alien Abduction Hypnosis Experience and Hybrid Children - Bridget Nielsen

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He said: "I try to keep my feet on the ground as much as possible.

"My background is in renewable energy policy gained as an academic, so I have to be sure of my facts.

"These hybrids are raising the vibration and awakening people. I have begun to go through this process and to me it is undeniable.

"Whenever someone with a strong ET aspect talks to me I feel my energy shift - it just goes through the roof.

"I find myself seeing energy with my third eye.

"I am a writer, and just wanted to share their stories, and had no clue I would be affected, it's changed my life.

"I will try to use what has been revealed. For one thing, it has solved some of the mystery of the UFO subject.

"We know why they are coming here and who they are."

Half alien? Robert Frost-Fullington

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These hybrids are raising the vibration and awakening people. I have gone through a process and to me it is undeniable.

Author Miguel Mendonça

In researching the book, each 'hybrid' was given the same set of questions to answer, including how they discovered they were a hybrid, what their genetic make-up was, and why they were here on Earth.

Mr Mendonça told Express.co.uk: "What became clear was how similar each of their accounts were. These were hybrids independent of each other who were describing the same experiences."

Among the interviewees was Robert Frost-Fullington, 36, from California, in the US.

He claimed to have DNA from four alien species known as reptilians, Sirians, Tall Whites and those which appear like a praying mantis.

He claimed in the book to have had implants inserted under his tongue at the age of five, before experiencing several encounters with aliens.

After periods of "conscious recall", in 2011, he said he realised he was a hybrid.

Asked how he was created, he said: "When the human woman becomes pregnant, she's taken up onto a craft and the beings will take the embryo and create a genetic overlay."

But far from seeing this non-consensual kidnap and interference as sinister, Mr Frost-Fullington and other hydbrids, including women, claim it is being done in the interest of humanity.

The people interviewed claimed their mission on Earth was to "raise" what they believe is a "frequency" on Earth by increasing an energy they refer to as "vibrations."


Playing God, Playin’ God

It seems like only yesterday scientists at Scotland’s Roslin Institute created their ‘specialized’ cell and made a whole new animal, but it was way back in the 5th of July 1996 that ‘ Dolly the Sheep ’ was born. This Roslin Institute report details the work of Professor Sir Ian Wilmut and his team who cloned Dolly from a ‘ mammary gland cell’ taken from a six-year-old Finn Dorset sheep and an egg cell taken from a Scottish Blackface sheep. Incidentally, the report discloses that because Dolly’s DNA had come from a mammary gland cell this is why she was named “after the country singer Dolly Parton”.

The cloning process that produced Dolly the Sheep. (Magnus Manske / Public Domain )

Since Dolly’s first bahh, the world has been divided on the ethical issues associated with animal testing and in researching these arguments one quickly realizes that both factions readily throw scientific studies and contradictory ‘hard’ facts back and forth. But as a base-line to help you understand the perimeters of this problem a May 2017 article published on animal testing on ProCon says “an estimated 26 million animals are ‘used’ every year in the United States for scientific and commercial testing” mostly to determine the toxicity of developing medical treatments for humans.


People Are Human-Bacteria Hybrid

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Most of the cells in your body are not your own, nor are they even human. They are bacterial. From the invisible strands of fungi waiting to sprout between our toes, to the kilogram of bacterial matter in our guts, we are best viewed as walking "superorganisms," highly complex conglomerations of human cells, bacteria, fungi and viruses.

That's the view of scientists at Imperial College London who published a paper in Nature Biotechnology Oct. 6 describing how these microbes interact with the body. Understanding the workings of the superorganism, they say, is crucial to the development of personalized medicine and health care in the future because individuals can have very different responses to drugs, depending on their microbial fauna.

The scientists concentrated on bacteria. More than 500 different species of bacteria exist in our bodies, making up more than 100 trillion cells. Because our bodies are made of only some several trillion human cells, we are somewhat outnumbered by the aliens. It follows that most of the genes in our bodies are from bacteria, too.

Luckily for us, the bacteria are on the whole commensal, sharing our food but doing no real harm. (The word derives from the Latin meaning to share a table for dinner.) In fact, they are often beneficial: Our commensal bacteria protect us from potentially dangerous infections. They do this through close interaction with our immune systems.

