Anthropologists Trace Human Origins Back To One Large Goat

Top Headlines

Science & Technology

Universe Crueler, More Uncaring Place Than Previously Thought

The universe, long known as a bleak and unforgiving place where essentially nothing matters, is in fact even crueler and more heartless than previously thought, according to a startling report published Tuesday by scientists at the Institute for Advanced ...

Scientists Develop New Extra-Sloppy Peach

DAVIS, CA—Explaining that the latest strain of the fruit was far softer and runnier than previous varieties, agricultural scientists at the University of California, Davis announced Thursday the successful development of a new extra-sloppy peach.

SpaceX’s Plan To Colonize Mars

SpaceX founder Elon Musk continues to lay the groundwork to attempt the human colonization of Mars. Here’s a step-by-step guide to his plan:

The Pros And Cons Of Self-Driving Cars

With Uber’s robot cars debuting this week in Pittsburgh, many wonder whether driverless technology will improve or endanger our lives. The Onion weighs the pros and cons of self-driving cars

How Animals Go Extinct

With an estimated 40 percent of species on earth now considered endangered, many wonder how it’s possible for these animals to be wiped out. The Onion provides a step-by-step breakdown of how species go extinct

Horrible Facebook Algorithm Accident Results In Exposure To New Ideas

MENLO PARK, CA—Assuring users that the company’s entire team of engineers was working hard to make sure a glitch like this never happens again, Facebook executives confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that a horrible accident last night involving the website’s algorithm had resulted in thousands of users being exposed to new concepts.

Team Of Vatican Geneticists Successfully Clone God

VATICAN CITY—Describing the groundbreaking work as a major step forward for theological research, a team of Vatican geneticists held a press conference Tuesday at the Apostolic Palace to announce they had successfully cloned God.

Dad Shares Photo Album Through Never-Before-Seen Website

SECAUCUS, NJ—Wondering aloud how the father of three even managed to find the online image-hosting service, family members of local dad Phil Yates told reporters Monday the 57-year-old had shared a photo album with them through a never-before-seen website.

NASA Discovers Distant Planet Located Outside Funding Capabilities

WASHINGTON—Noting that the celestial body lies within the habitable zone of its parent star and could potentially harbor liquid water, NASA officials announced at a press conference Thursday they have discovered an Earth-like planet located outside their funding capabilities.

‘DSM-5’ Updated To Accommodate Man Who Is Legitimately Being Ordered To Kill By The Moon

ARLINGTON, VA—Saying they were committed to ensuring the influential reference text accurately represented all known psychological conditions, leading members of the American Psychiatric Association announced Monday they would update the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition to accommodate a man who is legitimately being ordered by the moon to kill those around him.

NASA Launches First Cordless Satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—In what experts are calling a breakthrough achievement that is poised to revolutionize American space exploration and telecommunications, NASA announced Friday it has successfully launched its first cordless satellite into orbit.

What Is Pokémon Go?

Since its debut last Thursday, the augmented-reality smartphone app Pokémon Go has been downloaded millions of times and has grown publisher Nintendo’s stock by 25 percent. The Onion answers some common questions about the game and its unprecedented success.

Factory Robot Working On Some Of Its Own Designs After Hours

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC—Saying it had been mulling over the “fun little side project” for a while, an Electroimpact Quadbot reportedly put in some extra work after hours at the Boeing assembly plant Wednesday to try out a few of its own original designs.

Books Vs. E-Readers

Though e-readers have increasingly supplanted books in the digital age, many bibliophiles defend the importance of physical texts. Here is a side-by-side comparison of physical books and e-books

Disney Begins Uploading Obama’s Consciousness To Hall Of Presidents Robot

BAY LAKE, FL—In an effort to provide park visitors with the most true-to-life attraction possible, Walt Disney World officials announced Monday that computer technicians have begun uploading Barack Obama’s consciousness into his animatronic robot likeness at the Magic Kingdom’s Hall of Presidents exhibit.

