Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Ape-Human Split Moved Back By Millions Of Years

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the everything-you-know-is-wrong-again dept.

Biotech 390

E++99 writes in to let us know about a development in paleo-anthropology. It seems that up until now, scientific consensus has placed the divergence of man from the ape line five to six million years ago (based on "genetic distances"). But newly discovered fossils in Ethiopia place the divergence at least twice as far back, and perhaps as long ago as 20 million years. They also largely put to rest any doubts that man and modern apes both emerged from Africa. From the article: "The trail in the hunt for physical evidence of our human ancestors goes cold some six or seven million years ago... Beyond that... fossils of early humans from the Miocene period, 23 to five million years ago, disappear. Fossils of early apes especially during the critical period of 14 to eight million years ago were virtually non-existent — until now... [T]he new fossils, dubbed 'Chororapithecus abyssinicus' by the team of Japanese and Ethiopian paleo-anthropologists who found them, place the early ancestors of the modern day gorilla 10 to 10.5 million years in the past, suggesting that the human-ape split occurred before that."

cancel ×

390 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

How very fitting (5, Funny)

d3vo1d (607758) | more than 6 years ago | (#20356653)

that this comes right after the story entitled "Attack of the Evil Monkeys From Hell".

Re:How very fitting (2, Funny)

Samah (729132) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359859)

You're forgetting of course that we all split from the Peanuttius Butria [youtube.com] gene millions of years ago.

Re:How very fitting (0, Offtopic)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360249)

Thing is, the Creationists forgot to mention that peanut butter is sterilised and sealed to prevent 'new life' from growing in it. It's an evil plot by the Government called the 'Pure Food & Drug Act, not an act of (insert fave invisible personage here). Can you say 'straw man'? ('BOZO!!!') Very good, I KNEW you could!!!!!!!!!

Re:How very fitting (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360041)

Apes and Man were created by God six thousand years ago. If you believe in anything else you are doomed to eternal hellfire. Evolution along with all science is an attack on God. May the flying butt monkeys from Hell tear your soul apart.

Re:How very fitting (1)

aldo.gs (985038) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360105)

Brings a whole new meaning to 'going ape', no?

Creationists Declare Evolution Disproved (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20359885)

in 5... 4... 3...

Re:Creationists Declare Evolution Disproved (2, Insightful)

Smight (1099639) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360125)

I think the bigger target is "scientific consensus."

Fuck you, Mods. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360235)

When Creationists don't seek to impose their ignorance on others, demanding poverty of their neighbors children, or lack the political power to lend credibility to their threat, or for a fucking change manage to pray up a better microchip, cereal crop, or vaccine, then and ONLY THEN will the above post be flamebait. Your failure as a human being, a creature uniquly blessed to reason, is your elevation of feelings over truth.

HaHa,,, STILL trying to PROVE evolution... (2, Funny)

Star! (Score 6) (995613) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360749)

Piltdown man
A tooth of a pig drawn into an apeman!
A lie and a fake 5 years by 1927.

Nebraska man
A lie and a fake for 40 years.
By then everyone in the world thought they were from apes.
How did it take 40 years for the scientific community to find it was a clumsy fake?

Javaman (homo erectus)
Discovered by Dr Dubois and he himself declared in 1938 that it was just a monkey (gibbon).
He had found human skulls in the same stratum did not tell anyone for 30 years!
A lie and a fake. He eventually renounced the javaman as a fraud himself.

Peking man
Dr. black discovered it, a tooth and some ashes.
Soon after human remains were found mixed with animal remains. The animal remains were the food of the humans.
Hey but they wanted an apeman! so they grabbed bits of both and made Peking Man!

1972
Richard Leaky
Found a skull that supposedly blew evolution out of the water by 2.5 million years. The only thing left was
Ramapithecus. Just some fragments of jaw bones and some teeth. The same size and shape as a babboon in Ethiopia.

It never has been found and it never will be found a creature that is more than brute and less than human.
Also there is such little evidence for apemen that the amount would not be accepted in any other field of science.

And there's plenty more scientific evidence for the non-existenance of evolution!

(I know this is not what you like to hear, so just score me nothing as usual. Thanks)

Re:HaHa,,, STILL trying to PROVE evolution... (3, Interesting)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360815)

You cite about 5 cases, but there were a lot more findings.
Apparently the 98% genetic similarity with chimpanzee doesn't convince you.
Or you just patologically deny the facts, like your predecessors denied the round earth (aww, man, we would all fall down if earth isn't flat).

Re:HaHa,,, STILL trying to PROVE evolution... (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20361105)

Apparently the 98% genetic similarity with chimpanzee doesn't convince you.
That just proves that our intelligent designer is a lazy bastard who copied most of his work from the chimps' intelligent designer.

Re:Creationists Declare Evolution Disproved (1)

SimonInOz (579741) | more than 6 years ago | (#20361211)

Actually, this puzzles me.

It's the timeline.

Dinosaurs die out about about 85 million years ago, right?
And at that time mammals were represented by a creature about the size of a small dog - is that right?
So in 85 million years we got from one small species to many species of various sizes - but it took a quarter of that time to get from chimp to human? This doesn't sound right to me.

What am I missing here?

simpsons quote (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359917)

"Yet another example of science failing in light of overwhelming religous evidence!"

don't laugh too much... there's people out their who really think this way.

