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Chimps Belong in Human Genus? 928

Posted by michael
from the party-crashing dept.
Bradley Chapman writes "I found this interesting story from Discovery News about our ties with chimpanzees. Excerpts: 'Chimpanzees share 99.4 percent of functionally important DNA with humans and belong in our genus, Homo, according to a recent genetic study. Scientists analyzed 97 human genes, along with comparable sequences from chimps, gorillas, orangutans and Old World monkeys (a group that includes baboons and macaques). The researchers then took the DNA data and estimated genetic evolution over time. They determined that humans and chimps shared a common ancestor between 4 and 7 million years ago. That ancestor diverged from gorillas 6 to 7 million years ago.'" Genus is the next step up from species, if you recall your taxonomy. Humans are the only living species in genus homo, currently.
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Chimps Belong in Human Genus?

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  • Bogus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by inertia@yahoo.com (156602) * on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:21PM (#6000512) Homepage Journal
    Chimpanzees share 99.4 percent of functionally important DNA with humans and belong in our genus, Homo, according to a recent genetic study. Scientists analyzed 97 human genes, along with comparable sequences from chimps, gorillas, orangutans and Old World monkeys (a group that includes baboons and macaques).

    We've only fully mapped the human genome so far. I bet if we fully mapped the chimp genome, we'd see many many more entries in the diff log than we thought.
    • Re:Bogus (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jdray (645332)
      Agreed. Another question, one they didn't address, is how far removed from other apes we are. 99.4% of a couple quadzillion genes still leaves a lot of genes that define us as humans. And if an orangutan is 89.7 % (an arbitrary number on my part) the same as a human, that speaks somewhat to the relativity of the 99.4% number of the chimp. Also, how far off are we from one another?

      Having said all that, I think that all the ape species deserve somewhat more respect than we've been giving them...
      • Re:Bogus (Score:5, Informative)

        by John Hurliman (152784) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:39PM (#6000772) Homepage
        "The human genome is estimated to have as few as 30-45,000 functional genes" - Imperial College London (http://www.ic.ac.uk/P3509.htm)

        Where did you get your "couple quadzillion" number from?
      • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:14PM (#6001157) Journal
        We share 50% of our DNA with lettuce - that's how common much of our genetic code is on the planet.

        Last time I checked, nobody was comparing the salad aisle of the supermarket for long-lost relatives.
      • Re:Bogus (Score:3, Interesting)

        "99.4% of a couple quadzillion genes still leaves a lot of genes that define us as humans."

        I think 99.4% is pretty damn close, for a moderate number of randomly choosen genes. Since it's scientific research, one would think the (independent) referees of the paper will have looked at the STDEV. It was published, so that should be OK. We will not find anything closer (on this planet, that is).

        Your comparison is wrong. A computer is build on the logic of on (1) or off (0). This number of states does not say
      • Re:Bogus (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @05:53PM (#6002093) Journal
        According to my handy textbook*, orangutangs are about twice as diverged from us as chimpanzies. The numbers** here are the number of nucleotide substitutions per 100 sites (i.e. approximately % difference.)

        Human-Chimp: 1.45
        Human-Gorila: 1.51
        Human-Orangutang: 2.98
        Gorilla-Chimp: 1.57

        Standard errors on these numbers are about 0.2, so the human/chimp/gorilla differences are not statistically significant. The evidence is growing that the human/chimp split is more recent than the gorilla split, but as far as I know this hasn't yet been determined beyond reasonable doubt.

        The numbers in the article are only looking at DNA nucliotides in genes, which change much more slowly then the bulk of DNA which is 'junk'. This is because inside a gene, most mutations will be disadvantageous and selected against. The numbers I give above are from non-coding DNA.

        Note that even within genes, not all nucleotide substitutions have any evolutionary effect. There are 4 nucleotides (think letters) which come in groups of 3 (codons, think words) giving 64 possible codons to code for 20 amino acids (plus a little punctuation) so most amino acids have several codons that code for them. Therefore even inside a gene, some nucleotide substitutions will be 'synonymous' - they will not change the protien generated from the gene.

        For the purpose of saying "How different (functionally) are we from chimpanzees", it makes most sense to look at how different the proteins are - non-coding DNA and synonymous changes within coding DNA have no effect on phenotype (the critter that the DNA builds.)