"We have known for some time that many diseases are influenced by a variety of factors, including both genetics and environment, but the concept of this superorganism could have a huge impact on our understanding of disease processes," said Jeremy Nicholson, a professor of biological chemistry at Imperial College and leader of the study. He believes the approach could apply to research on insulin-resistance, heart disease, some cancers and perhaps even some neurological diseases.

Following the sequencing of the human genome, scientists quickly saw that the next step would be to show how human genes interact with environmental factors to influence the risk of developing disease, the aging process and drug action. But because environmental factors include the gene products of trillions of bacteria in the gut, they get very complex indeed. The information in the human genome itself, 3 billion base pairs long, does not help reduce the complexity.

"The human genome provides only scant information. The discovery of how microbes in the gut can influence the body's responses to disease means that we now need more research into this area," said Nicholson. "Understanding these interactions will extend human biology and medicine well beyond the human genome and help elucidate novel types of gene-environment interactions, with this knowledge ultimately leading to new approaches to the treatment of disease."

Nicholson's colleague, professor Ian Wilson from Astra Zeneca, believes the "human super-organism" concept "could have a huge impact on how we develop drugs, as individuals can have very different responses to drug metabolism and toxicity."

"The microbes can influence things such as the pH levels in the gut and the immune response, all of which can have effects on the effectiveness of drugs," Wilson said.

The Imperial College research demonstrates what many -- from X Files stalwarts to UFO fanatics -- have long claimed: We are not alone. Specifically, the human genome does not carry enough information on its own to determine key elements of our own biology.


Human or hybrid? The big debate over what a species really is

BIOLOGY is a messy business. Witness these sage words: “It is really laughable to see what different ideas are prominent in various naturalists minds, when they speak of ‘species’… It all comes, I believe, from trying to define the undefinable.”

Strong stuff. And from a surprising source. Charles Darwin wrote those lines in a letter to fellow naturalist Joseph Hooker, just three years before the publication of On the Origin of Species. Darwin clearly had a problem with the word to which his name is now so intimately linked. It turns out he is not alone. Today, almost 160 years after he revolutionised biology, how to define a species is more problematic than ever.

You probably learned that a species is a group of individuals that can breed to produce fertile offspring, but this is just one of dozens of competing definitions. The lack of consensus on what a species is has big implications for how we think about the natural world and for our efforts to conserve it. But the problems go even deeper. Recent revelations about interbreeding between what some regard as separate species of ancient humans have left many of us wondering: who are “we”, who are “they” and are we actually all one and the same? In other words, how we define a species has become a question at the very heart of human identity. Perhaps it is time to rethink the whole concept.

The idea that the living world is divided into distinct species has deep roots. Frank Zachos at the Natural History Museum Vienna, Austria, suspects it predates the written word. He thinks &hellip

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APES AND HUMANS: Can they breed, or have they interbred? Does this explain racial features in man?

The original question was:
I know someone who thinks humans and apes can and have interbred in the past and that explains some of the facial features and dark skinned people. My reply was the Bible says, after their own kind, and so I didn’t think it would be possible pre-1900 (who knows what they can do today) and that apes have more chromosomes etc. but they weren’t convinced. Can you give me some rock solid info that they won’t be able to dispute.

Answer by John Mackay and Diane Eager

There are stories that this was attempted in Stalinist Russia, but it has never been done, last century or this century, and we predict it won’t be done, because it cant happen. Why can’t it happen?

You are correct about there being a difference in chromosomes. Apes have 48 arranged in 24 pairs, humans have 46 arranged in 23 pairs. For successful mating each parent provides half a set of chromosomes, which then come together to form new pairs. Proper pairing will not happen with a mismatch of chromosome numbers in any potential parents. This can also occur even when the genes on the right number of matching chromosomes, but they are simply in a different order due to chromosomal breakage.

Furthermore, detailed studies of ape and human chromosomes have shown there are many differences between the organisation of genes within them, as well as differences between individual genes. See “Chimp Genes 83% Non-Human” in Creation Research Fact File here.

