The original question was:
I know someone who thinks humans and apes can and have interbred in the past and that explains some of the facial features and dark skinned people. My reply was the Bible says, after their own kind, and so I didn’t think it would be possible pre-1900 (who knows what they can do today) and that apes have more chromosomes etc. but they weren’t convinced. Can you give me some rock solid info that they won’t be able to dispute.
Answer by John Mackay and Diane Eager
There are stories that this was attempted in Stalinist Russia, but it has never been done, last century or this century, and we predict it won’t be done, because it cant happen. Why can’t it happen?
You are correct about there being a difference in chromosomes. Apes have 48 arranged in 24 pairs, humans have 46 arranged in 23 pairs. For successful mating each parent provides half a set of chromosomes, which then come together to form new pairs. Proper pairing will not happen with a mismatch of chromosome numbers in any potential parents. This can also occur even when the genes on the right number of matching chromosomes, but they are simply in a different order due to chromosomal breakage.
Furthermore, detailed studies of ape and human chromosomes have shown there are many differences between the organisation of genes within them, as well as differences between individual genes. See “Chimp Genes 83% Non-Human” in Creation Research Fact File here.
Ape and human cells have many important differences. Apes have a particular type of sialic acid on their cells, which is not found in humans. Our immune systems recognise this as a foreign molecule and destroy any cells that have it. For this reason all attempts at transplants from apes or baboons to man have been disastrous failures. Recent studies into the genetics of sialic acids have revealed there over about 60 genes involved in their biochemistry and at least 10 of these differ in apes and humans.
As to such cross breeding accounting for some features of black humans features you need to look at the obvious differences between apes and humans of all races. See the question: Man, apes and monkeys: what are the differences? These differences are just as great in dark-skinned people as in light skinned people. For example: one very clear difference is in hair. Humans and apes have a totally different pattern of hair, and black Africans, who live where the Great Apes live, are the least hairy human race. The hairiest humans are found among European and other lighter skinned ethnic groups. This is no help to your friend’s racist arguments at all.
For more about human hair see the question: Why is the human body covered in hair? Is it a throwback to when we were apes?
Ultimately any stories of ape/human hybrids can be consigned to either failed Communist conspiracies or atheist ambitions, because in reality they are only the stuff of science fiction and urban myths. The reality is that both man and ape reproduction actually behave in the way God stated they would. Each time God created living things, he stated creatures would produce their own kind, and that is what they have been observed to do as long as we have studied them. After its kind is the way it is for apes and humans.
For more on supposed evolutionary vestiges see the article Vestigial Organs PDF here
Photos by Bill Boehm. Used with permission.
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