        For the purpose of timing evolutionary branchings, it makes most sense to look at non-coding DNA and synonymous substitutions. This is because the rate at which substitutions/mutations occur at these sites is much less variable than at coding sites. At coding sites, the rate is constrained by evolutionary pressures, and those pressures may not be the same on different lineages.

        Anyway, the story looks like a big yawn to me - this isn't anything we haven't known about for years. There's probably lots of interesting stuff in the details, but not the '99.4%' number. Saying this means were in the same genus is pure sensationalism - the concept of genus is more fuzzy than species, and is fairly arbitrary. There is a fair argument that homo and pan are separate genii(?) only because of parochialism, but this data is not a strong reason to change it.

        * I'm studying up for my new job in molecular phylogentics. It will be something of a challenge, given that my degrees are in physics and astronomy.

        ** Book is Molecular Evolution, Li, 1997. Data is from Li et al 1987.
    • Re:Bogus (Score:5, Informative)

      by BigBadBri (595126) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:45PM (#6000849)
      The New Scientist has a slightly more detailed account of the study here [newscientist.com].

      If you read this, you'll see that the analysis is based on 97 'critical' genes where a difference in a single base will produce a change in the amino acid coded for, and hence a change in the protein.

      If the 'junk' DNA is included, there is more likelihood of variation between humans and chimps, but there is a corresponding rise in the variability within the human population which tends to lessen the overall significance of the inter-species variation.

      Other than the fact that evolution would tend to favour the stability of these 97 'critical' genes, I see no problem with this analysis, but think that putting humans and chimps in the same genus is pushing matters slightly.

      • Re:Bogus (Score:5, Interesting)

        by HiThere (15173) * <charleshixsn@earthlink . n et> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:10PM (#6001119)
        ..., but think that putting humans and chimps in the same genus is pushing matters slightly.

        Why? I don't see why they should be either separate or included. Genus is supposed to be a grouping that is inclusive on ancestry, but I don't know of any standard that says just how similar to species have to be to be considered a part of the same genus. So I can see a genus consisting or merely humans, of humans and chimps, or of humans, chimps, and gorillas. Once you get past that, you are basically including all primates (what's the sense of including oragutangs but not gibbons?). But nowhere do I see a clear dividing line.

        If we say a genus should be larger than merely one species, then Chimps should be included... but what's the basis for that?
        • Re:Bogus (Score:3, Informative)

          by Arker (91948)

          So I can see a genus consisting or merely humans, of humans and chimps, or of humans, chimps, and gorillas. Once you get past that, you are basically including all primates (what's the sense of including oragutangs but not gibbons?).

          Umm no. If you put humans, bonobos, chimps, gorillas, orangs, and gibbons in one genus, you most assuredly have NOT included all primates or even close. The vast majority of primates are old world monkeys, new world monkeys, and lemurs. The word you were looking for here was

      • Re:Bogus (Score:3, Funny)

        by KDan (90353)
        Come on, be more generous. If we don't include even them in the human genome, what chance does Bush stand???

        Daniel
    • Re:Bogus... NOT! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:47PM (#6000877)
      The gemone centers are working on chimp and many other species right now. Chimp will be done soon but only taken to the "draft" stage. You can see the data accumulate at the trace archive [nih.gov] at the NIH.

      So far

      total human reads: 23 million

      total chimp reads (Pan troglodytes): over 12 million

      having worked on annotation of a few of the chimp BAC clones, I can assure you the two species range from about 97% to over 99.9% similar at the DNA sequence level.

    • Re: Bogus (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:57PM (#6000993)


      > We've only fully mapped the human genome so far. I bet if we fully mapped the chimp genome, we'd see many many more entries in the diff log than we thought.

      ...and many more similarities as well. Welcome to the concept of "percent".

      However, the real reason for the bogosity of the claim is that clades aren't defined by thresholds in DNA differences. The tree of common descent is there, but it's somewhat arbitrary how far up from a leaf you go before you reach a node that you call "species", "genus", etc. They are merely labels of convenience, and if we suddenly do or don't find it convenient to put the chimps in the genus Homo it doesn't really tell us anything we didn't already know about the relationships in that branch of the tree. (I have a physical anthropology textbook published ten years ago that already mapped out this branch of the tree according to our current understanding of it, then already based on DNA comparisons as well.)