Ape and human cells have many important differences. Apes have a particular type of sialic acid on their cells, which is not found in humans. Our immune systems recognise this as a foreign molecule and destroy any cells that have it. For this reason all attempts at transplants from apes or baboons to man have been disastrous failures. Recent studies into the genetics of sialic acids have revealed there over about 60 genes involved in their biochemistry and at least 10 of these differ in apes and humans.

As to such cross breeding accounting for some features of different racial groups you need to look at the obvious differences between apes and humans of all races. See the question: Man, apes and monkeys: what are the differences? These differences are just as great in dark-skinned people as in light skinned people. For example: one very clear difference is in hair. Humans and apes have a totally different pattern of hair, and black Africans, who live where the Great Apes live, are the least hairy human race. The hairiest humans are found among European and other lighter skinned ethnic groups. This is no help to your friend’s racist arguments at all.

Ultimately any stories of ape/human hybrids can be consigned to either failed Communist conspiracies or atheist ambitions, because in reality they are only the stuff of science fiction and urban myths. The reality is that both man and ape reproduction actually behave in the way God stated they would. Each time God created living things, he stated creatures would produce their own kind, and that is what they have been observed to do as long as we have studied them. After its kind is the way it is for apes and humans.

For more on supposed evolutionary vestiges see the article Vestigial Organs PDF here

Photos by Bill Boehm. Used with permission.

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The possibility of hybrids between humans and other apes has been entertained since at least the medieval period Saint Peter Damian (11th century) claimed to have been told of the offspring of a human woman in Liguria who had mated with an ape. [2]

Chimpanzees and humans are closely related (sharing 95% of their DNA sequence and 99% of coding DNA sequences [3] ). The closest known data is that hybridization between chimpanzees and bonobos, which share 99.6% of the genome [4] (and see the chart) is easily possible. [5] Some authors even say that "the population split between bonobo and chimpanzee occurred relatively close in time to the split between the bonobo–chimpanzee ancestor (i.e., the ancestor of the genus Pan) and humans", [6] or that Pan, especially bonobos, [7] [8] are a "living fossil" close to our ancestors, "Pan prior". [9] Genetic similarity, and thus the chances of successful hybridization, is not always correlated with visual similarity. For example, pugs and huskies look quite dissimilar (perhaps more so than some chimpanzees, [10] bonobos, [11] [12] [13] or even gorillas [14] look compared to humans), but belong to the same species and subspecies and can hybridize freely. [15] On the other hand, rabbits and hares look very similar, but are only distantly related and cannot hybridize. [ citation needed ]

Humans have one pair fewer chromosomes than other apes, with ape chromosomes 2 and 4 fused in the human genome into a large chromosome (which contains remnants of the centromere and telomeres of the ancestral 2 and 4). [16] Having different numbers of chromosomes is not an absolute barrier to hybridization similar mismatches are relatively common in existing species, a phenomenon known as chromosomal polymorphism.

All great apes have similar genetic structure. Chromosomes 6, 13, 19, 21, 22, and X are structurally the same in all great apes. Chromosomes 3, 11, 14, 15, 18, and 20 match between gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans. Chimps and humans match on 1, 2p, 2q, 5, 7–10, 12, 16, and Y as well. Some older references include Y as a match between gorillas, chimps, and humans, but chimpanzees, bonobos, and humans have recently been found to share a large transposition from chromosome 1 to Y not found in other apes. [17]

This degree of chromosomal similarity is roughly equivalent to that found in equines. Interfertility of horses and donkeys is common, although sterility of the offspring (mules) is nearly universal (with only around 60 exceptions recorded in equine history). [18] Similar complexities and prevalent sterility pertain to horse–zebra hybrids, or zorses, whose chromosomal disparity is very wide, with horses typically having 32 chromosome pairs and zebras between 16 and 23 depending on species. In a direct parallel to the chimp–human case, the Przewalski's horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) with 33 chromosome pairs, and the domestic horse (E. f. caballus) with 32 pairs, have been found to be interfertile, and produce semi-fertile offspring: male hybrids can breed with female domestic horses. [19]

In 1977, researcher J. Michael Bedford discovered that human sperm could penetrate the protective outer membranes of a gibbon egg. [20] Bedford's paper also stated that human spermatozoa would not even attach to the zona surface of non-hominoid primates (baboon, rhesus monkey, and squirrel monkey), concluding that although the specificity of human spermatozoa is not confined to Homo sapiens sapiens alone, it is probably restricted to the Hominoidea. However, in the opposite direction of closely related species, it has been found that human sperm binds to gorilla oocytes with almost the same ease as to human ones. [21]

Hybridization between members of different, but related genera is sometimes possible, as in the case of cama (camel and llama), wholphin (common bottlenose dolphin and false killer whale), and some felid hybrids, for example.

