Chimera Research Means We Could All Have Real-Life Superpowers Someday
Pretty soon we’re all gonna be like the X-Men.
Show of hands for anyone who hasn’t ever wished they could sprint with the speed of a cheetah, or soar through the treetops on a set of human-sized eagle wings. Hell, maybe you’ve always wished you could “moo” like a cow. No judgement. You do you.
Well, good news. human/animal hybrids might not be too far off from becoming reality. Recently, the National Institute of Health announced plans to lift a moratorium on “chimera” research, or scientific research that combines human stem cells and animal embryos.
Now, if stem cell research wasn’t already controversial enough, adding a cross-species wrinkle to the mix definitely didn’t doing anything quell its opponents—but it does present some pretty fascinating possibilities. For instance, scientists hope to use this research to create animals with human organs that could be used to shrink the disparity between the number of patients in need of transplants and the number of viable donors.
The NIH has laid out a strict set of ethical and practical guidelines to ensure that researchers aren’t, you know, unwittingly endowing animals with human consciousness or fertilizing animal embryos with human sperm, or any other kind of mad scientist shit. While this (unfortunately) means you won’t be sitting in traffic next to a centaur anytime soon, it’s important to remember that this research is in its infancy, and the potential for sci-fi craziness is still enormous.
Remember that time when scientists grew a functioning human ear on a mouse?
You probably wouldn’t want a pair of these flanking your face, but to a person who has lost hearing function in either or both ears, this transplant could sound pretty ear-pealing. Now, take this idea to it’s fullest logical conclusion and imagine a future where people can genetically modify themselves to take on the traits or anatomy of other species. Potentially terrifying? Absolutely. Strangely appealing and kind of awesome? That too.
Having trouble imagining a futuristic race of human/animal hybrids?No worries. We mocked up a few possibilities to help you out.
1. Human/Angler Fish
Sure, you might look like Aquaman’s evil twin, but you’ll never need your iPhone flashlight again. The ability to breathe underwater? That’s just a bonus.
The feather upkeep might get a little time consuming, but that’s a small price to pay for being able to fly and look like a literal angel. Blue nipples: optional.
This would take “furries” to a WHOLE new level.
Imagine a world where instead of the hottest fall fashion trend being a color or material, it’s adding cosmetic narwhal horn to your face.
They say we millennials can’t stop ourselves from multitasking. A couple extra sets of arms means you could watch Netflix, swipe on Tinder and play Pokemon GO all at the same time!
Because, deep down, we all wish we could get away with throwing our own poo at people.
What better way to excuse your insatiable appetite for sleep than by saying “Sorry, it’s hibernating season.”
Perfect for anyone who’s ever wanted 20/20/20/20/20/20/20/20/20/20/20/20/20/20/20/20/20/20/20 vision.
You would win every game of hide and seek for the rest of your life.
Hide your pizza. Hide your phone. Hide your house keys. Fanny packs just got fleshier.
Behold, the future of high fashion and the new definition of “strutting your stuff.”
Images by Ines Vuckovic