      The real news from this is that by focusing on "functionally important" genes we now know that our "functionally important similarity" is 99.4% rather than the 97.whatever% that we previously got when looking at genes in general.

      • Re: Bogus (Score:5, Insightful)

        by the gnat (153162) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @06:37PM (#6002409)
        They are merely labels of convenience

        Incidentally, this is one reason why creationist blather about speciation is a load of bull - there isn't really a strict definition for speciation on the molecular level. It's a series of events that are well documented, but there isn't one point where you suddenly get a new species. Creationists talk about speciation as if there's a sudden "promotion" or massive change that has to occur, but that really has no basis in reality. Speciation is simply the sum of reproductive isolation and mutation/genetic drift.
    • I bet you are a religious lunatic, a bible-thumping freak who blindly follows her corrupt leaders into thinking that evolution and creation are mutually exclusive concepts, that any mention of evolution is a direct assault on your faith.

      I bet religious lunatics like you are responsible for the greatest attrocities ever perpetrated by human beings, smiling and whistling hymns all the while.

      I bet that if homo sapiens ever evolves away from religious hocus-pocus voodoo nonsense, the world will be a better pl
    • Chimpanzees share 99.4 percent of functionally important DNA with humans

      Leaving aside whether they include mitochondrial DNA and other non-coding and yet genetically important chemical units such as the free transposons and stuff floating around, the phrase "functionally important DNA" means that these guys have made a subjective decision about which DNA is important. Given that we know that we don't know for sure which DNA truly is junk and which is useful, that was a fairly stupid thing to do, and ess

  • by 3waygeek (58990) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:21PM (#6000518)
    George W. Bush [bushorchimp.com]
  • So now... (Score:2, Funny)

    by truthsearch (249536)
    A new insult: "You're the other kind of homo."

    (sorry, couldn't resist)
    • .. so what if it's not from the Simpsons, it's still good :)

      Joey: If the Homosapiens were, in fact, "Homo-sapien", is that why they're extinct?
      Ross: Joey, Homosapiens are people.
      Joey: Hey, I'm not judging.

  • by knightinshiningarmor (653332) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:23PM (#6000544)
    This explains so many of /. readers' behaviors. Understanding CowboyNeal has gone a step further.
  • Great! (Score:2, Funny)

    The repulicans will like this... Another 50 million that pay taxes... Oh, "taxonomy" is something else... sorry!
  • But that on the condition that i can downgrade some humans to monkey.
  • by LamerX (164968)
    People don't seem to realize that we didn't actually evolve from chimps, but we actually are related in the way that we split off in the evolutionary timeline from the same predecessor. Why not put them in the same Genus as us? They've had just as much time to evolve.
    • by doublem (118724) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:36PM (#6000729) Homepage Journal
      Why not put them in the same Genus as us? They've had just as much time to evolve.

      Clearly, we made better use of that time than they did. They slacked off instead of evolving, so they don't get to be in the same rank.

      I don't get this desire to uplift losers with false titles designed to boost the self esteem of those who fell behind.

      Of course now with Hollywood and TV causing humans to devolve, the Chimps will have a chance to catch up.
    • Its interesting that we decide they belong in our Genus and not that we belong in theirs.
    • They've had just as much time to evolve.

      Uhm, for that matter every single species on the planet has had just as much time to evolve. That is, if you believe in a single common ancestor, which most evolutionary biologists do. Certainly for multicellular organisms, there's somewhere back there a single common ancestor.

      Let's put every species in our genus!

      Why not put them in the same Genus as us?
      Cuz Linnaean taxonomy is an artificial human convention imposed on the world. It's not up to the world to
  • It's about time... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by johny_qst (623876)
    It is still amazing to me that the scientific community has such antiquated ideas about how unique and exceptional humans are. It seems obvious to anyone who understands evolution and genetic drift that we are simply another version of an already successful line of monkeys.
    • Nonsense, the human brain is at the pinical of evolution. Not only that, it has transcended evolution - we can now alter evolution and use it as a computer algorithm.

