Do you believe that humans were placed on Earth fully formed by the hand of God? Do you believe that humans hold a special place above all the other animals in the world, because we were made in His divine image? Does the thought of a human making sweet, passionate love to a monkey make you a little uneasy? If so, I suggest you stop reading this just before that last sentence. Sorry about that.
A recent study of genomes conducted at Harvard Medical School has revealed the distinct possibility thatÃ‚Â humans and chimpsÃ‚Â split up, yet continued to see one another despite the objections of their common ancestor. Now, please — before you judge. Who hasn’t gone through a difficult break-up? It’s like your ex still has some kind of hold on you, drawing you back in. And so, thousands (maybe millions)Ã‚Â of years later, a chance encounter in a bar, perhaps, begins a series of mistakes that ultimately results in you drunkenly banging your ex. Who is a chimp. And technically, like, your cousin. Didn’t Matt LeBlanc make a movie about that?
Obviously, the details are mostly lost to natural history, but one can assume that it began when the two shared some drinks, discovered their mutual attraction, and “evolved into the beast with two backs,” so to speak. It is presumed the monkey gathered his things quietly and snuck out before dawn.
This naturally leads to a question — “So,” we ask the researchers shyly, stubbing a toe into the dirt and trying to look nonchalant. “Did these chimp/human hook-ups have any . . . lasting results?”
The researchers blush. They fumble a little with their clipboards, shuffling papers around.
“Well. You see . . .”
We wait, expectantly. David Reich, who led the research, finally clears his throat and says,
The fossil data suggest Ã¢â‚¬â€ very tenuously Ã¢â‚¬â€
We hold our collective breath.
. . . that it may have been humans who are descended from the hybrid population.
Stunned silence fills the room. From the back, we hear a thump — the blessedly unconscious body of a creationist who failed to heed the warning in the opening paragraph.
Thanks to Rav Winston for the tip-off! More in this NY Times article.