Scientists in America have confirmed that recents tests show residents of East Tyrone are even more closely related to baboons than what had already been suspected. Professor Kenny Cullen, from the Institution of Biology and Genetics in Boston, spent five months in Ardboe after a year-long stay in Zambia. He is convinced that at around the time of Jesus, there were more baboons on the loughshore than humans.
“Yes, I’m totally convinced now. I enjoyed my time in Ardboe but I could easily have been in the jungles of Zambia and Tanzania. The similarities of the baboon community and everyone from Pomeroy eastwards was remarkably similar. Physically, both sets of males have powerful jaws, thick body hair and sharp teeth. The women on both sides have protruding buttocks which they use to impress the males, especially around Brocagh. That’s only the tip of the iceberg.”
The biological togetherness doesn’t end there. Prof Cullen also noticed a remarkable alikeness for behaviour:
“They both like running about aimlessly in open fields, hunting in packs for food at any time of day and night, eating a lot of fish and grass, and showing aggression by stripping their teeth and screaming or smacking their own lips. In Derrylaughan they beat their chests when not getting served in time in Falls’ shop or pub. It’s quite remarkable.”
Cullen admits that East Tyrone humans have evolved somewhat in order to fit into a more civilised world without shocking visitors from the west or other communities.
“Fortunately, the human variation has modified their behaviour somewhat. For example, the East Tyrone male does not attempt to woo a partner by grooming their target and eating any nits they find on her mane. One Coalisland human tried that at a disco in Cookstown and was met with a swift and painful handbag whelp across his face.”
Professor Cullen is to embark on another 10-years mission to discover the links between West Tyrone locals and wild feral dogs.