"By injecting Stone Age genes into a human embryo it will soon be possible to create a living Neanderthal."

- Harvard professor George Church

Too late, George. When the anthropologist Melvin Mead III parted the creosote bushes and saw Arizonapithecus Neanderthalus roaming the grounds of the state Capitol, he had stumbled upon the find of the century: a stone-age tribe that appeared on the evolutionary lineup long before the original inhabitants of Professor Louis Leakey's Olduvai Gorge were clacking rocks together.

Mead left them where he found them.

In my view, we'd all be better off if they were living on a preserve in Samoa, cracking coconuts over each other's heads and wearing clams on their feet.

Mead wrote, "In this strange place, pithecoids rule over their evolutionary superiors in a setting not unlike a 'Planet of the Apes' sequel. Their ritualized annual gathering is called 'The Legislative Session'. During these 'sessions' they amble about formulating codes for their human captives to live by."

Let's examine this year's stellar output.

One tribe member wanted to allow any upright chimp to be able to practice law without a law degree because what's the big deal? None of the witch doctors in his village have medical degrees.

Another wanted warning labels to prevent helpless pithecoids like herself from accidentally ingesting pot because "if we got high on weed, think of the crazy laws we'd come up with." Right.

Another wanted public potty police to keep transgender demons away from him because "I don't always have my tin-foil hat with me to keep away the evil spirits."

Last week, the scorpion-chewing matriarch of the tribe, "Wagging Talon Woman," asked her clan to expand Arizona's Medicaid program.

The tribe responded by demanding to see her birth certificate.

She responded by offering to sacrifice Planned Parenthood under a full moon.

Why not? We are sixth in the nation for teen pregnancy. As any spear-shaking Arizonapithecus Neanderthalus will tell you, "Family planning cause pregnancy. Abstinence work good."

Spending their days foraging for corporate donors and gnawing on their boots, Arizonapithecus have little time to devote to education. Like the apes vexed by the humming monolith in Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," they circled around "education", slapped the dirt and spanked their perplexed heads.

Eventually one of them picked up a bone, learned how to break things and set about fixing education in five easy steps:

• Beat with magic voucher stick.

• Keep beating it until it stops twitching.

• Fine teachers for cursing.

• Put lethal weapons in classroom.

• Make students say pledge.

One primate wanted all students to say the Pledge of Allegiance. When an aide informed him the pledge was written by a socialist circa 1892, Fred Flintstone's head spun, tripled in size, and blew like a supernova, scattering tea bags and confetti over a square-mile area.

Anthropologists cite the tribe's vote making it a crime to "redneckognize" the United Nations as evidence they are aware of a world beyond the dunes. Guns are central to their worship. When humans were gunned down at a Safeway in Tucson, Arizonapithecus Neanderthalus dropped from the trees to make gunfire the official language and pledge solemn devotion to a gun clip the size of an Easter Island head.

With secession percolating under their folded paper tricorns, they anointed gold a legal currency. And because the Scopes Trial never really happened in 1925, just like NASA staged the moon landing and Kenyan time travelers planted a birth certificate, Arizona's very own missing links revisited the teaching of evolution. Evolution not only gave them vertebrae like Pleistocene weasels but blessed them with jaws so slack any wing-nut think-tank lobbyist (find the oxymoron) can easily manipulate their mandibles like a muppet and make it appear as though they are capable of articulating thought.

At a recent gathering, Arizonapithecus Neanderthalus formed a circle and passed the "wind stick." In a rare display of intellectual flatulence, each spoke of a "new world order" in fetid bursts of old world odor. One after another they stood, bent over and, with staccato bursts of vaporous thought, warned of sinister government plots involving the pres- ident, fluoride and Marxists that were so sulfurous that ceremonial gas masks had to be donned.

As the legislative session wound down, the esteemed orangutan, Dr. Zaius, spoke of the true origins of their Tea Party tribe, how humanity fell as the dominant species, and the reasons universities are known as Forbidden Zones. He then refused to take questions.

Too bad. I have one. Do you want your state to be the butt of jokes on Leno, Letterman, SNL, Conan, or Comedy Central's "Daily Show" next session? Personally, I prefer Comedy Central.

Email Star cartoonist and columnist David Fitzsimmons at tooner@azstarnet.com