Re:simpsons quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360045)

Cue many more cheap shots like this one.

Re:simpsons quote (4, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360113)

Yep, it's cheap and easy to do because the idea that the world is 6000 years old and was greated by a big man in the sky is so stupid.

Re:simpsons quote (4, Funny)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360507)

Don't make a caricature of my faith; we've come a long way. Now we believe that the creator came down in human form to get his shit ruined by us, so that he could forgive us for the symbolic sin of eating some fruit that made us really smart. God didn't actually come down and wrestle with Israel, and he didn't actually make a donkey talk, it was just a symbol. If you can't figure out what a donkey talking symbolizes, well I feel sorry for you and your "logic" based mindset.

Re:simpsons quote (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360621)

The forbidden fruit is not making people smarter but telling good from evil (that is being capable of reflecting thought upon oneself, as in realizing one is naked). Before eating the fruit, whatever that means, man answers to istinct and/or is incapable of sinning because he can't tell. After, he is able to sin. That means getting out of the condition symbolized by eden automatically.

Is this an explanation or is it just a rationalization of a myth randomly transmitted in a religious book? Impossible to say and irrelevant for my thesis. My thesis is: you can easily make fun of a thing you didn't bother to analyze. And I never got out of a "logical mindset".

Re:simpsons quote (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20361111)

Before eating the fruit, whatever that means, man answers to istinct and/or is incapable of sinning because he can't tell. After, he is able to sin.
Just to make sure I've got this straight:
  • Man was incapable of sin until eating the fruit.
  • Man became capable of sin after eating the fruit.
  • Man at the fruit while incapable of sin.
  • Eating the fruit was a sin.
There's a ??? step I'm missing somewhere...

Re:simpsons quote (4, Funny)

flewp (458359) | more than 6 years ago | (#20361267)

Before eating the fruit, whatever that means, man answers to istinct and/or is incapable of sinning because he can't tell. After, he is able to sin.
Just to make sure I've got this straight:
  • Man was incapable of sin until eating the fruit.
  • Man became capable of sin after eating the fruit.
  • Man at the fruit while incapable of sin.
  • Eating the fruit was a sin.
There's a ??? step I'm missing somewhere...
Not only that, but you're missing the most important step... PROFIT!

Re:simpsons quote (2, Funny)

salmonmoose (1147735) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360655)

Does it symbolise God talking out of his ass?

Re:simpsons quote (1, Troll)

E++99 (880734) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360171)

Yep, I expected this would provoke the inevitable attacks on religious people by that predictable band of /.ers who apparently never think about anything else.

Re:simpsons quote (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360241)

Yep, I expected this would provoke the inevitable attacks on religious people by that predictable band of /.ers who apparently never think about anything else.

Ask yourself why.
With our schools being under attack from the creationists who want to indoctrinate our children in their superstitious fairy tale, it's not surprising at all. We of no faith don't have to turn the other cheek, but are morally free to kick back. So we do.

Butt kicking for goodness!

Re:simpsons quote (4, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360295)

Yep, I expected this would provoke the inevitable attacks on religious people by that predictable band of /.ers who apparently never think about anything else.

I don't have a problem with religion. I don't even have a problem with teaching religion. Just do it down the hall in the Philosophy department with the rest of the Humanities subjects and leave it the hell out of the science labs.

And keep the more rabid Creationists OUT of the School Boards. That's MY tax money going to waste teaching religion as 'science'.

Re:simpsons quote (1)

loganrapp (975327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360363)

Just do what New York did: "Fuck you, school boards." [wikipedia.org]

Re:simpsons quote (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360389)

Science at the moment is like that little wimpy kid at school who just hit puberty and had a growth spurt, grew some muscles and has discovered he could fight back against religion for the first time. Religion was the one that started the fight 100's of years ago, now you want to quit because your losing.

Re:simpsons quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20361365)

now you want to quit because your losing.
You're.

Dumbfuck.

Re:simpsons quote (5, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360451)

Depends on what you mean by "attacks". If I tell you that I believe my cat can fly, are you not free to say "wow, what a ridiculous thing to believe". Does that count as an attack? Are you supposed to say, "yes I respect your beliefs very much and lets include them in the school curriculum and here is some money and tax breaks for you"

Re:simpsons quote (2, Funny)

bhiestand (157373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20361123)

I think it's safe to say choosing a cat as an example was a big mistake. I could link you to hundreds of pictures of cats flying, and I can personally verify my last cat's ability to do so. You could have said spaghetti monsters can fly and started a flame war over the One True FSM, or you could've picked a less agile animal, such as the turtle, but please don't disparage cats by bringing them into this argument.

Re:simpsons quote (1)

cc1984_ (1096355) | more than 6 years ago | (#20361253)

Yep, I expected this would provoke the inevitable attacks on religious people by that predictable band of /.ers who apparently never think about anything else.

Why is this guy marked a troll? He's absolutely right! Religion had absolutely no mention in the original post. Saying "blah blah indoctrination blah blah ignorant blah blah truculent" may be right, but why is it getting an airing here?

Re:simpsons quote (1)

cthellis (733202) | more than 6 years ago | (#20361343)

It's a predictive response that inevitably proves to be true. The creationist latches onto this kind of stuff every time. Therefore... pre-mock the creationists. ;-)

This shouldn't mean "mock religion," of course... Just them literal creationists who are continually hunting Evolution and the sciences now.

