I think it was Thomas Jefferson or possibly ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic who said something on the order of, “In the course of Human events there may at one point arise the need to impregnate a cheetah via in vitro fertilization then transfer the embryos to a surrogate mother cheetah.”
According to an article I just read on Google News, thanks to biologists at the Columbus Zoo, that day has arrived. And not a moment too soon if you ask me.
I can imagine the conversation that lead up to the discovery.
“I have an idea,” says the first biologist to the second biologist from a barstool at a local drinkery. “Let’s impregnate a cheetah using in vitro fertilization.”
“What the hell for?” says the second biologist, pretending he knows what ‘in vitro’ means.
“So we can place the embryos in another cheetah,” says the first biologist.
“What the hell for?” says the second biologist.
“I’m not sure,” said the first biologist, feeling a bit smug for having just stolen the lion’s share of almonds out of the dish between them right under the second biologist’s nose. “I’ll think of a reason when I sober up.”
The reason he eventually came up with was saving cheetahs from extinction. Apparently, there aren’t a whole lot of them left.
According to the article, it took fifteen years to develop the process. What the article leaves out is the fact it took only six months to develop the actual process. It took fourteen and a half years for a biologist to run down a cheetah. They are the fastest land animals in the world and your average biologist is a frumpy, overweight guy in his mid-forties that doesn’t even own a pair of track shoes. When a female cheetah spotted one of them coming at her carrying his in vitro fertilization tools, she disappeared in the blink of an eye putting as much real estate between her and the biologist as possible. This is why Nature leaves the impregnation of female cheetahs exclusively up to male cheetahs.
But capture one they finally did. Impregnate her they did. Took the embryos out of her and placed them in a surrogate mother cheetah they did. Ruined the surrogate mother’s figure, which is totally unfair, they did.
After it had all been accomplished, the second biologist said to the first biologist, “Couldn’t we have just let a male cheetah impregnate a female, let her have her babies, then ship the babies to other zoos?”
“Shut up,” said the first biologist to the second biologist.
The Columbus Zoo biologists describe this as a first step. They plan to try this technology out on other species. All I can say to that is there is going to be a bunch of confused little critters in the not too distant future when Mother’s Day rolls around.
I am actually contemplating getting into the embryo transfer business myself. I am thinking of starting my own Kickstarter campaign to pioneer the in vitro fertilization of Bigfoot.
The first round of funding will finance my search for and the capture of a male and two female… Bigfoots? Bigfeet?. Whatever. I will travel from one luxury hotel to the next all over the country. Using the hotel as a base, I’ll search any nearby woods for these elusive creatures. This search could take several years and several rounds of funding for which I have no doubt you will contribute. The bar tab alone will probably be tremendous.
Once I have captured my subjects, my plan is to not fertilize just one female Bigfoot, but both of them. Next I plan to swap the Bigfoot embryos out randomly between both mothers throughout the pregnancy.
“What the hell for?” you may ask.
I’ll think of a reason when I sober up.