Do you know what animal is most similar to humans in terms of metabolism, histocompatibility, and physical endurance? Apparently, it is not apes or dolphins or dogs.
Think cardiac surgery. The animal with cardiac hardware most similar to humans and therefore least likely to be rejected or fail early is the pig. This is because pigs have basically the same cardiovascular capacity as humans (in terms of volume of oxygen consumed, or MVO2), as well as similar histocompatibility (proteins on cellular surfaces that distinguish “self” from “intruder” to the immune system.
This news makes me feel a bit depressed (not the histocompatibility part-that I just find interesting, but the cardiovascular capacity part). See, I just recently ran my first half marathon, and feel somewhat proud of my physical performance. The unfortunate fact is, that the wild boar can sprint just slightly faster than an Olympic sprinter, and has about the same endurance as well.
Pigs are also highly intelligent by the way. Check out this pig genius video: http://animal.discovery.com/tv-shows/animal-planet-presents/videos/most-outrageous-pig-genius.htm
As it turns out, pigs are also the domestic animal with the best aptitude for returning to the wild state. While the difference in appearance between a wild boar and domestic pig is significant, this transition can be accomplished in the lifespan of a single pig.
“Any pig that gets out can revert back in a matter of months to a state where it can exist in the wild,” said Brown. “It will get hairy, grow tusks and get aggressive. They’re so good at adapting, and with their scavenging nature, they can get by pretty much anywhere.” (http://blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/outdoors/2007/11/domestic_pigs_quickly_revert_t.html)
Specific adaptations occur which include pigmentation and hair growth to adapt to harsher living environment. The wild boar also has a flatter, thicker nasal bridge to allow him to root out food. The wild boar is also leaner due to his lifestyle. In contrast, the domestic pig has a thinner, curved nasal bridge since he does not have to root for food. His body composition is of a higher body fat percentage due to his sedentary lifestyle. His skin is bald and pink because of he is relatively protected from harsh extremes.
I have noted a similar tendency in the pig’s near relative-the human. All I can do lately is look at people and think: domestic or wild? Look at the skin around the face and neck. Look at the overall body habitus. Let’s face it: ranchers do not look like bankers.
Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and ask the same question: domestic or wild?
In conclusion: I would rather be a wild boar than a domestic pig! Granted, both are pigs, but there is just something really wrong with the way the domestic pig looks in my opinion.
So, what is your alternative hypothesis?