Re:simpsons quote (2)

kronnek (982486) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360129)

"Yet another example of science failing in light of overwhelming religous evidence!" don't laugh too much... there's people out their who really think this way.
The sad thing.. even if you somehow could bring the hard evidence to prove that the human race came from apes... People that followed tomes of old would still not believe it. It's so hard to understand why people can't see what is right in front of their faces.

Re:simpsons quote (3, Insightful)

E++99 (880734) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360147)

Most people who follow "tomes of old," myself included, believe that humans evolved from apes. For the large majority of believers they're orthogonal subjects, and evolving from apes does not preclude being created in the image of God, any more than evolving from a zygote does.

Re:simpsons quote (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360287)

If we're created in the image of your god, does he have a tail bone and an appendix?
If not, why didn't he fix that in us? Did something go wrong?
If he does, why? They only serve negative purposes for humans.

No, evolution and a belief in men created in the image of god just doesn't mix. If anything, that's less believable than what the creationists hawk. At least they can say that god created everything to look like there had been an evolution, for purposes we don't understand. Ridiculous as it is, it's at least theologically possible, while the view that evolution has led to humans in the image of god just doesn't fly.

However, Occam's razor tells me that the simpler explanation is true: God was created in the image of humans.

Re:simpsons quote (1, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360375)

If we're created in the image of your god, does he have a tail bone and an appendix?

No idea. Possibly.

If not, why didn't he fix that in us? Did something go wrong?

Why fix it? Maybe it needs to be there, like the poorly-documented bit of stub code that I commented out earlier that turned out to be essential for reasons that remain unclear to me

If he does, why? They only serve negative purposes for humans.

Sure, falling and injuring your coccyx is a bit nasty, but since we don't really know what effect it has or what would happen if it wasn't there, I don't think we can say it only serves a negative purpose for humans.

Re:simpsons quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20361035)

Shut up you fool.

Re:simpsons quote (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20361133)

I think you've come very close to the real reason a number of Christians have a problem with evolution. The bible tells us that man was created in God's image, but evolution tells us that we are just the latest in a long line of incremental improvements. Taking these two together means that humanity is being created into God's image, and our descendants will be the beings that God originally intended, and we are no more special than any other ape.

Having your religion tell you that you aren't special is hard for a lot of people to take; especially people attracted to a religion like Christianity that tells you that you are so special Jesus chose to die for you. For some people, it's easier to just disbelieve the evidence that attacks their ego the most strongly.

Re:simpsons quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360783)

any more than evolving from a zygote does.
That's "developing" from a zygote.

Re:simpsons quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360239)

even if you somehow could bring the hard evidence to prove that the human race came from apes...

It has been done quite thoroughly. Fossils are only a hint, but the genetic evidence is overwhelming.

Re:simpsons quote (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360261)

The problem is that not everyone wants to learn everything about every subject. In fact, a lot of people aren't capable of knowing everything about everything; or even everything about a single subject. At some point, we all have to rely on what someone else is telling us. How much we believe such 'experts' is based on many things, including the reputation of and previous behaviour of said person.

Of course, most(?) 'religious' people don't just believe in the existence of God, but believe they actually *know* God (to some degree) and have a real relationship with Him. Futhermore, such people consider God to be the most reliable person in their life. If you understand that, then their reluctance to believe perfect strangers is perhaps more understandable.

The problem is at least in part that *you* don't believe *them* - ie that there is a God, that they know God and that they have a personal relationship with Him (and therefore have a good personal reason to believe Him rather than you).

Of course, there's pretty much nothing anyone can do about that.

So, why bother?

Re:simpsons quote (4, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360359)

The problem is that not everyone wants to learn everything about every subject. In fact, a lot of people aren't capable of knowing everything about everything; or even everything about a single subject. At some point, we all have to rely on what someone else is telling us. How much we believe such 'experts' is based on many things, including the reputation of and previous behaviour of said person.

That's fine and dandy. But why must kids be forced to learn religion tarted up and presented as 'science' when it ain't no such animal? The only 'design' in Intelligent Design is to get it past the people who'd reject overt religious programming in favor of science.

Of course, most(?) 'religious' people don't just believe in the existence of God, but believe they actually *know* God (to some degree) and have a real relationship with Him. Futhermore, such people consider God to be the most reliable person in their life. If you understand that, then their reluctance to believe perfect strangers is perhaps more understandable.

Personally, I'm agnostic. I don't have a clue if there is a god, where it hangs out at, or what it wants. I also believe everybody else is in the same boat. People who tell me god sits on their shoulders and feed them the answers make me nervous. People who tell me god told them they're special and should be running things make me want to grab a gun and prepare to defend myself from what appears to me to be an extremely dangerous person capable of anything under the cover of god telling them to do it. "Sorry, god told me to kill the president" doesn't cut it as a defense in a courtroom. Why should it cut it on the street?

Re:simpsons quote (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360501)

That's fine and dandy. But why must kids be forced to learn religion tarted up and presented as 'science' when it ain't no such animal? The only 'design' in Intelligent Design is to get it past the people who'd reject overt religious programming in favor of science.

