Been reading about artificial selection...(as opposed to natural selection.) Its pretty amazing the way humans have sculpted wolves into dogs, dogs into mastiffs and terriers, horses into thoroughbreds, cows into milk machines... the list goes on and on. Most domesticated animals couldn't survive in a de-humaned world anymore. Most bulldogs are born by C-section nowadays. Their heads are too big for a natural birth.
(Heck. Forget animals. Look how we have selectively sculpted our own gene pool. How many modern humans are really physically suited to survive and successfully repopulate a completely 'natural' (by which I mean mainly just a de-technological-ified) world? I'd make it less than half, no question. Maybe a tenth?)
So what I think would be neat is this: Let's breed chimps for intelligence and see just how smart a monkey we can get. There are already talking (well, sign-languaging) apes with working vocabularies of 300+ words. What would 10 generations of selected breeding for braininess do? How close can an animal get to human intelligence?
(Better question: How close can humans get to animal intelligence? I was at walmart today. It's better than a petting zoo sometimes. What's the Dune quote?
Paul: 'You dare suggest the Duke's son is an animal?'
Reverend mother: 'Let us say that I suggest that you may be human.' I digress.)
A few million years back there were many species of large-ish brained, bipedal, tool-making apes coexisting on the same planet at the same time. (or so the fossil evidence suggests. Also we find their tools). Now there is only us.
What must it be like, having a 'sibling species'? What does a lion think when it runs into a leopard? ('Nice spots.' 'Nice beard.' 'Ee-chuta!' 'How rude!') Seriously... what does meeting a zebra or a horse tell a donkey about what it means to be a donkey? I think it'd... well, it would mess with your head for sure. It would make you think. But WHAT would it make you think? THAT'S what I wanna know.
People don't have any close relatives. All we've got are chimps... retarded second cousin Andy living in the basement... I don't think they count.
So, I think it'd be fascinating to breed a breed of really smart monkeys. What if they could learn to read? What if they could write books? Or even just maintain a lame blog or Facebook page. (Status update: "Thing is people, nobody really likes bananas.") What if they all turn out to be annoying morons?