      It's about time the human race realised it is in _charge_ of its own destiny, and while nature is a powerful force, the concious mind is the greatest known thing on the planet. It should be developed and nurtured.
    • by jpellino (202698) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:12PM (#6001139)
      I got news for you... not only does the scientific community have those ideas about how unique and exceptional humans are ("how" unique?), so does
      the literary community,
      the artistic community,
      the philosophical community,
      the musical community,
      the educational community,
      the list goes on...
      You shall know them by their works.
    • by shaper (88544) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:27PM (#6001282) Homepage

      It's amazing to me that this comment was modded "Insightful". Chimps have had 4-7 million years since we split from a common ancestor (according to the article) and they're still swinging in trees. Humans are reaching for the stars.

      It should be obvious to any cretin that there is a definite qualitative difference between human and chimp, indeed between human and all of (observable) nature. And that supposedly insignificant quality makes all the difference. The fact that we cannot (yet) measure its true magnitude in scientific terms does not make it any less ridiculously obvious. No human is just another monkey. Not even you.

      • > It should be obvious to any cretin that there is a definite qualitative difference between human and chimp, indeed between human and all of (observable) nature. And that supposedly insignificant quality makes all the difference. The fact that we cannot (yet) measure its true magnitude in scientific terms does not make it any less ridiculously obvious. No human is just another monkey. Not even you.

        So, is the chimpanzee intellect more similar to the human intellect or to the sea slug intellect? Or to

        • by shaper (88544)

          I once read a description in a science fiction novel that I particularly like. The analogy was made between intelligence and heating water. Below the boiling point, water is just water and can be compared to other bits of water in a fairly nice linear fashion according to temperature. But as the water hits the boiling point, interesting things begin to happen that make it altogether different. Sure, you can continue to compare the boiling water to cooler water according to the common measure of tempera

      • Chimps have had 4-7 million years since we split from a common ancestor (according to the article) and they're still swinging in trees.

        You're right, the chimps are definitely the smarter ones here.

  • by handslikesnakes (659012) <wfwdzqqgqiq@mailinator . c om> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:24PM (#6000567)
    to see if they can make babies?
  • by bgeer (543504)
    I think Senator Santorum needs to open an investigation into whether public tax money is being spent researching Homo chimps.
  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:26PM (#6000592) Homepage Journal

    All over North America, greasy rednecks with pimpish moustaches and long mullets [mulletsgalore.com] are saying "What 're them scientist-types saying? They're calling me "homo"? I'm gonna kick all their asses."
  • by diatonic (318560) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:26PM (#6000595) Homepage
    Goodman added, "In terms of culture, social behavior, language and other factors, we share many things in common with chimpanzees."

    There was a guy at a nursing home I worked at that would throw poop at the staff.
  • by truth_revealed (593493) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:27PM (#6000605)
    First they discover that fish can feel pain - and now this! Damn science! What am I supposed to eat?
  • by Superfreaker (581067) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:27PM (#6000608) Homepage Journal
    Well, it may not be completely stinky, but it is close.

    Our current system for categorizing the inhabitants of this is long outdated and is based largely on phsycal characteristics of the components on the creature, rather than the stuff it is actually made up of.

    We find we've had to tweak this existing system to make new species fit. We've even had to add new kindoms! Many species bridge, these categories making them all the more harder to classify.

    A better, more accurate, system needs to be devised based on current technologies that classify based on genetic code. The point of a classification system would be to allow us to draw similarities in creatures while studying them based on available data for ones in the same category. A genetic model would be very beneficial for this very reason.

    IMHO.

    • by pyrosoft (44101) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:37PM (#6000734)
      Google for phylogeny, or just check out this [tolweb.org] page for a relatively good introduction. Comparative geneticists use sequence comparisons between species to determine relative evolutionary separation, much like the subject of the article. We haven't gotten rid of the kingdom-phylum-order-class-family-genus-species thing yet, but we're working on it.
    • by anzha (138288) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:56PM (#6000983) Homepage Journal

      There's another problem with this though if you want to go strictly genetics for your classification, paleontology.

      The vast majority of work done by paleontologists simply cannot use genetics. They are almost completely stuck using comparative physical characteristics. I'm sure that they'll get some things wrong, as far as relations, but like I said, they're mildly stuck.

      If you can come up with a unified classification system that satisifies both the paleontology and the genetics crowds, then you might just have more than a few papers and a PhD thesis there...;)

    • by Milo Fungus (232863) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:19PM (#6001204)

      Not just another kingdom - but a taxonomic level above kingdom has been added. This is the domain level, and was introduced because of the research of Carl Woese [wikipedia.org]. He found, through genetic sequence comparisons, that non eukaryotic organisms (prokaryotes) are comprised of two groups (bacteria and archae) that are as different from one another as both are to eukaryotes. A good picture and explanation can be found here [lbl.gov].