The observation that aspects of living forms seem to be too complex, or fit together in too coordinated a way to come about as proscribed by the leading theory, is a valid argument for a science, even if the argument is motivated by religious thoughts, and even if the evidence doesn't exist to resolve that argument one way or the other. (Truly, the debate is almost infantile, "it couldn't happen that way" "yes it could" "no it couldn't" "yes it could"). But those considerations are exactly what will most likely motivate the next generation to figure out how to get the evidence to shed more light on the process of evolution, and what truly is and is not possible under the leading theory. I believe these questions are resolvable -- it's just a matter of making the discoveries.

Personally, I'm agnostic. I don't have a clue if there is a god, where it hangs out at, or what it wants. I also believe everybody else is in the same boat.

So you're agnostic on God, but you take a position on whether anyone else knows about God? Come on. You don't know if other people have a relationship with God. Admit it. :-) That said, I used to take the exact same position.

Re:simpsons quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360567)

>The observation that aspects of living forms seem to be too complex, or fit together in too
>coordinated a way to come about as proscribed by the leading theory, is a valid argument for a
>science.

No, it's not. The theory of evolution is falsifiable. Intelligent design is not.

Re:simpsons quote (5, Insightful)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360707)

I called myself agnostic until someone posed the question if I was agnostic in my the belief in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and the flying spaghetti monster.

At that point I realized that calling oneself agnostic because there is a very tiny possibility that a god exists is just playing with the definition of the word agnostic. For all practical purposes I am an atheist.

Othwerwise, I agree with what you said.

Re:simpsons quote (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360953)

> ... But why must kids be forced to learn religion tarted up and presented as 'science' when it ain't no such animal?

That's a rhetorical question, right? Clearly, they shouldn't.

However, I would also argue that there is a case for not stating something is fact beyond all doubt, and teaching people to come to their own conclusions. Of course, it's fine to say things like, "Well, I can't be 100% sure, but when *I* look at all that evidence, it seems obvious to me that it happened this way."

It reminds me of how I react to people who seem to constantly state things as if they were fact, when they are not; or who state their opinions with certainty, which then prove to be not the case. For example, saying that it's definitely 'this' way to get to a certain place, when it later proves not to be that way. I find that my "guesses" (ie, "I think it's this way") are far more reliable than such people's "100% certain".

I guess that goes back to that whole 'trust' thing...if I were to meet someone who fairly consistently tells me things that turn out to be true, then I find it much easier to believe their opinions or the things they believe in.

Of course, if I want to actually have my own independent opinion, then I need to look at all the evidence for myself. I used to love going to (not taking part in) debates while I was at school, and hearing both sides of an argument (or whatever). I also love to read debated topics in Wikipedia for the same reason - all sides are usually represented in some form.

Re:simpsons quote (1)

cthellis (733202) | more than 6 years ago | (#20361363)

> However, I would also argue that there is a case for not stating something is fact beyond all doubt, and teaching people to come to their own conclusions. ...and the way science it taught, students are shown precisely that. It's part and parcel of teaching the scientific method.

Re:simpsons quote (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360409)

Interesting that despite having such a deep personal relationship with their god people seem to not actually hear him that much .After all they all seem to instead listen to some random stranger, the clergy of their religion, who in turn tells them what god supposedly said.

Re:simpsons quote (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360981)

Indeed, though that is supposedly one of the methods God uses to communicate. It is not, however, something one should act upon without testing or confirmation of some form, IIRC - I'm talking about Christianity (plain old regular type) here, of course.

There's usually not a problem with listening to people, it's what you do as a result. Don't just believe what you're told, but test it.

There are other ways God (supposedly) communicates too - in person, of course (if you believe the reports); via the Holy Spirit (again, difficult to discern from some random idea you have, or intuition/guilt/conscience, I'd guess); via The Bible (again, this is mostly a Holy Spirit thing, I think).

One pastor I listen to a lot often says that what he says could be rubbish (he doesn't use those words), and prays that his words reflect the will of God and such. I think this is fairly common.

Millions of years... (3, Funny)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359919)

... and Duke Nukem still isn't out.

Re:Millions of years... (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360401)

Funny. I recall playing it on my old 333 some years ago.

Perhaps you are posting from another time/dimension?

Re:Millions of years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20361377)

Yes. Hes posting from the dimension were you have a sense of humor.

Implications on inter-ape relationships (4, Insightful)

saforrest (184929) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359927)

Hmm, the immediate implications here seem to be mostly for our relationship with orangutans and chimps, and less so for our chimp relatedness. If true, this gives us a lower bound on the number of years since the divergence between the human/chimp line and the gorilla line, but we still don't know when we diverged from chimps.

I expect they will adjust the molecular clocks to reflect the new knowledge and make a new guess. But the lesson of this whole discovery is that the current models for molecular clocks seem to be a bit lacking.

Re:Implications on inter-ape relationships (1)

saforrest (184929) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359949)

Hmm, the immediate implications here seem to be mostly for our relationship with orangutans and chimps,

Gah, that should read "orangutans and gorillas,".

Re:Implications on inter-ape relationships (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359971)

I expect they will adjust the molecular clocks to reflect the new knowledge and make a new guess. But the lesson of this whole discovery is that the current models for molecular clocks seem to be a bit lacking.
hold on a second, we need to look into things a bit more first. first thing to do is to check the ancestral lineage for these species, there should be a clear line of species between us, the primates and these species. if these species really are ancestral species at this age we need to find out what exactly caused our molecular clocks to say otherwise. was there an evolutionary bottleneck like a set of genes that took a long time to evolve enough for the split? what genes caused this split and why?

