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Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Chimp Child: Human Brains and "Humanzees"

Charles Siebert writes:

We humans, in other words, are not merely 99 percent the same as chimps. We may well owe our very existence to primeval intercourse with them, something we've been reenacting, in both mythology and reality, ever since. The Dionysian chimp-human satyrs of ancient lore are, it seems, not so much a willful conceit as a deep cellular memory. Actual sex with apes, meanwhile, while not generally a matter of public record, has gone on for ages, from palm oil plantation workers currently raping orangutans in the jungles of Borneo and Malaysia, to long-ago and elaborately staged acts of public bestiality featured in Roman games and circuses, "events" involving a range of creatures from leopards and wild boars to jackasses, dogs, and finally apes. Typically mandrills or baboons, they would be made drunk with wine and then loosed upon groups of young girls, most often virgins, whose genitals had been soaked with the female urine of either a mandrill or a baboon.

As for the possibility of a human impregnating a chimpanzee (or vice versa) and producing a viable offspring, the chances are greatly complicated by the discrepancy in the number of chromosomes between the two species, chimps possessing 24 pairs and humans 23. Still, a chimp-human hybrid, though likely to be sterile, is biologically feasible, and there has been all manner of speculation and lurid lore over the ages about the existence of actual "humanzees" or "chumans" or "manpanzees."

link: I'm tired of just being a man | Salon


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