Science is ever evolving. New evidence is presented all the time that either supports current hypotheses or casts doubt on our long concepts of reality. This is a tricky thing to juggle. The human mind likes foundations, categories and absolutes. It is not comfortable to leave things unknown – especially when those things unknown are so essential to our understanding of our selves. Thus we have the great debate over evolution and its validity. I, myself, am a hard lined believer in the theory of evolution. Although, I understand (philosophically) why not everyone is agrees with me on this one. Therefore, I think it is important to continue to research our origins and gather evidence to usher the more skeptical of us into the fold of scientific truth. Fortunately, this is what is happening. Recent research has unlocked more information regarding our evolutionary relationship to gorillas – and we are a bit more alike than we previously thought.
Over the past decade researchers have been trying to fully sequence the genomes of all the great apes. Gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos are our closest evolutionary ancestors still extant (we, of course, are great apes as well) and their genomes hold clues as to our evolutionary past. It is well known that chimpanzees are our closest extant relative - their genome being only 1.37% different than ours. But did you know that gorilla’s genomes are merely 1.75% different? Beyond that it appears that 15% of the human genome is closer to the gorilla’s genome than that or the chimpanzee’s. The lead researcher or the study, Aylwyn Scally, says: “Some of our functional biology is more gorillalike than chimplike.” Additionally, this research is allowing researches to paint a better picture of when and how the great apes diverged. As well as, increasing knowledge of how the basic mechanics of evolution work.
This research is, of course, incredibly important to understanding our past and maybe even our future. There are legal battles and societal splits occurring all over our nation about the nature of our existence. It is possible that research like this can bring us to a better picture of our existence? I think so. Some find a sense of completeness and spirituality from the arguments made by the creationists. Which, is not so crazy – it is what we all want. I, however, find completeness and a sense of spirituality from science research like this.
Posted by William Mohn