Re: Humans and chimps

Michael Bauser (
16 Aug 1995 01:02:43 -0400

In article <403hjc$>, (Chris Cracknell) wrote:

> Since there some species that are closely related are able to mate and
> produce offspring (albeit sterile offspring) and since chimps and humans
> share over 97% of the same genetic makeup.... well... is it possible for
> a chimp and a human to mate and produce a sterile offspring? I know, I

> Also is it is possible has anyone speculated what the features of such a
> creature would be, praticularily in reguards to the brain.

While humans and chimpanzees have similar/identical sequences on many
chromosomes, they have different *numbers* of chromosomes (humans have
less -- somewhere after diverging, some of ours merged). A human/chimp
crossbreed would have unpaired chromosomes. That's *bad*. An embryo
probably wouldn't carry to term, and even if it did, there would
probably be massive defects. Defects caused by unpaired chromosomes
(in humans) often include mental retardation. (I'm not sure if that's
retardation by human terms, or by chimp terms, but I wouldn't bet money
on getting a good conversationalist.)

> I naturally expect that should such a mating be possible the ethical
> considerations would prohibit any primatologist from artificially
> inseminating a chimp with human sperm, but has anyone done any
> theoretical research on this subject?

No research that I know of, but I must point out that such reserach is
one of anthropology's odder urban legends. Physical anthropologists have
told me they've heard rumors about "Russian" and/or "Chinese" scientists
cross-breeding humans and chimps, but it's all just Cold War Commie-bashing

Michael Bauser <> 42 07 30 N, 83 08 30 W
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