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February 23, 2007

Chimps Separated From Humans Just Four Million Years Ago, Scientists Now Say


A chimp constructs a crude "spear," which,
despite all the hype, turns out to be just a couple of pine cones
held together by sticky gobs of monkey shit.

And the separating populations took just 400,000 years to evolve into entirely different species.

The primary reason for the rapidity of the human-chimp split? According to Dr. Seigreid Hulskul "In evolutionary terms, the question is easily answered: who wants to fuck a monkey? Seriously. They don't even have big knockers."

WASHINGTON - A new study, certain to be controversial, maintains that chimpanzees and humans split from a common ancestor just 4 million years ago — a much shorter time than current estimates of 5 million to 7 million years ago.

The researchers compared the DNA of chimpanzees, humans and our next-closest ancestor, the gorilla, as well as orangutans.

They used a well-known type of calculation that had not been previously applied to genetics to come up with their own “molecular clock” estimate of when humans became uniquely human.

“Assuming orangutan divergence 18 million years ago, speciation time of human and chimpanzee is consistently around 4 million years ago,” they wrote in their study, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Genetics.

“Primate evolution is a central topic in biology, and much information can be obtained from DNA sequence data,” Dr. Asger Hobolth of North Carolina State University said in a statement.

The theory of a molecular clock is based on the premise that all DNA mutates at a certain rate. It is not always a steady rate, but it evens out over the millennia and can be used to track evolution.

Experts agree that humans split off from a common ancestor with chimpanzees several million years ago and that gorillas and orangutans split off much earlier. But it is difficult to date precisely when, although most recent studies have put the date at about 5 million to 7 million years ago.

The only thing controversial about this is that they expect everyone to give a shit they're moving the timeline from 5-7 to 4 million years, and they expect us to play along and pretend that their crude techniques actually can provide strong evidence for "four million" versus "5-7 million," which are, you know, virtually the same goddamned numbers for all intents and purposes.

In related news, scientists dramatically revised the number of molecules believed to exist in the universe from "sixty-three bazilllion" to "sixty-nine bazillion," a calculation sure to provoke controversy from people who are sexually aroused by large numbers.

I only post this because it is, in fact, Nature Day, and JackStraw thought it would be a good way to advance my "Sullivolution" to the hard left.

The next chimp story will feature a picture of President Bush.


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posted by Ace at 09:12 PM

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