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Apes and Selective Breeding

  1. Mar 7, 2010 #1
    Why don't scientists try to breed apes and other primates selectively to try to get them to become more human-like? We could do it over generations and generations and keep track of the differences with cameras. Sounds like a great idea in trying to prove or disprove evolution of humans.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2010 #2
    That would be an extremely time-consuming affair, since great apes (like humans) are rarely able to reproduce before the age of 8 to 10. And, among people with enough resources to pull this off, proving or disproving evolution of humans is normally not a high-priority objective.
  4. Mar 7, 2010 #3
    But if evolution is proved then scientists would be able to shut up creationists and religious people. I mean, if we share 95% of our DNA, we should be able to breed them to our liking, thus, over a lot of time, making them more human like. It doesn't have to "change" into a human species. It just needs to show some small characteristics (more than it already does lol) so that many people who don't believe in the theory of evolution can see what happens.
  5. Mar 7, 2010 #4
    A lot of scientists speculate that humans got their bipedal walking from having to walk through swamps and tall weeds. We could put apes in environments similar to what I described and then see what happens.
  6. Mar 7, 2010 #5


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    It wouldn't prove it - nutters (sorry deeply committed religous people) would claim that it proved you needed a god to direct evolution.

    Evolution has already been proved in every hospital with MRSA and every druggie with drug resistant TB.

    There was a breeding program like your described in the soviet union with dogs, IIRC they showed you could go from wolves to dogs in a few decades.
  7. Mar 7, 2010 #6

    I had always read of that breeding experiment in the Soviet Union being with Foxes not wolves and they were still foxes afterwards not dogs at all (although similiar to dogs.)

    What is extremely remarkable about that experiment is that the 'human friendly' foxes, after so many generations, had floppy ears and a broken patterned coat and curly tails(like cows or dogs) among other features.
    It is a very significant experiment to me because of my own nutter ideas which I won't mention here.
  8. Mar 7, 2010 #7
    BTW, these domesticated foxes are now available for sale in the United States. $6000 including shipping from Siberia. Unfortunately, foxes don't live that long (shorter than cats), they can't be bred because they are neutered before the sale, and they are illegal to own in at least 20 states.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2010
  9. Mar 7, 2010 #8
    Like I said, if it takes even 10 generations to produce visible changes (and 10 generations is not a lot), that's 100-120 years if you work with gorillas or orangutans, 150 years if you work with chimps. Like mgb_phys said, even that is not going to convince anyone who hasn't been convinced yet. You could try to cut down those numbers through IVF & such, but that's going to shoot down your credibility among the creationist crowd even lower than it was to begin with (if that is at all possible).
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2010
  10. Mar 7, 2010 #9


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    Thanks, thats what I was remembering
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