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Planet of the hairless apes

our cousins?
our cousins?
courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Is there any doubt about the fact that humans dominate the earth?

When we reach to the skies, we rule them.

Remember the expression, “Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.”

Man against fish, we stand little chance against the great white shark or Moby Dick.

But humans have the advantage of being able to get out of the water and organize hunts by boat or helicopter, more than leveling the playing field.

On land, tiger beats unarmed man, but rifle trumps tiger. Brain power wins over brawn.

Whether you like the idea or not, humankind has risen to the top of the food chain.

The question is, how did we get there?

Was it really just a combination of gene pool isolation, time, and a lot of sexual reproduction to kill boredom?

How did man become a hairless ape so ridiculously advanced when compared to his hairy brother? It’s kind of funny to think that the Bible offers a hint Darwin could have been right about the origin of species.

Remember the story of Esau and Jacob?

One kid was really hairy while the other was almost hairless.

Does this mean that Esau exhibited Neanderthal or Australopithecus traits, or could he have merely been suffering from a case of hypertrichosis?

How can we ever figure out an answer to that question?

Recently I engaged a very intelligent friend – a scientist from Down Under – on the topic of natural selection in regard to the formation of a new species of animal.

Zoe made clear that her true field of expertise is literally rocket science. Her specialty is studying evolution as applied to computational chemistry.

She is not an evolutionary biologist. Perhaps one out there is willing to join our conversation to offer any corrections of misperceptions that are necessary.

However, she is willing to offer this writer her highly informed opinion in lieu of one from an expert in that particular field until a voice of authority decides to cooperate.

In the course of our conversation, Zoe agreed with my assertion that sexual reproduction and time, are the only known mechanisms to explain how natural selection might extend beyond known biological barriers to form a new species, clade, or whatever current term you prefer.

Allegedly only by descent over time, we separated from the apes.

Going back farther, we separated from bears, lions, and tigers.

Still farther back in time, we are supposedly related to crabs, whales, and sharks.

Finally, if you go back far enough, we find ourselves very distant cousins (through descent via sexual reproduction, remember?) to bananas, oak trees, and algae.

In other words, we are all pond scum.

Am I the only person on the planet having a hard time believing this speculation?

There seems to be a number of problems with this philosophy.

First, there are known biological limitations regarding the offspring that result from mating.

Animals tend to breed with members of their species.

Mating with another species almost always produces sterile hybrids like mules, wholphins and zedonks.

Otherwise, we would be able to naturally observe the emergence of zedonk, wholphin, or mule species.

But we do not.

Therefore, the organization of a new species must be accomplished by gene flow, isolation, fitness and other factors within members of the same existing species.

Over lots of time, of course.

Unquestionably, these factors easily explain variations within a species – like polar bears, grizzly bears, and their fertile “hybrid” first cousins, the polizzly bear.

Or the Larus gulls. Or Darwin’s finches.

Only by claiming polar bear and grizzly bear are different species can one claim observable speciation has occurred.

However, descent by natural selection does not explain the existence of both Larus gulls and Darwin’s finches from some common ancestry.

You can claim that gulls and finches are closely related by DNA, but you cannot say with any certainty that we know for sure how that relationship developed solely via the means of natural selection and sexual reproduction.

Indeed, the “modern” laws of biological reproduction seem to starkly contradict the idea that animals of two different species would share a common ancestor.

And these modern rules of biology are rather strictly enforced. Humans breed to produce new humans, and apes breed and produce new apes.

And ne’er the twain shall meet.

Another significant issue with the biology is the problem of incest.

For the sake of argument, let’s say humans really are hairless apes. Some regular primates migrated to very hot parts of the continent away from their relatives.

They were isolated by mountains or water from remixing in with their kin. Then over generations, gene swapping, survival of the fittest, etc. meant that s-l-o-w-l-y, so that you could never tell the difference between parent and child, these apes gradually lost their hair, began to walk upright, learn to develop speech, and then to communicate on how best to make weapons to dispatch their less fortunate, more brutish cousins from the face of the planet.

So far, so good?

Please note that I have not yet proclaimed the theory completely unbelievable – I only find it considerably less plausible than my alternate theory developed as a result of trying to figure out how the “scientific” one supposedly works.

But I mentioned incest.

To gain “purity” of mutation in this isolated colony, there must be a significant amount of inbreeding between closely related animals in order to protect a specific trait. We have learned this through animal breeding.

If you want all the characteristics of a purebred German Shepherd Dog, you need a purebred mother and father.

But if you want a healthier German Shepherd Dog, the purebred parents must not be closely related. The Bible may tell us that incest is morally wrong, but the rule (according to genetics) inflicts a physical price on its practitioners.

Coincidentally, many breeders suggest that if they stop the practice of artificial selection, the canine species will devolve to a generic, mostly black mutt.

And who is managing all of this in the wild?

Incest within small, confined populations is only one challenge to the theory of speciation to create a species.

Genetics expert Dr. Barry Starr of Stanford University wrote the informative article found at this link which describes how two parents without red hair could have a red-haired child.

Or two parents with brown eyes could have a blue-eyed child.

There is even a report of a very rare case where two black parents had a baby with blond hair and blue eyes.

So, it isn’t out of the question that two hairy primates could have hairless (or less hairy) offspring, but what are the odds of survival for that offspring? Or that trait being preserved?

There is a problem of dominant versus recessive genes.

“Hairy” ape would obviously be the norm or expected result over “hairless” ape.

Humans became the dominant species, and hairlessness is the dominant trait of this new species.

Question: if we are descended from and remain primates, how and when did hairiness switch from being a dominant to a recessive trait?

Due to concerns about excessive article length, I shall only mention that the problem of having enough time for this to happen is greatly exacerbated by what our paleontologist friends have told us about mass extinctions indicated by the fossil record.

As a result, we need new hypotheses like panspermia and punctuated equilibrium in order to reconcile the problem between the time needed for evolution to occur in spite of periodic mass extinctions.

Also, the inconsistency in the rate of change in animal form is another most maddening problem.

Neither the coelacanth nor crocodile have allegedly evolved to any significant degree in over 300 million years.

The duck native to Georgia allegedly has not evolved from modern form in over 50 million years.

Why does some basic morphology of some species become fixed while others continue to have dramatic mutatations for millions of years afterward?


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