Monday, 29 September 2014
Humans and Chimps: The End of the 2 Per Cent Myth
We share 50 per cent of our genes with bananas, but that does not make as half bananas.
Popular culture and science museums will tell us that we differ genetically from chimpanzees by 2 per cent.
Assuming the common ancestry of chimps and humans, scientists only measured the parts of our DNA that matched those of chimps. Much of it didn’t. In the past decade, the difference has kept on getting bigger and bigger. First, it was 5 – 6 per cent, then 23 and now perhaps 30 per cent or so. Nature, for instance, admitted in 2010 that the Y chromosomes of the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and humans are ”horrendously different from each other”.
The two per cent difference is a myth that does not at all correspond to reality.