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Earth Science

Bonobos Join Chimps As Closest Human Relatives 259

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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  • 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.

  • 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 bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:44PM (#40326271) Homepage Journal

    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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:52PM (#40326397)

    humans: somewhere between licentious bonobos and face tearing chimpanzees.

  • by SpeZek ( 970136 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @03:21PM (#40326891) Journal

    We're related to just about every living thing on this planet that has a face. I think that's pretty mind blowing.

    Nope. We're related to every living thing on this planet full stop .

    After all, we all share the same ancestor if you go back far enough.

  • by Empiric ( 675968 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @03:24PM (#40326961)

    Okay, I -accept- the universe was created, and -reject- that it is 6000 years old.

    Pick the word you want to use for that, as they're never mutually dependent.

    The rest is the standard boilerplate Ad Hominem and Genetic Fallacy, so I'll be skipping that. Code to do.

    And yes, I did test it. The test confirmed.

  • 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?

  • by rthille ( 8526 ) <web-slashdot@ranga[ ]rg ['t.o' in gap]> on Thursday June 14, 2012 @04:43PM (#40328177) Homepage Journal

    Bonobos spent a greater percentage of their lives copulating. I think it's pretty obvious which species is more intelligent...

  • by Smauler ( 915644 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @05:28PM (#40328817)

    The ability to freely (without human intervention) interbreed and produce fertile offspring is central to the definition of what a species is.

    This definition is crap though. If animal A can interbreed with animal B, and animal B with C, but A cannot with C, then you cannot define the species. There are real world examples of this, albeit a little more convoluted : see the herring gull and lesser black backed gull.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @08:18PM (#40330425)

    It seems like Parent is trolling for "You can't define a species, therefore Evolution is a bunch of bullshit", so I'm going to nip that in the bud. "Species" as we define them in the family tree of organisms are merely labels of convenience for common animals of the present, and those of the past that are of significance due to either their place in the evolutionary timeline and/or the fact that they're one of the rare few we've gotten good fossil evidence for (fossil formation is a rare event). When you take a big picture view of all life on the planet over all time, the distinction of "species" actually has very little meaning. Most animal populations, on the large timescale, are in a constant process of evolution.

    Speciation is fluid. AnimalX from year Y, and something very like AnimalX from year Y+1000 might be able to inter-breed if they met through a time machine, although they probably already differ in several minor features. Fast-forward another several hundred thousand years, and you might be hard-pressed to even identify which (zero or more) surviving animals are descendants of AnimalX's genetics and which aren't, much less try to interbreed them.

    The notion of a fixed "Species" is really only even remotely relevant when you're talking about one localized animal population at a single point in time. Trying to come up with a rigorous definition for the "boundary" between distinct species is futile: Species will fluidly evolve into other things over time gradually. Even experts in the field regularly argue over the boundaries between well-known species, but they also realize that their arguments aren't about the science of speciation, they're about convenient labels and categorization systems for pools of beings of interest.

Some people manage by the book, even though they don't know who wrote the book or even what book.