      The strength of the old taxonomic systm is that it is extensible, but it depends on a few suppositions which have been shown to be false. One of the suppositions is that there are a finite number of well-definable species which were created and will always remain exactly the same. Charles Darwin questioned this supposition by pointing out species which appeared to be transitional, and which were extremely difficult to classify in one category to the exclusion of another. Such were usually called "subspecies" and were presented as evidence for the theory of natural selection in The Origin of Species. Darwin theorized that these subspecies were in the process of changing from one form to another.

      Evolution poses a serious problem to a finite taxonomic system. After Darwin's theory was widely accepted, biologist began viewing biological diversity as a spectrum rather than as quantized sets. So how do you classify a spectral array? The electromagnetic spectrum is broken into regions, like IR, UV, microwaves, radio waves, the visible spectrum, etc. These boundary regions are not well-defined and tend to change from textbook to textbook. That's sort of what phylogenists are doing these days. Most have given up on unambiguous categorization, and are concentrating instead on making taxonomy consistent with evolutionary descent. Each taxonomic group should (theoretically) descend from a common ancestor. That's harder than it sounds, but genetic data is a powerful tool in figuring out lines of descent. Genetic data has provided quite a few surprises [berkeley.edu] so far about who's related to whom.

    • Answer: Cladestics (Score:3, Informative)

      by f97tosc (578893)
      Our current system for categorizing the inhabitants of this is long outdated and is based largely on phsycal characteristics of the components on the creature, rather than the stuff it is actually made up of.
      We find we've had to tweak this existing system to make new species fit


      I agree completely. In fact even the concept of species is not so well-defined any more, because there are examples of groups of animals where group A can mate with group B and group C, but groups B and C cannot mate with each ot
  • by valis (947) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:27PM (#6000611) Homepage
    For what it is worth, the raw similarity in the genome sequence doesn't need to indicate the same degree of similarity. Transcription is quite complex (much of it we still don't understand) and it is possible that small differences in regulatory regions can cause completely different parts of the sequence to be expressed.
  • by bstadil (7110) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:28PM (#6000615) Homepage
    A little of topic but a few days ago the result of Italian research project [compaq.com] was published. The result of DNA comparisons between Neanderthals and Humans found that most likely no interbreeding have occured.
  • by Alomex (148003) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:29PM (#6000629) Homepage


    The Antropomorphic principle is the name given by a tendency by us humans to believe that our situation is unique. It goes from believing in our divine origin, to the earth is the centre of the universe (Ptolomeic) to the sun is the centre of the universe (Copernicus), to the current incantation of the big bang (Gamow) with an ever expanding universe.

    Placing humans in their own genus seems to fit right along those lines. We are unique, and no other animal deserves to be even close to us...

  • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:30PM (#6000639) Homepage Journal
    Keep your filthy hands off my genus, you damn dirty chimps.

    I'm sure the creationists will pitch a fit if chimps are reclassified. I wonder if there would be any legal ramifications regarding the rights of chimps compared to other animals.

    • by Zathrus (232140) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:47PM (#6000865) Homepage
      I'm sure the creationists will pitch a fit if chimps are reclassified.

      Any purist creationist gets annoyed if you just say DNA... but they're easily discredited. The intelligent ones will simply shrug because it doesn't matter in the slightest as far as their faith/belief goes. The middle majority will be disquieted by it at the very least, which is probably true for how most people will feel regardless of their creationist/evolutionist/whatever leanings.

      I wonder if there would be any legal ramifications regarding the rights of chimps compared to other animals.

      Certainly various animal rights activists will use this as a rallying cry to stop experimentation on chimpanzees. Of course, you can make the counter argument that because they are the closest to us genetically they are also some of the best test subjects. Unless, of course, the aforesaid activist would like to volunteer for stage 1 drug testing... no? Didn't think so.
  • by daves (23318) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:30PM (#6000646) Journal
    Humans are the only living species in genus homo, currently.

    If we are the only species, that would make us "homo genus".

  • by ianscot (591483) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:31PM (#6000665)
    Nov 1998 article with one of the same contributors: Line between humans, apes blurs [idsnews.com]

    We're turning over lots of taxonomies based on some cladistics-minded genetics lately. National Geographic threw in a chart and a couple of pages about re-grouping mammals a while back.

