Occasionally I hear people argue against evolution, saying that "if we evolved from apes then why are apes still around?"
These people have the misconception that scientists are referring to "modern-day" apes. This is not the case at all. When scientists say that humans evolved from apes they are referring to "ancestral ape-like animals", not modern-day apes.
It is true that humans share approximately 95-98% of DNA with chimpanzees. This does not mean that we "evolved from chimpanzees". The amazingly high % of common DNA between humans and chimpanzees indicates that we are evolutionary cousins, evolving from the same main branch as shown below.
s shown above, humans share the same branch (bottom-most vertical line) as the Gibbon, Orangatang, Gorilla, Common Chimpanzee and Pygmy Chimpanzee. However humans evolved off a different branch (top right) from the main one.
It is known that chimpanzees share 95-98% of their DNA with humans, so 2-5% of their DNA is different.
Our evolution from the main branch is represented by the 2-5% DNA that makes us different from all the rest of the primates on this list. However, more importantly, the main branch (bottom) that we all share, is responsible for the 95-98% DNA that we have in common.
This is overwhelming evidence that the Gibbon, Orangatang, Gorilla, Common Chimpanzee, Pygmy Chimpanzee and humans evolved from a common ancestor on the main branch (bottom).
Evolution is still occurring today. The Gibbon, Orangutang, Gorilla, Common Chimpanzee, Pygmy Chimpanzee and humans are all still evolving along their own individual branches. We just don't see the changes happening day-by-day because evolution occurs over hundreds of thousands of years, a time-span far beyond the human lifespan.
So the next time you hear someone arguing against human evolution from apes, you can draw this simple diagram to explain human differences, but more importantly, human similarities in DNA with our evolutionary cousins.
Maddalena Environmental Inc.