Facebook’s Plans For The Future

From instant articles to live video, Facebook continues to look for new ways to expand its reach and offerings. Here are some plans on the horizon for the social media giant

Brita Unveils New In-Throat Water Filters

OAKLAND, CA—Representatives from Brita, the nation’s bestselling brand of household water filtration products, held a press event Wednesday to unveil a new line of filters designed to be installed directly inside users’ throats.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next

Anthropologists Trace Human Origins Back To One Large Goat

'Wait, That Can't Be Right,' Scientists Say

Researchers say their goat-human evolution theory, on second thought, does feel a little off.
Researchers say their goat-human evolution theory, on second thought, does feel a little off.

NEW YORK—An international team of anthropologists announced Monday it had traced the lineage of Homo sapiens back to a single large Pliocene-era goat.

"We have mapped out each of the diverse branches of the human family back to the dawn of our species," Douglas Ochs of Columbia University said, "and found that the common ancestor of all living humans was an immense and cognitively advanced goat that roamed the earth 3.4 million years ago, foraging for…uh…"

"Hmm," added Ochs, pausing for a moment. "You know what? Now that I'm actually saying it out loud, it's starting to sound a little weird. Am I…is this the right research paper?"

After staring down at his notes and then quickly shuffling through some files, a visibly flustered Ochs called for aides to cut the looping CGI animation projected behind him, which showed several horned proto-humans covered in thick full-body coats of mohair walking across an African savanna.

Anthropologists claim the early human pictured above "subsisted largely on...wait, is that really the right picture?"

"If everyone could just give me a minute—this all made sense when we started the conference," Ochs said. "Kevin, can you hand me that folder?"

Funded by a grant from the Smithsonian Institution, the 17-year inquiry into the origins of the human race brought together 12 top anthropologists from around the world to pursue the single-large-goat theory, which participants in Monday's presentation assured audience members "felt more plausible when we came up with it, really it did."

The landmark study culminates in this week's release of a 270-page report explaining the structure of prehistoric humans' short, upturned woolly tails and identifying the roots of early Indo-European† language in goat bleating, which, Ochs stated, "maybe [they] should have double-checked real quick" before the paper went to publication.

"There may be some slight inconsistencies in a few of our results, but I assure you these bone samples and behavioral analyses are all, well…look, I'm not going to stand here and tell you they're not a little ridiculous-looking," said Regina Hubbard-Price, associate director of the American Anthropological Association. "Obviously, with hindsight, yes, it's somewhat odd that our theory presupposes complex hunter-gatherer societies composed of large, 250-pound bipedal goat-men. But a lot of thought went into this, I swear."

"Maybe we should have listened to Cliff [Geertz] back at the beginning when he kept emphasizing that humans don't look like goats," Hubbard-Price added.

As their colleagues huddled together and whispered behind them, researchers from Australia and Japan explained how one 6-foot-tall goat with a hominid skeletal structure spawned numerous goat-human hybrids over a period of 1.8 million years. In a series of PowerPoint slides, they then showed that our ancestors used their prehensile upper lips to perform basic agricultural tasks and stomped out crude pottery with their cloven feet, theories that team members stopped reading aloud to the assembled audience almost immediately after reaching the words "cloven feet."

"Okay, so I'm reading this now, and it says, 'After trotting out of Africa nearly 2 million years ago, our earliest ancestors used their strong hooves and hindquarters to climb up steep mountain slopes in search of delicious moss,'" said British anthropologist Oliver Cranmore, reading from the report and shaking his head. "The thing is, I think I actually wrote that part. And I remember feeling very confident and excited about it at the time. This is weird."

After opening the floor to questions, researchers said they were now able to pinpoint what should have been warning signs that their findings were problematic, such as the moment 10 years ago when none of them could account for why present-day humans don't have horns, or the realization in the spring of 2004 that goats today exhibit virtually no humanlike characteristics whatsoever.

In spite of such incongruities, most of the scientists maintained that much of the physical evidence appeared to corroborate the goat- human connection, from countless Paleolithic cave paintings of goats, to the fact that many of man's earliest gods and demons took the form of goats, to colleague Lou Samedi's narrow, pointy beard.

"You know what? This might actually still be right," said University of California professor Han Choi, leafing through printouts of data. "Some male goats can reach almost 160 pounds, and that's pretty close to a normal-sized man."

"So, if you think about it," Choi added before trailing off. "Hold on, sorry."


Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close