Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Erika's New and Hot, Week 3

I know someone has already posted something about chimps, but here's a different article about them, from the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/17/science/17chimp.html?ref=science, "Almost Human, and Sometimes Smarter." It's about how similar we are to chimps, our relative from whom we diverged only about 4-6 million years ago. We share all but 1.23% of our genes with them. The article talks about how several traits that we think of as distinctly human are actually shared by our primate relatives. Chimps use tools, and teach their children how to use them. Such socially transmitted behavior is demonstrative of culture. Chimps also show empathy and coorperation. They also have better short-term memory than humans, though our long-term memory beats theirs. I know in Darwin's Descent of Man, he spends a lot of time trying to convince his readers that we are not so different from other animals, and thus could have evolved from them without needed impossibly large leaps. I guess modern science is proving that right...

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