Bassou: Man-Ape Hybrid?
Bassou lives in the Valley of Dades, near the town of Skoura, in Morocco. He sleeps in the trees there and subsists on dates, berries, and insects. He wears no clothes (although he was persuaded to don a burlap sack for the photograph which appears here), uses no tools, and speaks only in grunts.
The local Berbers have been aware of Bassou's presence for at least the past 25 years, but they shun him in superstitious fear and have been unable to give any clue as to his origin. Western scientists have also been aware of Bassou for a number of years, but, for the most part, they too shun him in superstitious fear. For Bassou's existence raises some very troubling questions for the true believers in the TV religion of universal human equality. It has been hard enough for them to try to fit Blacks and Whites together into that scheme, without having to worry about Bassou.
What is Bassou? No one really knows. He displays both ape-like and manlike characteristics. Those who have studied him, however, have been reluctant to accept the suggestion that he is the product of a mating between a human being – Negro or Berber – and an anthropoid ape, all three of which Morocco has an abundance.
Yet, Bassou is clearly something special, and not just a deformed human being. With arms so long his fingers hang below his knees when he stands upright; with massive, bony ridges above his eyes and a sharply receding forehead; with jaws, teeth, chin, and cheekbones all showing pronounced ape-like characteristics, he is a true ape-man.
[Caption: BASSOU, so named by the local Berbers, is an embarrassment to those who insist that every animal which qualifies as "human" is "equal" to every other such animal.]
There have been rumors for centuries – ever since Africa was opened to European exploration – of apes raiding African villages and mating with Negro women. Thus, the King Kong legend. Scientists have never been able to confirm these rumors, and it has been assumed that, even if such matings did occasionally take place, there would be no offspring.
But there has never been a scientific effort – largely for religious reasons – to actually determine whether a union between some human sub-species – a Negro, say – and some species of ape, might be fertile. Numerous other examples of inter-specific matings which yield hybrid offspring are known. The mule is a cross between a horse and a donkey, and the liger is a cross between a lion and a tiger, for example.
If Bassou is indeed such a hybrid – and no other plausible explanation for him has yet been brought forward – then his existence throws a real monkey wrench into the neo-liberal theory of the separateness of man from the rest of Nature. It forces us to face the continuity of Nature's hierarchy. And it makes us ask some questions.
What is human? Where shall we draw the line? Shall we include Bassou and begin worrying about whether his "human dignity" has been abused? And if we include Bassou – and if he is a hybrid – what of his parents? Shall we include one but not the other? If we include both, are we to turn loose all the chimpanzees and gorillas now in our zoos and register them to vote?
Perhaps we need to re-examine the whole myth of racial equality and begin to face reality.
(National Vanguard, Issue No. 44, 1976)