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Earth Science

Bonobos Join Chimps As Closest Human Relatives 259

Posted by timothy
from the but-they-make-terrible-babysitters dept.
sciencehabit writes "Chimpanzees now have to share the distinction of being our closest living relative in the animal kingdom. An international team of researchers has sequenced the genome of the bonobo for the first time, confirming that it shares the same percentage of its DNA with us as chimps do. The team also found some small but tantalizing differences in the genomes of the three species—differences that may explain how bonobos and chimpanzees don't look or act like us even though we share about 99% of our DNA."
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Bonobos Join Chimps As Closest Human Relatives

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  • Bonobo Chimpanzee (Score:4, Interesting)

    by busyqth (2566075) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:29PM (#40326027)
    What reason is there to consider the Bonobo and Chimpanzee different species?
    Is it just a matter of behavior? If so, has it been proven that the behavioral differences aren't cultural?
    • by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:33PM (#40326095) Homepage Journal

      Assuming you're not trolling here:

      There's morphic phenotypes that are different, for one. Bonobos are actually a lot smaller than chimps as mature adults. They are also much less able to solve complex puzzles, a difference that persists even when raised in complete separation of others from their own species. There's also the biological definition of species that requires that they be able to interbreed, we have never seen that happen.

      • Re:Bonobo Chimpanzee (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:59PM (#40326537)

        They are also much less able to solve complex puzzles,

        I believe bonobos are usually considered to be more [apecampaign.org] intelligent.

      • There's morphic phenotypes that are different, for one. Bonobos are actually a lot smaller than chimps as mature adults.

        There's also the biological definition of species that requires that they be able to interbreed, we have never seen that happen.

        So Chihuahuas and Great Danes are different species?

    • by bmo (77928)

      >What reason is there to consider the Bonobo and Chimpanzee different species?

      They don't interbreed.

      HTH.

      --
      BMO

    • They are morphologically different, but probably no more so than human racial differences. I am unaware if they can or cannot cross-breed and produce fertile offspring, which is what many use to differentiate what is a "species" and what is not.
    • Re:Bonobo Chimpanzee (Score:4, Informative)

      by wastedlife (1319259) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:44PM (#40326273) Homepage Journal

      I read about this yesterday on Ars [arstechnica.com]. In the second-to-last paragraph, they talk about how Bonobos are well within the standard deviation for chimps, so genetically speaking, they should be the same species. I believe they were even once considered to be the same species, but were separated due to the size and behavior differences. In light of this new evidence, I believe it may cause them to be considered a "sub-species", much like dogs are to wolves.

    • by nospam007 (722110) * on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:45PM (#40326293)

      "Is it just a matter of behavior? "

      That too. Chimps will fuck you up, given the chance, Bonobos will just fuck you.

    • by egamma (572162)

      What reason is there to consider the Bonobo and Chimpanzee different species?

      You're misunderstanding the numbers. Simplified Example: We share genes A-Y with Chimps, and Genes B-Z with Bonobo's. Chimps and Bonobo's share Genes B-Y, but you can see that Chimps have gene A, and Bonobos have Gene Z, and are therefore not the same species.

    • Re:Bonobo Chimpanzee (Score:4, Informative)

      by Intropy (2009018) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @08:14PM (#40330397)

      They aren't. Chimpanzee is a genus (Pan) not a species. Bonobo (Pan paniscus) is a species on chimpanzee. The other extant species of chimpanzee is the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). Those two species of chimpanzee are diffierent species from one another for the same reason any other two species of animal in the same genus are, they can't reliably produce offspring that can themselves reliably produce offspring.

  • by doston (2372830) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:29PM (#40326029)
    Always figured they were closely related to man, considering how endlessly horny they are.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by knappe duivel (914316)

      Always figured they were closely related to man, considering how endlessly horny they are.

      Always figured they were closely related to me, considering how endlessly horny they are.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      humans: somewhere between licentious bonobos and face tearing chimpanzees.

  • I always figured that conservatives evolved from the innocent-seeming but violent, territorial, face-eating chimpanzees, and liberals evolved from those oversexed, touchy-feely bonobos. Now we know the truth!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

      I always figured that conservatives evolved from the innocent-seeming but violent, territorial, face-eating chimpanzees, and liberals evolved from those oversexed, touchy-feely bonobos. Now we know the truth!

      Real liberals, yeah. The socialists who think nothing of threatening others with violence to get their way - chimps.

  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:35PM (#40326119) Journal

    Three billion DNA pairs in human dna. 1% is 30 million. So we differ by 30 million dna pairs. To the layperson, saying we have 30 million differences explains the differences quite well versus 99% in common.

    • by codewarren (927270) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @03:01PM (#40326557)

      The difference from humans to other humans can be 3 million base pairs, (0.1%), for perspective. 30 million (a factor of 10) doesn't seem like that much.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @03:04PM (#40326621)

      Humans have 23 chromosome pairs.... 46 chromosomes in total. In women, there are 2 X and in males, 1X and 1Y. Males of our species share 45/46 or 98% with females.

      Explains why I understand male monkeys much better than female humans

      Oooh Oooh Ah Ah Ah

  • What next? Donald Trump?

  • by Xtifr (1323) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @03:25PM (#40326967) Homepage

    Doesn't the evidence show that bonobos and chimps split from their common ancestor long after protohumans split from the common ancestor of all three? In which case, isn't this more-or-less exactly what you'd expect?

    • Yes, but in science we still test what we expect to be true. Also, I'm sure that the '% difference from humans' number was not the primary goal of this research, just an easy and interesting number to calculate once you have the data for other purposes.

      Rates of genetic evolution can vary along different lineages, so it is possible that since the Bonobo/Chimp split, one had evolved faster than the other. It would have been surprising, however, for the rates to be substantially different after such a short ti

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