Sunday, February 25, 2007

Chimp relatives: 4 million years ago

We share about 96 percent of the genes with the chimps. But when did the common ancestors exist? It used to be thought that the split occurred 5-7 million years ago. According to a new

this event is actually more recent: 4 million years ago. They studied the rate at which the DNA is changing, used a coalescent hidden Markov model for comparison, and assumed that organgutans split about 18 million years ago. The last divergence occurred more than 5 million years ago but they seem to imply that the split occurred more recently.

Well, this new result, if true, could make it 20% more understandable why some people think and behave the way they do. ;-)

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