April 18, 2007


Chimps More Evolved Than Humans? (Larry O'Hanlon, 4/16/07, Discovery News)

A comparison of human and chimpanzee genes has revealed a startling possibility: chimps may have evolved more than humans in the 6 or 7 million years since both diverged from a common ancestor.

A study comparing human and chimp genes that appear to have evolved since we parted ways shows that humans have about 154 such genes and our nearest primate relative a whopping 233.

This implies that chimps have undergone more evolutionary changes than humans over the same period of time. [...]

The "bottom line is that this study underlines the risks of making generalizations about human evolution," said Ajit Varki, a professor of cellular and molecular medicine at the University of California at San Diego.

"Humans only emerged once, after many complex stages of hominid evolution, and there is no reason to assume that the most logical explanations (for our evolution) will actually turn out to be right," he added. "And the final answers are likely to be far more complex than we currently think they are."

Because the designers think they're funny that way.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 18, 2007 5:31 PM

Does it mean in a couple of million years, those of us who are still alive will turn into chimps?

Posted by: ic at April 18, 2007 6:50 PM

Or maybe we're just so different from anything else on the planet that maybe we're the odd man out (d'oh!) on this evolution silliness.

Posted by: KRS at April 18, 2007 6:58 PM

Doesn't the phrase "more evolved" imply there is some sort of ideal "evolved" state? And what kind of self-loathing misanthrope who started with that premise is it who would not also believe that humans are the closest to attaining that state? (Well, I mean besides a Progressive Communicant in the First Church of Holy Darwin, Gaian.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 18, 2007 9:05 PM

The headline writer needs to understand that "more evolved" is not the same as "have evolved more." Evolution is not a quantity, it's a process, and it doesn't always go in the same direction.

And no, the phrase "more evolved" doesn't imply an ideal evolved state. It implies that some organisms show evidence of having been changed more by that process than others. If I say a cat is smarter than a beetle, it doesn't imply I believe in an ultimate, ideal state of smartness.

Posted by: PapayaSF at April 19, 2007 12:24 AM


You're like one of those Jap soldiers left behind on an island, fighting WWII decades after it was lost.

Posted by: oj at April 19, 2007 5:25 AM

George Taylor: A planet where apes evolved from men? There's got to be an answer.

Dr. Zaius: Don't look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find.

Posted by: Mike Morley at April 19, 2007 10:29 AM

Ha! What a coincidence, because I see people who always seem to be in a tizzy about something they call "Darwinism" as a sort of hybrid between one of those soldiers and the cliché bearded guy in all those cartoons, walking around with a placard proclaiming The End is Near or whatever. But hey, we can still be pals.

Posted by: PapayaSF at April 20, 2007 1:16 AM

Except few care about the end of Darwinism. It's the end of a worldview, not of the world. You'll be fine when you hop off the sinking paradigm.

Posted by: oj at April 20, 2007 7:17 AM

As I've said before, I'm never sure what you mean by "Darwinism," and it's really only a "worldview" to fanatics, pro- and anti-. To most of us it's just a major insight into the way life on Earth works, not a political philosophy or a religion (or an anti-religion).

Posted by: PapayaSF at April 20, 2007 6:32 PM

to the extent it's an accurate insight it is derived from Genesis and Adam Smith. The rest is bunk. People need bunkum once they've lost God.

Posted by: oj at April 20, 2007 11:38 PM