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:

Special Thanks to:
Dr. Judy Diamond
The University of Nebraska State Museum

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  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.

    • 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.

      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.

  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.

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