If you look at the universe and study the universe, what you find is that there is no evidence that we need anything other than the laws of physics and the other laws of science to explain everything we see. There's absolutely no evidence that we need any supernatural hand of god. -- Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist
There is probably no other notion in any field of science that has been as extensively tested and as thoroughly corroborated as the evolutionary origin of living organisms. -- Encyclopedia Britannica
FAITH. No one word personifies the absolute worst and most wicked properties of religion better than that. Faith is mind-rot. It’s the poison that destroys critical thinking, undermines evidence, and leads people into lives dedicated to absurdity. It’s a parasite regarded as a virtue. -- PZ Myers
Religion is the antithesis of science, an anesthetic for the mind that disables critical thought and encourages the acceptance of inanity as fact, and wishful thinking as evidence. -- PZ Myers

Friday, March 4, 2011

A video to watch before I publish the two posts I promised. It's about our closest living non-human cousins.

"They're just like us."

"From over a million then to less than three hundred thousand today."

"We're part of the animal kingdom, not separate from it."

The comparison of their DNA sequences to our DNA sequences is the strongest possible evidence for our evolutionary relationship with chimps. There is no scientific evidence more powerful. The Bible thumpers could care less about these magnificent creatures because their existence makes Jeebus cry.


Why are there two chimpanzee species?

From wikipedia:

The bonobo is endangered and is found in the wild only in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Along with the common chimpanzee, the bonobo is the closest extant relative to humans. Because the two species are not proficient swimmers, it is possible that the formation of the Congo River 1.5–2 million years ago led to the speciation of the bonobo. They live south of the river, and thereby were separated from the ancestors of the common chimpanzee, which live north of the river.[10]

Analysis of Chimpanzee History Based on Genome Sequence Alignments

Population geneticists often study small numbers of carefully chosen loci, but it has become possible to obtain orders of magnitude for more data from overlaps of genome sequences. Here, we generate tens of millions of base pairs of multiple sequence alignments from combinations of three western chimpanzees, three central chimpanzees, an eastern chimpanzee, a bonobo, a human, an orangutan, and a macaque. Analysis provides a more precise understanding of demographic history than was previously available. We show that bonobos and common chimpanzees were separated ~1,290,000 years ago, western and other common chimpanzees ~510,000 years ago, and eastern and central chimpanzees at least 50,000 years ago. We infer that the central chimpanzee population size increased by at least a factor of 4 since its separation from western chimpanzees, while the western chimpanzee effective population size decreased. Surprisingly, in about one percent of the genome, the genetic relationships between humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos appear to be different from the species relationships. We used PCR-based resequencing to confirm 11 regions where chimpanzees and bonobos are not most closely related. Study of such loci should provide information about the period of time 5–7 million years ago when the ancestors of humans separated from those of the chimpanzees.

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