A coming glorious epoch of monkey supremacy

Who’ll get us first? I guess what I’m saying is let’s not pledge fealty to any one overlord.

A coming glorious epoch of monkey supremacy

A British geneticist claims to have made a startling discovery: humanity has stopped evolving. He apparently arrived at this conclusion after studying new data, analyzing behavioural patterns, and watching Rosie O’Donnell eat a side of ribs.

Professor Steve Jones of University College London cites a number of reasons, but says the leading cause of our stagnation as a species is that fewer older men are fathering children. Turns out a man in his 50s is more likely than a man in his 30s to pass on genetic “mutations,” the fuel of evolution. (By total coincidence, professor Jones is 64 years old—an older man—making his theory either the summation of a life’s work in science or the worst pick-up line ever. Hey baby, how’d ya like to help encourage a few cellular deviations?)

Many are taking issue with Jones’s conclusions—but what if he’s right? What if there will be no sixth finger or third arm for humankind—and no second liver for Lohankind? What if we really are done evolving?

Then the monkeys win, people.

The monkeys win.

Don’t get me wrong: we’ve had a good run as a species. Discovered fire. Mastered language. Invented the Swiffer. And evolution has been good to us: in politicians, for instance, evolution has over many centuries replaced the heart with a swollen gland capable of producing an extraordinary quantity of gall.

But already monkeys are gaining on us, continuing to evolve and improve themselves. Researchers recently found that some Nigerian monkeys may even be starting to speak in “sentences” by combining specific noises into a sequence. This development heralds a coming epoch of monkey domination and, in the meantime, technically makes all organ grinders bilingual.

According to scientists who monitor the Nigerian monkeys, when the adult male delivers a “sentence” of sounds consisting of three pyows and four hacks, it is understood by the female monkeys to mean “let’s get going” or “time to move on.” Whereas four pyows and three hacks clearly means, “I’m going bowling with Steve.” (I’m paraphrasing.) Hurling one’s feces at another monkey, meanwhile, is still generally understood by scholars to translate as, “I’m preparing for my Rob Schneider audition.”

Bottom line: they’re getting more intelligent and we’re not. And they’re plenty clever already. A single monkey in Tokyo recently eluded 30 police officers sent into a subway station to trap it with nets. In Florida, meanwhile, monkeys escaped from a safari park last month and took refuge at a nearby ranch, where they attempted to make off with a tractor. The rancher tried for a while to capture the monkeys but, having failed, has decided to settle for peaceful coexistence. “They are smart,” he told a local TV station. “Very smart.”

At this point, regular readers of this column may be confused. For years I’ve warned of the Robocalypse—the uprising of robots that will lead to the eradication of every human on earth except me, who will walk among the robots in disguise, the years of wearing this trash can on my torso and this metal colander over my head finally paying off.

But will the monkeys get us first? I guess what’s important here is that we not prematurely pledge our fealty to any particular overlord. I for one certainly remember how awkward it was after I offered my undying loyalty to Jesus Jones. (I can admit now that I reacted a touch too literally to reports that their infectious pop songs were conquering America.)

This much can be said with certainty—we are not exactly helping our own cause in a potential war against the monkey menace. Not long ago, scientists at the University of Washington used an electrical circuit to give paralyzed monkeys the ability to move their arms. On one hand, this could lead to neuroprosthetics for humans with spinal cord injuries. But on the other hand . . . monkey cyborgs! Coming down from the hills! Monkeyborgs! Ruuuuuuun!

For humans, a lifetime of servitude as a monkey concubine may serve as an evolutionary settling of scores. A recent study found that our early human ancestors may actually have interbred with the forerunners of chimpanzees long after the two species branched out from their shared family tree.

These findings have shocked the scientific community—not to mention many chimpanzee parents, who suspected their daughters were up to something but, wow, not anything this freaky. The researchers claim that human/chimp DNA didn’t finally diverge until 5.4 million years ago—to translate for creationists: last Wednesday—which is hundreds of thousands of very awkward years after the two lines split. (Typical morning-after conversation: “Gee. Last night at the cave—I coulda sworn you were a biped.”)

What’s inescapable is that we are as a species the product of our distant ancestors’ hot urges for chimps. An eternity later, payback may be coming our way: monkey see, monkey kill.

And don’t even get me started on the hell we’re going to catch from dolphins.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.