Richard Dawkins : Comparing the Human and Chimpanzee Genomes – Nebraska Vignettes #3

Richard Dawkins shows just how similar the Human and Chimpanzee genomes really are, with the help of a great visual from the University of Nebraska Museum.

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During Richard Dawkins’ 2009 American tour, we visited Judy Diamond’s “Explore Evolution” exhibit at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln. This exhibit has now been replicated in six museums around the country. While visiting we filmed a collection of short unrehearsed and unscripted videos—just inspired by the “Explore Evolution” exhibit.

See the “Explore Evolution” web page here:
http://explore-evolution.unl.edu/

Special Thanks to:
Dr. Judy Diamond
The University of Nebraska State Museum
http://www.friendsofthemuseum.org/

See more at:
http://RichardDawkins.net

17 COMMENTS

  1. I am a Religious Person but also Scientific Person. I wanted to know why some Chimpazees never evolved? why do we still have them? Sorry but I think Humans are a different Specie even if we share 98.% of DNA we have differences yet. Where in time, in what year do we have Conscience? do Chimpazees had religions, faith, language? Spirit and Soul?? -I don’t believe I come from Animals.

    • I wanted to know why some Chimpazees never evolved?

      Species only evolve if there is selection pressure. The Chimps were doing very well in their environment. No need to evolve. You also are making the mistake, a very common mistake, that evolution is some sort of sports premiership table, with humans on top. The fact that chimps didn’t become humans has no meaning in evolution.

      Sorry but I think Humans are a different Specie even if we share 98.% of DNA we have differences yet.

      Correct. We are different species. The commonality of DNA points to a common ancestor. As Richard said, 6 million years ago, there was a species, that through living over a large area with difference selection pressure, developed different traits for survival, which meant that this species split into two, one going on to become chimps. The other to become Homo Sapiens.

      Where in time, in what year do we have Conscience?

      A conscience is a byproduct of tribal living. There is a survival advantage if you can live collectively as a cooperating tribe, rather than a sole individual. Team players get to pass on their genes. Loners don’t. But the price of living in tribes is developing a code of conduct to facilitate joint endeavours. In a stone age tribe, what would happen to you if you killed, Ugg, took his best stone tools and ran off with his wife. Ugg’s relatives are going to do you slowly over an open fire. So this whole moral / conscience / ten commandments stuff is just a byproduct of a productive evolutionary strategy of cooperation between a group of individuals.

      Chimpazees had religions, faith, language? Spirit and Soul??

      No. They are human constructs.

      I don’t believe I come from Animals.

      You haven’t, but you are by definition an animal. Homo Sapiens and Pan Troglodytes (Chimps) have a common ancestor. We split. We, through evolution become Homo Sapiens. Your terminology is the give away. You don’t “Come” from animals. You just have common ancestors.

      Through your very own DNA, you can show evolution in action. There is DNA evidence that proves that all life on earth evolved from common ancestors, and in fact, we can point to the Last Universal Common Ancestor of all life on earth in our DNA. The bug that we all evolved from. Give this a read. It’s just very good science. God only complicates a very simple answer.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Universal_Common_Ancestor

    • FRANCISCO X Jul 19, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      I am a Religious Person but also Scientific Person. I wanted to know why some Chimpazees never evolved? why do we still have them?

      All species evolved and continue to evolve. (This can most easily be observed in rapidly reproducing organisms such as bacteria an insects).
      Chimpanzees and humans had a common ape ancestor. The various apes branched off the tree of life and went their separate ways millions of years ago at different times. The monkeys branched off even earlier.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hominidae
      The Hominidae (/hɒˈmɪnɨdiː/; also known as great apes[notes 1]) form a taxonomic family of primates, including four extant genera:

      chimpanzees (Pan) – 2 species
      gorillas (Gorilla) – 2 species
      humans (Homo) – 1 species
      orangutans (Pongo) – 2 species

      The term “hominid” is also used in the more restricted sense as hominins or “humans and relatives of humans closer than chimpanzees”.[2] In this usage, all hominid species other than Homo sapiens are extinct. A number of known extinct genera are grouped with humans in the Homininae subfamily, others with orangutans in the Ponginae subfamily. The most recent common ancestor of the Hominidae lived roughly 14 million years ago,[3] when the ancestors of the orangutans speciated from the ancestors of the other three genera.[4] The ancestors of the Hominidae family had already speciated from those of the Hylobatidae family, perhaps 15 million to 20 million years ago.

      Many ancient species are now extinct, but it should be obvious that Chimps continued to evolve after the split with humans, because they are now two separate species.

      Sorry but I think Humans are a different Specie even if we share 98.% of DNA we have differences yet.

      Humans are NOW separate species, as the differences have gradually accumulated by Natural Selection for different life styles since the time of the common ancestor. The 98% is the ancestral DNA from earlier times.

      Where in time, in what year do we have Conscience? do Chimpazees had religions, faith, language? Spirit and Soul?? -

      That is the problem with believing religious mythology trumps scientific evidence and blocks scientific learning and understanding. Chimps certainly have cultures, language, and extensive mental maps of their habitats.

      I don’t believe I come from Animals.

      All the evidence shows that we are descended from earlier organisms – all the way back to single cells.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_human_evolution

      It is basic biology, which cannot be understood except in terms of on-going evolution and the interactions of organisms in ecosystems. Similarly astronomy and geology cannot be understood without recognising the time-scales of star and planet formation.