    The chimps percentage might be a bit higher than we usually hear, but that number's basically been around. (Question is, how could our definition of a genus be this open to debate?)

  • Taxonomy (Score:5, Informative)

    by CaseyB (1105) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:33PM (#6000691)
    Kings Play Chess On Funny Glass Stairs.

    (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species)

    That's the only damn thing I can remember from high school biology.

    Bonus mnemonic -- the only thing I remember from high school history: "Divorced, Beheaded, She Died; Divorced, Beheaded, Survived." (How King Henry VIII's wives ended up)
  • by gacp (601462) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:41PM (#6000794)

    Actually, it doesn't matter whether we use only Homo or Homo and Pan for the lineage of chimps&humans, since both genera include a monphyletic lineage. For phylogenetic taxonomy, it's matter of taste, mostly. MY taste is that there is no need to introduce changes.

    Supergenus Gorilla
    * Genus Gorilla
    - Gorilla gorilla

    Supergenus Homo
    * Genus Homo
    - Homo sapiens
    - Homo neardenthalensisâ
    - Homo habilisâ
    - Homo erectusâ
    [- Homo demens (e.g. Bush & al.)]

    *Genus Pan
    - Pan troglodytes
    - Pan paniscus

    [Caveat emptor: I did this from memory, there might be a mistake somewhere]

    The fact is, it doesn't mean a thing to use genus, supergenus, or subgenus. What matters is that the lineage chimps&humans is monophyletic, that is, that chimps and bonobos are more closely related to us than to gorillas or orangutans.

  • by dusanv (256645) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:50PM (#6000915)
    I think a good parallel would be programming. Say you have a 4000000000 line program (I think someone estimated that this is what the DNA translates to in terms of code but it is irrelevant). I can go in and change 100 lines and make that program not behave anything like the original. On the other hand you can change a half of it without making any substantial difference in the final result. The sheer amount of identical code is a good hint but by no means an accurate measurement of how closely related to chimps we are.
  • by MacGod (320762) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:52PM (#6000933)
    Eeee eee! Ooo oo ooo! Awr oo eee awr Awr Awr eeeee!

    oooo oooeee eeeeoooo oooo

  • by budalite (454527) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:52PM (#6000939)
    And in other news, the Chimpanzee World Spokesman, uu uu waaa uuu u, says they want no part of any "tree" that has humans in it, thank you very much, and, besides, it's against THEIR religion to believe that humans evolved from Chimps. Especially the ones with fake hair.

  • by fudgefactor7 (581449) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:59PM (#6001018)
    REAL:..........MNEMONIC:

    Phylum.........Please
    Class...........Come
    Order..........Over
    Family..........For
    Genus..........Gay
    Species........Sex

    Thanks to Robert Smigel (his cartoons) and Saturday Night Live!
  • My family (Score:3, Funny)

    by verloren (523497) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:01PM (#6001036)
    From the article: "Imagine taking the hand of your grandmother, who was holding the hand of her grandmother and so on down the line. 155 miles out, one of the women would be holding the hand of a chimpanzee."

    If you'd met my family you'd know that a line round the block would pretty much get you there.
  • by kisrael (134664) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:07PM (#6001092) Homepage
    "Richard Dawkins perhaps provided the best visual for our link to chimps," Fouts told Discovery News. "Imagine taking the hand of your grandmother, who was holding the hand of her grandmother and so on down the line. 155 miles out, one of the women would be holding the hand of a chimpanzee."

    Hrm. Now to me, this sounds likely to perpetuate the "we came from chimpanzees" style of (mis)interpretation not the idea that "we share a common ancestor with chimpanzees". So, to correct that...is the chain 155 miles long, with the common ancestor at 77.5 miles, and than it starts going daughter daughter daughter instead of mother mother mother, or is the 155 to the common ancestor, and then chimps are like 310 miles away instead?

    I guess it would be useful to know what the assumptions are for generation length and armspan...
  • by verloren (523497) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:16PM (#6001176)
    Having seen the lack of selectiveness in sexual matters exhibited by Bonobo chimps, calling them 'Homos' would seem to work on several levels.