There have been no scientifically verified specimens of a human–chimp hybrid, but there have been substantiated reports of unsuccessful attempts at human/chimpanzee hybridization in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, and various unsubstantiated reports on similar attempts during the second half of the 20th century.

Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov was the first person to attempt to create a human–chimp hybrid by artificial insemination. [22] Ivanov outlined his idea as early as 1910 in a presentation to the World Congress of Zoologists in Graz. [23] In the 1920s, Ivanov carried out a series of experiments, culminating in inseminating three female chimpanzees with human sperm, but he failed to achieve a pregnancy. (For comparison with known cama statistics, in the case of male camel - female guanaco cross the probability that insemination would lead to pregnancy was approximately 1/6: [24] ) In 1929 he organized a set of experiments involving nonhuman ape sperm and human volunteers, but was delayed by the death of his last orangutan. The next year he fell under political criticism from the Soviet government and was sentenced to exile in the Kazakh SSR he worked there at the Kazakh Veterinary-Zootechnical Institute and died of a stroke two years later. [25]

In the 1970s, a performing chimp named Oliver was popularized as a possible "mutant" or even a human–chimpanzee hybrid. [26] Claims that Oliver had 47 chromosomes—midpoint between the normal 46 for humans and 48 for chimpanzees—were disproven after an examination of his genetic material at the University of Chicago in 1996. [27] Oliver's cranial morphology, ear shape, freckles, and baldness fall within the range of variability exhibited by the common chimpanzee. [28] Results of further studies with Oliver were published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. [29]

In the 1980s, there were reports on an experiment in human–chimpanzee crossbreeding conducted in the People's Republic of China in 1967, and on the planned resumption of such experiments. In 1981, Ji Yongxiang, head of a hospital in Shenyang, was reported as claiming to have been part of a 1967 experiment in Shengyang in which a chimpanzee female had been impregnated with human sperm. According to this account, the experiment came to nothing because it was cut short by the Cultural Revolution, with the responsible scientists sent off to farm labour and the three-months pregnant [30] chimpanzee dying from neglect. According to Timothy McNulty of Chicago Tribune, the report was based on an article in the Wenhui Bao paper of Shanghai. Li Guong of the genetics research bureau at the Chinese Academy of Sciences was cited as confirming both the existence of the experiment prior to the Cultural Revolution and the plans to resume testing. [31]

In 2019, unconfirmed reports surfaced that a team of researchers led by Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in the U.S. successfully produced the first human-monkey chimeras. Belmonte and others had previously produced pig and sheep embryos containing a small percentage of human cells. As with those embryos, the human-monkey chimeras were reportedly only allowed to develop for a few weeks. Although development was stopped prior to the formation of a nervous system or organs, avoiding more severe ethical concerns, the research was reportedly carried out in China to avoid legal issues. Due to the much larger evolutionary distance between humans and monkeys, vs. humans and chimpanzees, it is considered unlikely that true human-monkey hybrids could be brought to term. However, it is feasible that human-compatible organs for transplantation could be grown in these chimeras. [32]

There is evidence for a complex speciation process for the PanHomo split. This concerns times pre-dating the emergence of Homo and would concern hybridization between Pan and Ardipithecus or Orrorin, not Homo. Different chromosomes appear to have split at different times, suggesting that large-scale hybridization may have taken place over a period of as much as four million years leading up to the two emerging ("human" and "chimp") lineages as late as six million years ago. [33] The similarity of the X chromosome in humans and chimpanzees might suggest hybridization taking place as late as four million years ago. This latter conclusion should be regarded as uncertain, with alternative proposals available to explain the apparent short divergence time in the X chromosome. [34]