Saturday, December 3, 2011

The molecular clock runs more slowly in man than in apes and monkeys

An article from 1987 found - using surprising advanced technology for the era - that humans evolve slower than chimps and other apes. At the time, it was thought that the "molecular clock" (i.e. the rate at which molecular in species mutated and evolved) was the same across all species within a particular taxonomic group; this study, published in Nature magazine, proved otherwise. Check out the link below to see the study in detail - seeing it up close and in person gives one a better sense of the importance of this study's findings. Its finding raised a number of question that still intrigue scholars of molecular anthropology today, such as "Why did the Neanderthals die out, while Homo-Sapiens (modern humans) continued to thrive? Did we evolve faster than them, or did we have different modes of thinking that allowed us to succeed where our closest ancestors failed?" One can imagine how this study would have lead directly to such inquiries.

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