Human Origins Pinned Down

This should put the wingers in a tizzy.

The lineages of humans and chimpanzees, our closest relatives, diverged from one another about 4.1 million years ago, according to a new estimate that is said to be far more precise than previous ranges for this critical evolutionary moment.

Asger Hobolth of North Carolina State University and his colleagues arrived at the estimate of “the time we became human,” or the time in the past when descendents of the human-chimp ancestor split into human and chimp, by statistically comparing DNA from four regions of the human, chimp and gorilla genomes.

I notice the chart doesn’t mention Australopithecus Florensis–the “hobbit” like skeleton found on the island of Flores last year, but their chart is also from 2006, so that may be why.  Still, 4 million years is a bit longer than 6,000, doncha think?

Of course, the wingers are still reeling from the fact that chimps have been filmed crafting and wielding spears and using them to hunt bushbabies.  Because evolution is a myth, right? 

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7 thoughts on “Human Origins Pinned Down

  1. This reminds me of that Friends episode where Phoebe and Ross are arguing about evolution.

    “Explain opposable thumbs!”

    “Maybe the alien overlords needed them to steer their spacecraft!”

    Anyways, these people aren’t really looking for the truth, which is what science is about. They just want to sit there, believe what they want to believe, and stick their fingers in their ears. Oh, and then they want to go attack anybody that does use their brain.

    We’re never going to convince them or shut them up, so our best bet is to marginalize them instead. Not that people shouldn’t question evolution, just do it from a rational standpoint with research and evidence to back up any conclusions.

  2. I would disagree to an extent with the comment, “These people aren’t really looking for the truth.” They’re looking for a different sort of truth.

    Science isn’t exactly about finding the truth, either, but again finding a type of truth. It’s about developing models that allow for successful prediction of the future. That’s a type of truth specific to scientific inquiry.

    Religion postulates about the model-builders, if you will, which is an area good science doesn’t, and shouldn’t, go. When one is used as the metric for the other, you veer into dangerous territory because there’s really no basis for comparison, let alone evaluation.

    So, yes, one must be careful to give each realm its due, but one must also be careful not to paint with too broad a brush and fall into the same irrational behavior that motivates many religious individuals and scientists alike.

  3. There’s a difference, NDT. Evolutionary theory is about heritable change over time leading to speciation. Tracing human biological history back to where such identifiable change occurred is not an implicit parental relationship and having a common genetic ancestor is not the same thing as “coming from monkeys”. It’s a small, but vital difference that is deliberately misinterpreted to serve an agenda.

  4. As a believer, I still see the hand of God at work in evolution. Scriptures speak of our spiritual creation, science gives us a glimpse of the physical. It’s a notion that has never really troubled me as a Christian. As far as I’m concerned, scientific discoveries like this only reinforce how awesome the whole of Creation is.

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