    Cheers, Paul

    (Disclaimer: This isn't a phrase I like or normally use, just required for the purposes of this joke, until I had to qualify it, when the joke kind of died...)
  • by CptChipJew (301983) <michaelmiller AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:21PM (#6001218) Homepage Journal
    Scientists then discovered that Apes have a 100% DNA match with Vin Diesel.
  • by jd (1658) <imipak @ y a h o o .com> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @05:06PM (#6001690) Homepage Journal
    It's time to re-write our classification system, anyway. Its origins are based in the dark-ages, where monks and scribes would describe species by how they looked, and grouped them accordingly.


    Since then, other systems have evolved, and have been tagged on. In consequence, the current "system" is really a complete mish-mash of differing systems, with no real agreement on what system applies under what circumstance.


    To those who advocate DNA-based classification, I'd argue that that only works on still-living species. If we don't have the DNA, we can't do that. So, we'd end up using some other system for those, anyway, which means we'd still be using a hybrid.


    The argument that chimps belong to the "homo" group seems valid enough. We're not talking about direct ancestors, but about a common ancestor who is already established as a part of the "homo" group. (Percent then becomes irrelevent. Once you can establish that common ancestor, and establish that said ancestor is already classed as being in the "homo" genus, the rest becomes moot.)


    The only rational argument I can see against it is if it can be established that the chimp branch has diverged in some critical way that, even though the divergence is small, would still place it in a different genus. You'd probably want to alter the genus to the verb, rather than the noun, in this case, to show the relationship while acknowledging the difference.

  • by Exousia (662698) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @06:16PM (#6002277)
    When you realize that humans and field mice share 93%+ of their genes, the percentages don't seem that impressive. Also, while the a large percentage of the genes are held in common, they are not in sequences in the same order. Moreover, these studies don't take into account the new breakthroughs in "junk" DNA studies, which seem to indicate that the "junk" DNA actually serves purposes. See http://www.newswise.com/articles/2003/5/BORIS.UCD. html Chimps ain't humans by a long shot.
  • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:47PM (#6003233)

    I'm sick of all these wrong evolution theories so I'm gonna tell what really happened.

    Let's set up the scene with some background information (it'll be short, I promise).

    So there was Adam and Eve and they chilled in Heaven just minding their own business. (We're skipping the whole "On the first day" story because you already know about that.) So the Lord told Adam, "Don't eat the fruit of this tree or you'll croak. And tell your wife."

    So Adam goes and tells his wife, "See that tree over there? Don't eat its fruit. In fact, don't even go near the damn thing; Pappy said if you touch it, you'll croak."

    So Eve is chillin' when this serpant comes around and says, "Pssst... See that tree over there? Eat its fruit! It's good!"

    So Eve says, "But if I even touch that tree, I'll croak!"

    So the serpant says, "Nuh uh! See, I'll touch it... Nothing happens!"

    Seeing this, Eve gathers a little bit of courage, goes up and touches the tree... Nothing happened. So she grabs a big juicy naranja off the tree, peels it and takes a taste. Mmmmm! Then Adam comes over and sees what's going on... "What the fsck, Eve, I thought I told you not to touch that tree!"

    And Eve says, "But you see, I did touch it and nothing happened!"

    So Adam takes a taste. Then, the Lord's voice comes booming over the public address system, "I told you kids not to eat that damn fruit!!!" Adam and Eve grab a leaf or something to cover up their privates, see, because they suddenly realized they were naked, and the Lord drove them out of heaven in his red '64 Chevy II.

    So here they are, on Earth now, and they have a couple of kids... One of 'em kills the other and is subsequently punished by being forced to forever roam the Earth with a Windows logo tatooed on his forehead.

    Now just so you understand, the Lord created a bunch of animals, like fish and tigers and whatever, and then He created people. The people he created were special... Much more intelligent than animals by a far measure. Much more intelligent than any person alive today. They were "superhumans." Now this hermano with the Windows logo on his forehead walks around and screws every chimp and gorilla and baboon in sight. (Yeah, I know, that's gross.) His superhuman genes mixed with their animal genes and created some "middle-of-the-road" creature.

    That's the human being of today... It's why many of our genes are similar to those of the animals. I know all of this for a fact and I have undeniable proof: On separate occasions, two different people, who do not know each other, both told me they heard this somewhere.

If all the world's economists were laid end to end, we wouldn't reach a conclusion. -- William Baumol

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