Re:Implications on inter-ape relationships (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360321)

I expect they will adjust the molecular clocks to reflect the new knowledge and make a new guess. But the lesson of this whole discovery is that the current models for molecular clocks seem to be a bit lacking.

I suspect so. However, IANA Molecular Biologist, but seeing how some species (like cockroaches, and probably many species of bacteria) go virtually unchanged for hundreds of millions of years, while other species (like humans) seem to undergo relatively drastic changes in some very tight timeframes, it's hard for me to imagine that the "molecular clock" can be all that precise or predictive. It seems most likely that it must stop and start too irregularly to be a good clock.

Re:Implications on inter-ape relationships (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360377)

As I understand it molecular clocks are usually based around junk dna, in other words dna whose change does not affect the creature. This is in contrast to genes which when changed can significantly alter the creature.

Re:Implications on inter-ape relationships (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360385)

What you fail to take into account is that many species have much more inert genetic material, i.e. more base pairs in their DNA that don't encode for anything. And when changes happen there, nothing happens to the species. In addition, much of what is left might be "critical" genes that can't be changed without causing inviable individuals.
Finally, the very amount of DNA that can be altered also matters -- number of chromosomes and their length.
So the outwards observable effects are limited to those DNA base pairs that actually can code for a protein that does something, and changes to either inert gene strands or critical genes won't be observed. Thus there may be the same amount of DNA changes per base pair in a cockroach as in a primate, but fewer observable changes. The clock is still ticking, and occasional viable and visible changes do occur for both.

Re:Implications on inter-ape relationships (1)

VoidCrow (836595) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360731)

The idea is to focus on an area of the genome that isn't strongly conserved, so, the genes that code for histamine would be ignored (because if they altered enough, they'd kill the organism, and it would have no children). So, presumed junk DNA. Still, a lot of assumption. In humans, although IANAMB, ISTR that environmental stress can alter the genetic mutation rate. Just one potantial spanner for the clockwork.

Re:Implications on inter-ape relationships (1)

VoidCrow (836595) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360695)

The model for mutation rate in mitochondrial DNA has a confidence factor of plus or minus an order of magnitude anyway, but the central figure for the lifetime of the modern human race, ie, 100k years, is quoted as gospel. *That* annoys me.

Pak (1)

PresidentEnder (849024) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359931)

breeders?

Misleading to talk about a "human-ape split" (5, Insightful)

tirerim (1108567) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359955)

Last I checked [wikipedia.org] , "apes" were actually paraphyletic—that is, humans and chimpanzees actually forma a clade, and gorillas split off some time earlier (and orangutans before that, and gibbons even before that). So it should really say that the split between gorillas and Hominini (chimps and humans) was earlier than previously thought. The discovery gives no information at all about when humans and chimpanzees split.

Re:Misleading to talk about a "human-ape split" (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360051)

My understanding of the article is that they are indeed talking about the human chimp split....but it is weird and confusing that they keep talking about gorillas....since as you say they split from the chimp/human line long before the chimp/human line split into chimps and humans.

Talking about a "split" is confusing anyway, what they should be talking about is when the most recent common ancestor of modern apes (presumably chimps) and humans was.

Re:Misleading to talk about a "human-ape split" (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360369)

It does get confusing what exactly they're talking about. If anyone has a subscription to Nature (or feels like paying $30 to read the article :-( ), the paper is on the website.

Re:Misleading to talk about a "human-ape split" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360111)

Last I checked [wikipedia.org], "apes" were actually paraphyletic
I'm not disagreeing, but I have to say, I just love how in the past few months, wikipedia has become some infallible source to quote on slashdot.

Re:Misleading to talk about a "human-ape split" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360157)

Interesting. [ytmnd.com]

Re:Misleading to talk about a "human-ape split" (5, Informative)

j01123 (1147715) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360545)

Apes are monophyletic [wikipedia.org] , because apes include humans. You are correct though, that the non-human apes are paraphyletic, because the closest living relative of the chimps are humans.

My impression of the Nature article [nature.com] (subscription required) is that the authors are claiming that their paleontologic find pushes the gorilla split (from the human-chimp lineage) back to ~12 million years. Based on this, they essentially recalibrate the molecular clock as it relates to several of the ape divergences. This information is in section 5 of the paper's online supplementary materials [nature.com] (subscription not required), not the body of the article. Keep in mind that supplementary materials generally aren't peer-reviewed as rigorously as the rest of the article.

Re:Misleading to talk about a "human-ape split" (2, Informative)

catbutt (469582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360591)

Apes are monophyletic, because apes include humans
I think more accurate would be to say "Apes are monophyletic, if you consider that apes include humans". Most people don't consider them to include humans, anymore than they consider dinosaurs to include birds or reptiles to include mammals.

However, Hominoidea, the "ape clade", certainly includes humans.

