November 12, 2008

Human vs. Chimp, October vs. September

Do you remember learning, or at least hearing, that humans and chimpanzees were over 98% identical at the genetic level? I certainly remember hearing that and finding it surprising. I remember reading articles with that information and the authors using it to say that humans are really not that different from animals.

Well, now that both the human and chimp genomes have been sequenced, we find that a better percentage is that we are around 72% similar to chimps, but even then, scientists are not yet sure how to compare Man's genetic structure to the chimpanzee's genetic structure. If you read at the link you'll see, too, that even to get to the 72% figure, scientists had to manipulate the chimp genome, bend and flex it, to even compare.

So, oops... forget the last 30 or 40 years... scientists do make mistakes, don't they... like NASA just reporting that October 2008 was the warmest October in 129 years only come to realize that they were using September data to calculate October temperatures. NASA says it's only reporting what was given to them -- I didn't realize we were paying NASA scientists to be reporters, I would have thought our good money would go toward, you know, them doing some science. If a private citizen can look at satellite data for free and realize immediately that October was not warmer than September, why are we funding NASA?

Suffice to say, October remains colder than September and humans are quite different from chimpanzees... and most children can tell you the same with very little funding.

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