[Taxacom] chimp-human interbreeding & fuzzy origins?

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Mon May 22 07:31:37 CDT 2006

I'll put my neck out and say that it sounds like garbage. Its also one
of these troubling trends for "advance" electronic publication that is
available only to those with the financial access (does anyone on this
list have access who can provide me with a copy?). In the meantime the
propaganda machine is in full swing with miscellaneous coffee table
pieces parroting the claims that are propagated in all sorts of media
even though the foundations for the claims remain opaque to most.
Already, for example, Ken has decided that it does sound like a case of
fuzzy origin even though he has apparently not seen the original

As for the claim itself, the link states "Further analyses indicate that
this separation was complex, with possible interbreeding between the
ancient ancestors of the two modern species." This is the beginning of
the problem as the analysis does not "indicate" any such thing. Rather,
the authors invoke the "explanation" (really a just so story)which
itself is based on the assumption that the DNA sequence similarity is a
self sufficient proof of relationship between humans and the great apes.
The authors decide that the variation in molecular clocks (another
problematic area) requires an explanation and the one they dream up is
interbreeding before finally splitting. That explanation may well
explain the data, but it does not mean that that is what happened or
that the "explanation" has anything to do with the pattern. If DNA
sequence similarity is the necessary proof of relationship (in which
case all morphological systematics positions should be terminated) the
hybridization theory might have some legs, but in absence of any
empirical support the hybridization theory doesn't even have stumps. I
will even call it all pseudoscience. 

And to top it off we are back to that other piece of DNA propaganda -
that any fossil pre-dating their molecular clock cannot be what it seems
to be Although in this case I have no problem with the Sahelanthropus
fossil not being a hominid as I am not even aware of its dentition being
"human-like" (as claimed in the article Ken cited) in any cladistically
meaningful way.

John Grehan

> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Ken Kinman
> Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2006 11:53 PM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: [Taxacom] chimp-human interbreeding & fuzzy origins?
> Dear All:
>      Comparisons of the chimp and human genomes are apparently
> that they may have partially interbred for a million years after the
> speciation process first began.  Don't know the details, so not sure
> significant or accurate this analysis might be, but sounds like it be
> case
> of very fuzzy origins for both species:
> http://www.broad.mit.edu/cgi-bin/news/display_news.cgi?id=1003
>      ----Ken Kinman
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