Not only was Grandpa an ape, he spent some time slumming with the chimps

Zimmer has a summary of the new analysis of the human and chimpanzee genomes that suggests that human speciation wasn’t sudden (no surprise there, I don’t think), and that our ancestors dallied with chimpanzee ancestors over a fairly prolonged period. I can’t wait to read the creationist response to that!

I haven’t read the paper yet—I’m still waist-deep in grading hell—but the deadline for grade submission is midnight tonight, and then at last I will be a free man again!


  1. MAJeff says

    May your grading be less hellish than mine–four students reported for academic integrity violations. Not a fun way to end the year.

  2. Foggg says

    Hawks’ afraid that:

    creationists will now cite Eric Lander in support of the idea that hominid fossils are not transitional between apes and humans, but instead are hybrids of apes and humans

    Some odd non-religious anti-common descenter might go that route, but biblical-type, big time creationists say organisms can only reproduce “after their kind” (and ‘specially those exclusively made in the image of God!), thus for them this dodge would be a non-starter.

  3. tacitus says

    Creationists will simply say that this theory proves, once and for all, how depraved and degenerate evolutionary thinking is. It’s about sex, and not just sex, but sex with animals! How will they be able to resist?

  4. CanuckRob says

    tacitus, if you think the creationists will be pissed think about the chimps. They gotta be thinking that after a millenium or two of boffing with humans how come they end up being endangered and humnas dominate the planet:) I wonder if this is the equivalent of the Fall in Chimpianity? Not taking apples from snakes but diddling with humans is the fast track out of the garden.

  5. miko says

    arun said: Seems the amount of poorly thought-out science publications is on the rise.

    uh…any evidence or warrant for that breezy anecdote? i’m not sure how you would even start comparing over time the “thought out-ness” of the 10s of thousands of research articles published every year.

  6. says

    PZ is right– it will be fun to see how the creationists spin this. Not because it’ll be that hard, but because (as with so many issues in human ancestry) they won’t have a party line on it. They’ll all agree that it’s a ‘big problem’ for evolution, but the reasons will be different, and the details of their actual take on the evidence may vary all the way from a threadbare ‘similarity doesn’t imply consanguinuity’ to a devil-may-care (and unorthodox) ‘so some degenerates did it with chimps– so what?’. Half the fun of being a religion watcher is in the schisms…

  7. Dave Puskala says

    Does this mean that creationists will have to change their classic argument to, “If we came from Manpanzees, why are their still Manpanzees?”

  8. RickD says

    The criticism by John Hawks is pretty damning, I’d think.

    I’m a bit concerned by part of the paper that suggests that this result is in conflict with the fossil record. Dating fossils is a fairly straightforward task compared to the complicated statistical machinery that the authors are using to estimate divergence times from molecular data.

    Disclosure: I work in Ziheng Yang’s lab. His 2002 paper on this topic was not cited by this paper, and came to rather different conclusions about the variability of divergence times across the human and chimpanzee genomes. Well, Ziheng’s out of town this week, but I’m sure we’ll talk about it when he gets back.

  9. Blader says

    I’m predicting this study will trigger fundamentalists to draw a series of pornographic cartoon’s, in which darwinists are depicted as copulating with chimps.

    On the basis of editorial integrity, Jyllands-Posten will publish these cartoons.

    The publication will outrage evolutionists, who will take to the streets en masse.

    The trouble will all start, where it always does, in Denmark and will spread from there.

  10. says

    Well, as we know that speciation proceeds slowly and that emerging species sometimes merge back in, it’s possible.

    This seems like a good time to quote Robert Heinlein. As I recall, he said something to the effect of, “People who can’t agree who did what to whom in a war thirty years ago can’t be sure what Alley Oop did to the upstairs maid when the evidence is scattered bones.”

  11. says

    A very challenging story on why there are maniacs out there who are willing to acquire AIDS than to feel holy, and why there are opposites. I believe this should still be verified so we will not blame our parents and forefathers on why we would wish to have lots of first-born sons from different mothers, or why we would still masturbate despite old age

  12. Owlmirror spots comment spam says

    Although since rel=”nofollow”, I’m not sure what good it does them