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Episode Notes for
Horrifying Hybrids


Dr. Steven Jones

In this episode, MonsterTalk examines monsters that genetically blend humans with the other. Hosts Blake Smith, Ben Radford, and Dr. Karen Stollznow explore the plausibility of alien-human hybridizations, dig into the real science of genetics — and consider the ethical questions involved.

Weighing in on these issues is Dr. Steven Jones — noted geneticist, teacher, and television presenter. (He is also the author of many books including Darwin’s Ghost, Introducing Genetics, Coral: A Pessimist in Paradise.)

Did Stalin really want to build an army of gorilla-human hybrids? Is the upright-walking chimp called Oliver really some kind of chimpanzee-human mix? The plausibility of such creatures may surprise you…

In this episode

  • Some basic elements of genetics: What is a gene? What is a species?
  • Why have sex? Why have males? And what happens if your hermaphrodite sex-partner bites off your penis?
  • The role of fiction in driving the public perception of science?
  • What are the positive results of genetics research?
  • How much do chimpanzees and humans share genetically?
  • Is chimpanzee/human hybridization possible?
  • What about alien/human hybridization?
  • What are epigenetics?
  • How plausible is a dino-chicken from embryonic manipulation?
  • What ethical issues constrain genetic research?
  • Could a mammoth or thylacine be reconstructed from corpse DNA?
  • Is creationism a problem in the UK?
  • Is technology going to change human evolution?


Episode Transcript

Read a complete transcript of this episode

The views expressed on this program are not necessarily the views of the Skeptics Society or Skeptic magazine.

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