Re:Misleading to talk about a "human-ape split" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20361307)

Every so often I see men who look like they came right out of a page in an anthropology textbook, where "early man" is discussed. Saw one the other day that did not really have a "forehead" at all, his skull sloped right back just above the eyebrows. He got my attention, because he was lost, did not understand at all where to go to be waited on in a small business. One glance and I kindly helped him, realizing that he really did not know, at all.
He could have had his picture taken, to appear in an anthropology textbook, as a wax recreation of what the person might have looked like. He looked that good. Yes, he was of African decent. His forbearers plucked from the jungle and brought to this country as slaves. Perhaps his genetic traits I note here re-surfaced, to so dramatically influence his appearance, and unfortunately, his apparent intellect.
He was far advanced from an actual Ape, but did qualify as a real "primitive man" look-a-like.
I can't imagine this poor bastard appearing on a late night talk show, the thought of that brings tears to my eyes.
One wonders if he can experience so-called advanced emotions such as that, and if he can't, then he is indeed blessed.
We, of the more advanced examples of Man, have the real curse.
He just can't pay his bills, without earning every nickel by the sweat of his brow, appearing that it does.

THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO, before the dawn of man as (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360001)

an ape-like creature making crude and pointless toys out of dinobones and his own waste, hurling them at chimp-like creatures with crinkled hands regardless of how they behaved the previous year. These so-called "toys" were buried as witches, and defecated upon, and hurled at predators when wakened by the searing grunts of children. It wasn't a holly jolly Christmas that year. For many were killed.

Re:THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO, before the dawn of man (1)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360013)

And there was much defacation.

That is strange (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360021)

By looking at people, I would have thought it would have moved forward. ;-)

Also I am wondering if we are realy a different species or that we just want to be. e.g. there are differnt kinds of sharks that we call sharks, yet we make a difference between apes and humans.

Just being curious.

Re:That is strange (1)

ACDChook (665413) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360063)

And the different 'kinds' of sharks are different species of shark. Chimps, gorillas, humans - we're all different species of primate.

Re:That is strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360319)

You are correct, sir. There is in fact considerable anthropological evidence that suggests humans and chimps should be classified closer than they currently are. It's generally not well very accepted by the general public, however.

Re:That is strange (2, Insightful)

catbutt (469582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360653)

It's generally not well very accepted by the general public,
I think it has less to do with acceptance, as opposed to the convenience of distinguishing between our own type and other types, especially in everyday speech.

I mean, not many people question that humans are scientifically animals, but it is still convenient to reserve the word "animal" for speaking of those of the non-human variety...at least by default. Otherwise you'd have to have the "Non-human Animal Planet" tv channel and "People for the Ethical Treatment of Non-Human Animals", "Non-human Animal Control" department, etc.

It just depends on the word and the context. Words like "mammal" and "primate" are more commonly used in a somewhat scientific context, so most people understand them to include humans by default.

Re:That is strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360347)

Yes we are a different species for the express reason that a human cant mate with with a chimp or any other form of primate besides human and create a viable offspring. That is the very simple watered down definition of species.

Re:That is strange (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360349)

You are mixing species and family.

Species: "A fundamental category of taxonomic classification, ... consisting of related organisms capable of interbreeding."

So yes, we are a different species from chimps, orangutans etc as we cannot interbreed with them, and they are different species from each other as well.

However, we are all members of the apes family, humans included. As for the common usage distinction of apes and humans, its a cultural thing I guess.

Splt?!?! What split? (0, Troll)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360033)

My chimp [ientrymail.com] and I are still happily married.

Only Democrats Came From Monkeys (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360053)

Once again anthropology has to shift the pieces on the game board. It's amazing educated people can keep trying to put faith in this rubbish.

Re:Only Democrats Came From Monkeys (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360103)

That's your fuck up right there. You mix faith and science in the same context. No wonder you don't get it.

Re:Only Democrats Came From Monkeys (1)

Carpe PM (754778) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360527)

That's your fuck up right there. You mix faith and science in the same context. No wonder you don't get it.

They belong together. You 'know' things as fact because you believe implicitly what a scientist tells you, since he(she) is a scientist, what he says is true. You will believe it until the day they say something different is true, which you will then believe something different implicitly. You will do this without any loss of faith in said fallible human for leading you to believe what turned out to be false.

Re:Only Democrats Came From Monkeys (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360763)

No.... see you people just don't get it at all. I don't just believe someone because they present themselfs with a little badge saying "scientist", I look at what they are saying, I'm critical and skeptical of it and I challenge their reasoning and methods.

Religion and faith are exactly the oppersite of this. You just put your belief in something because you choose to (which is ok).Science starts out with a question and then a solution, religion just jumps straight to the solution hoping they are correct.

Unpossible. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360115)

How could apes and humans have been merged millions of years ago when everybody knows the universe is only six thousand years old!

Re:Unpossible. (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360219)

Your universe, maybe. Mine's a lot older.

Re:Unpossible. (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360393)

We seem to come from different universes. Mine's discovered soap & toothpaste, and a life outside the basement...

Re:Unpossible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360617)

As someone who is religious, I don't subscribe to the "universe is 6000 years old" nonsense either. In fact people who take an absolutely literal interpretation of the Bible naive and blinded by ignorance. Do these people not understand that the word "day" does not always have to mean a literal 24-hour period? Haven't these people ever heard of "back in the day..."? And don't get me started on "Intelligent Design". But I digress.

What I find equally repulsive is the "she's a witch, burn her!" attitude that many of you self-important glorified smirking, sarcastic, blubbering chimps lurking around Slashdot have in mocking and slandering everyone who believes in a creator. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Don't get me wrong, science is a wonderful, beautiful tool that has done some incredible things (I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the discovery of insulin). However, it is does not need to be a rival to religion. Indeed both can be--and in many cases, are--corrupted. Religion has just had a much longer time to putrefy. Just because there is a scientific "peer-review" process, doesn't mean that that Science(TM)(c) isn't immune from corruption. Science often suffers from consensus and conformity problems, as well as financial problems.