      To be “a scientific person”, it is necessary to use objective scientific methodology of investigating and checking with repeat testing, and then be able to recognise when evidence has been confirmed using reliable methods. Science rejects refuted notions which cannot stand up to testing, which is why earlier ideas of phlogiston, spontaneous generation, geocentricism, and a flat Earth have been dumped.

      It might be flattering to think so, but neither the Sun, the Earth, the Solar-System nor humans, are “THE central feature of the universe”. They are VERY tiny aspects of it, so microscopically small, that in normal calculations of a percentage of the universe, they would hardly exist, even as a slight trace of matter!

    • What do people think about “Junk DNA”

      Our DNA has no designer. So over billions of years, some bits of DNA become redundant. Other bits evolve. But life doesn’t do an audit every 12 months and strip out the dormant bits. They just sit their doing mostly nothing. Your question is also out of date. When it was discovered that the vast majority of human DNA had no role, it was labelled wrongly, “Junk DNA”. If you read this article, you will quickly see that the so called “Junk DNA” has a role to play.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junk_DNA#Junk_DNA

      Can I suggest a research project for you. Have a look at how much viral DNA exists in your genome. These are viruses you collected millions of years ago, and now just form part of the Junk DNA. You will be amazed. Here is a teaser to inspire you to open you mind to all the answers that are out there, if you read from many books, instead of one.

      It turns out that the human genome contains segments of DNA that match pol, env, and gag. Lots of them. Scientists have identified 100,000 pieces of retrovirus DNA in our genes, making up eight percent of the human genome. That’s a huge portion of our DNA when you consider that protein coding genes make up just over one percent of the genome.

      This is probably messing with your brain right now. It may take years to comprehend the import of stuff like this. But by just asking questions in the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Research and Science forum, you are on your way to becoming a liberated individual. Stay in here and keep asking questions. You are in for the ride of your life.

  2. Without offending or insulting anyone. With all due respect why one of the Fathers of Genetic (Gregor Mendel) was a religious monk or priest and why most genetists today aren’t religious? shouldn’t they follow Mendels steps? With all due respect.

    • FRANCISCO X Jul 19, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      Without offending or insulting anyone. With all due respect why one of the Fathers of Genetic (Gregor Mendel) was a religious monk or priest

      Until fairly recent times, making paper and books was a very expensive labour intensive process. Illiteracy was usual and writing was mainly the prerogative of kings, bishops, and war-lords stewards/scribes, and of monks supported in religious establishments to write and manually copy religious books. The modern term “scientist” was not even invented until the 1800s.

      and why most genetists today aren’t religious? shouldn’t they follow Mendels steps? With all due respect.

      In the past, almost all educational establishments/universities, were dominated by religions, so scientific work was usually in spite of repression of the likes of Copernicus, Galileo, Darwin and others rather than their acceptance of the culture of their times.
      In the advanced developed countries, modern scientific establishments no longer have their work held back by religious dogmas. They follow the evidence of how things work in the real world, to conclusions, without mythological preconceptions.

  3. Human and Chimpanzee genomes with their similar DNA sequences was very interesting. It is perplexing that people can ignore these facts and summon their fairy tales to the rescue. Thanks for the video; I will pass this on to my family and friends.

  4. Chimps certainly have cultures, language

    That would depend on what you call “culture” and what you call “language”. Chimpanzees certainly do not have “languages” in the sence of human languages such as English, Swahilli, Navajo, or Kreen-Akarore. They do not have subordinate clauses, which is what makes human languages human languages.

    • Luis Henrique Sep 11, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      Chimps certainly have cultures, language

      That would depend on what you call “culture”

      They live in what could be considered tribal groups which have leaders, a social structure and a territory. The adults also pass on learned skills to the youngsters.

      and what you call “language”. Chimpanzees certainly do not have “languages” in the sence of human languages such as English, Swahilli, Navajo, or Kreen-Akarore. They do not have subordinate clauses, which is what makes human languages human languages.

      Many animals use verbal or audio communication. The differences are in the levels of complexity of the languages.

      http://www.janegoodall.ca/about-chimp-behaviour-com.php

      Chimpanzees use verbal communication, such as alarm calls, mating calls, and greeting vocalizations. So far, researchers have identified more than 30 different calls, which can sometimes be heard up to 2 miles away.

      The food calls—a mixture of grunts, barks, and pant hoots—alert other chimpanzees to the whereabouts of food sources. A special intensity of excited calls of this type indicates that there has been a successful kill after a hunt.

      A loud, long “wraaaa” call is made when a chimpanzee comes across something unusual or dangerous. When young chimpanzees play, they emit breathy laughter. And soft grunts uttered by foraging or resting chimpanzees probably serve to maintain communication within the group.

      Each individual has his or her own distinctive pant-hoot, so that the caller can be identified with precision.

  5. FRANCISCO X

    Sorry but I think Humans are a different Specie even if we share 98.% of DNA we have differences yet.

    It’s probably true that chimps and humans couldn’t interbreed, but to find out for certain would surely be an unethical experiment, as Richard pointed out in one of his books.

  6. Perhaps there are some shared “dominant” genes in Ray Comfort? ! ? ! ?

    http://www.answers.com/Q/How_much_DNA_do_humans_share_with_a_banana

    Humans and banana trees share about 55% of the same DNA.

    As you look farther back down the evolutionary line to things like bacteria, we share around 40% of their DNA. As you slowly get closer to humans, we begin to share more and more. We share over 60% of our DNA with insects, 75% of our DNA is identical to reptiles, most mammals have 90% of the same DNA as us, and we share 98% of our DNA with chimps, our closest relatives.

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