The ultimate problem, I suppose, is that once an institution becomes too powerful, it must fight harder and harder to maintain that power until it eventually collapses. Religion in general has sunk to an extremely debauched state, and is only being propped up in North America because it is more about business than faith. Those who are sincerely faithful are equally pained at what passes for religion in this civilisation and would just as rather see it done away with as the secularly minded.

There is one problem, though. Religion at least once gave people a hope and a reason to lead a good life, it showed people that there was a purpose and a sense that they were a part of something greater than themselves. (Ostensibly, but it really didn't do all that great a job) Science, and it's cousin, technology, has taken away that hope and replaced it with the temple of the self. We now live in a dog-eat-dog world where only the most selfish thrive. Such a system is doomed to fail. Indeed, it is failing us.

Much harm has been done in the name of both religion and science. Much good has been done, too. If the best of religion (such as, love thy neighbor as thyself, don't steal, don't covet what isn't yours, be patient, kind, loving, help the poor and suffering, etc.) can be harmonized with the best of science (pursuit of knowledge and truth for it's own sake, developing cures for diseases and making them freely available, designing cleaner, safer things for people to use, etc.) then perhaps we can build a better world. Is it possible? No. We are too corrupt. You are too corrupt. I am too corrupt. We can't fix the mess we made on our own, and we will start to pay the consequences eventually. Perhaps we are already starting to.

Re:Unpossible. (0, Offtopic)

IllForgetMyNickSoonA (748496) | more than 6 years ago | (#20361039)

I suppose you do know who/what brought up the notion of the witches, together with the "need" to burn them alive? And you also know who excercised this "need"? Right. It's your tender, loving, helping-the-poor religion we are talking about here.

Look, for all I care, you can be religious, I don't even care. I only go berserk when you try to impose that religion of yours on ME or MY kids, using MY tax money I paid so that my kids can learn SCIENCE. I'd say it's perfectly normal for myself to defend me and my lifestyle from rabid attacks from the religous mob, isn't it?

Summary of the Article (4, Insightful)

jpetts (208163) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360161)

"Towards the end of our research period we came across some fossil teeth that MAY be identified as coming from the after the split between gorilla and human ancestors.

Not only that, they MAY be earlier than the previously proposed date for the gorilla an human split."

===========

The fossil teeth demonstrate that the last common ancestor of the gorilla and human was "out of Africa" (although this has been disputed), it is not a point of real controversy.

This whole article reeks of conditionals, and restatements of non-controversial theories (e.g. " There is broad agreement that chimpanzees were the last of the great apes to split from the evolutionary line leading to man, after gorillas and, even earlier, orangutans"), and there is nothing but speculation and weasel wording in the entire article.

This is just grant-milking, and possibly -- though I hope not -- nationalism and nonsense of the worst kind. NOTHING reported in the linked article is substantive in any sense, and is not worthy of comment or rebuttal unless and until some real theorems are posited.

Non-news. Pass it by.

Re:Summary of the Article (2, Informative)

E++99 (880734) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360253)

Towards the end of our research period we came across some fossil teeth that MAY be identified as coming from the after the split between gorilla and human ancestors.
Not only that, they MAY be earlier than the previously proposed date for the gorilla an human split. ...
This whole article reeks of conditionals

They found fossil teeth. They identified them as coming from after the gorilla-human split. They dated them to 10.5 mya to 10.0 mya. Their colleges agreed. Using such conditionals is how responsible scientists and scientific journalists speak.
You MAY have been conditioned in favor of absolute and sweeping "scientific" statements from watching Al Gore movies.

Non-news. Pass it by.

Independent informed opinions from the article:

"This is a major breakthrough in our understanding of the origin of humanity," Yohannes Haile-Selassie, a physical anthropologist at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Paleoanthropologist Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University in Ohio... described the fossils as "a critically important discovery," a view echoed by several other scientists who had read the paper or seen the artifacts.

Millions of years? Hardly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360179)

Creationist research says some of these abominations may be nearly four thousand years old.

Re:Millions of years? Hardly! (1)

Dragon By Proxy (1063904) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360559)

Creationist research...


You had me up to here.

Consensus ? (-1, Troll)

bmajik (96670) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360225)

Wait -- I thought when there was scientific "consensus", continuing to do more research, investigation, and to continue question the prevailing assumptions was unnecessary and sign of an unhealthy "denialist"

Can someone help me understand which theories are sacrosanct and which ones are still open for discussion? It's getting hard for me to keep track..

Re:Consensus ? (1, Insightful)

Carpe PM (754778) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360387)

It depends where the money is. Science isn't a hobby to a professional scientist, it's employment.

MOD up! (0, Redundant)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360529)

Science isn't a hobby to a professional scientist, it's employment.


May this quote forever be remembered.

You don't seem to understand how it works (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360597)

You don't seem to understand how it works.

1. _Nothing_ is sacrosanct and beyond questioning in science. "Consensus" just means the stuff we already have plenty of data to confirm, but noone's stopping you from finding new data that shows the limits or shortcomings of it.

2. You are, however expected to present the data and logical train of thought from data to conclusion, if you want to question anything. And more specifically,

2.A. any hypothesis, if it's going to make it to "theory", is supposed to explain the data we already have.

2.B. if we're to replace an existing theory with a more complicated one, well, Occam's Razor still applies. We don't do complexity for complexity sake. You're supposed to show exactly what wasn't adequately explained by the old theory, but follows naturally and reproducibly from yours.

To pick an example out of the hat, take general relativity:

1. Yes, even something as accepted as newtonian gravity could be questioned, but

2. It had to show the data and maths that people can examine and decide for themselves. Among other things, as I was saying: (A) It still had to match the measured data. E.g., applying general relativity to an apple, still had to match the measured time to fall. And (B) it had to be useful on at least one case where newtonian gravity doesn't produce the measured results. E.g., light deflection near a massive star.

Anyway, I'm surprised at the number of people who don't understand one of the two. We have no shortage of nutcases who either:

1. treat science as some fucked-up religion. (I'd give more examples, but you only have to look at the wave of retards postings stuff along the lines of "nooo, don't try to think about it! You're not worthy enough to question these guys!" each time a science or tech story comes up and someone dares ask "well, then how did they solve well known problem X?")

2. think that "questioning" or "investigation" means making up bullshit, supported by nothing more than handwaving, generous application of logical fallacies, plus a lot of wishful thinking.

In a nutshell, noone's stopping you from questioning any theory you wish. Take your pick, really. You may not necessarily get a grant, but noone's stopping you. Who knows? You might even be right. But show us the hard, reproducible data you base that on. If you don't, well, then you qualify as a crackpot. We're still not stopping you, but we might do mean things like point and laugh.

The real religious explanation (0, Offtopic)

MrEthical (1147707) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360471)

Read the Book of Enoch - Dead Sea Scrolls & Sumerian texts, they tell the same story. The whole Christian theology is a corruption of the official records. Roman Emporer Constantine was so fed up with the 200 odd Christian religious factions fighting it out in the Roman Empire that he called a group of their leaders together in around 300AD (The Councils of Nicea). They were told to come up with a 'standard' belief. As no record of Jesus exists until he was 30 years old, they invented the virgin birth, King Herod, and all of the other twaddle. They even copied existing documents such as the Egyptian Book of The Dead, and paraphrased all existing religious scripts from around the globe in doing so. The stories in the Bible are not originals at all, identical ones exist in scores of ancient texts, right down to the 'miracles' and names. At this point the Roman Catholic Church was formed..and bingo, you have a Control Group that has made millions out of the fiction ever since. It's why there are such close ties between governments and the Roman Catholic church. The Book of Enoch is not in the Bible, and not without good reason. The Sumerian tablets tell the same story, as do most other ancient civilizations. We are descended from sky gods. That is why no one will ever find the missing link, there isn't one. We were created by cross breeding with visitors. It's all documented. According to Babylonian documents, the Anunnaki were the children of Anu and Ki, brother and sister gods, themselves the children of Anshar and Kishar (Skypivot and Earthpivot, the Celestial poles). Anshar and Kishar were the children of Lahm and Lahmu ("the muddy ones"), names given to the gatekeepers of the Abzu temple at Eridu, the site at which the Creation was thought to have occurred. The head of the Anunnaki council was the Great Anu, (rather than being just a sky god, Anu in Sumerian actually means "sky"), of Uruk and the other members were his offspring. His place was taken by Enlil, (En=lord, lil=wind,air), who at some time was thought to have separated heaven and earth. This resulted in an ongoing dispute between Enlil of Nippur and his half brother Enki of Eridu regarding the legitimacy of Enlil's assumption of leadership. Enki, (En=lord, Ki=Earth), in addition to being the God of fresh water, was also God of wisdom and magic, regarded by some as an alchemist. When the Igigi went on strike and refused to continue to work maintaining the universe, on the Shappatu (Hebrew. shabbat, Eng. sabbath) Enki created humankind to assume responsibility for the tasks the Gods no longer performed. The Anunnaki were the High Council of the Gods, and Anu's companions. They were distributed through the Earth and the Underworld. The best known of them were Asaru, Asarualim, Asarualimnunna, Asaruludu, En-Ki (Ea for the Akkadians), Namru, Namtillaku and Tutu. These civilzations were thousands of years old, they could not have invented this stuff, it has to be real. The Church will do anything it can to prevent people accepting it as the truth as they will lose their power base, influence and wealth if they do so, and along with them go world governments. Best bet for simple explanation is 'Zeitgeist The Full Movie - Latest Edition' on Google Video.

Re:The real religious explanation (2, Insightful)

evwah (954864) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360883)

I was right there with ya' until you started substituting one fake story for another.

Re:The real religious explanation (1)

AngryJim (1045256) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360951)

I wish I hadn't already commented on this story, because you deserve mod points for writing the funniest thing I've read all year.

Re:The real religious explanation (1)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 6 years ago | (#20361073)

Damn. You started off so well....

Headline scared me. (1)

AngryJim (1045256) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360927)

I read the headline the way someone might read "Human progress on X moved back by Y number of years". For a minute I feared that either monkeys had evolved or humans had devolved by several million years, with the latter seeming more likely.

Therefore... God! (1)

cthellis (733202) | more than 6 years ago | (#20361251)

Them dirty evolutionistors were wrong again!

Only a matter of time... (0, Redundant)

sigzero (914876) | more than 6 years ago | (#20361369)

Before the anti-religious bigots came out...
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>