Evolution of organisms

  • #1
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What is the difference between saying "we evolved from chimpanzees" and "we and chimpanzees have a common ancestor"?
The latter seems to be widely used.But don't they seem have a similar meaning?
Thanks is advance,friends!
 

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  • #2
Drakkith
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The latter means that a population of organisms existed in the past that was neither human nor chimpanzee. Part of this population was either suddenly or gradually isolated from the other part and the two parts could no longer interbreed. Each sub-population subsequently evolved in their respective environments, eventually leading to two new species over millions of years.

That is, of course, an extremely simplified description of it. Wikipedia's article contains far more information than I could give.

Saying that humans evolved from chimpanzees means that a population of anatomically modern chimpanzees existed millions of years ago and that humans split off from them to evolve to where we are now.
 
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  • #3
Fervent Freyja
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No, they don't have a similar meaning. Saying "we evolved from chimpanzees" and "we and chimpanzees have a common ancestor" are both technically incorrect. Both of these sayings are from people misunderstanding the structure of the taxonomic hierarchy(there a few different classification systems too) in general. While we have come a long way in able to classify organisms the animal kingdom, it is not perfect and is still under revision. Because different characteristics are taken into consideration during classification, many organisms will end up in an odd ranking- co-relations in a rank may not mean that there were common ancestors, but had similarities too important to place them elsewhere.

You're welcome. :smile:
 
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  • #4
Drakkith
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No, they don't have a similar meaning. Saying "we evolved from chimpanzees" and "we and chimpanzees have a common ancestor" are both technically incorrect.
How is it incorrect to say that humans and chimpanzees had a common ancestor?
 
  • #5
Fervent Freyja
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The latter means that a population of organisms existed in the past that was neither human nor chimpanzee. Part of this population was either suddenly or gradually isolated from the other part and the two parts could no longer interbreed. Each sub-population subsequently evolved in their respective environments, eventually leading to two new species over millions of years.

That is, of course, an extremely simplified description of it. Wikipedia's article contains far more information than I could give.

Saying that humans evolved from chimpanzees means that a population of anatomically modern chimpanzees existed millions of years ago and that humans split off from them to evolve to where we are now.
No direct proof of the exact transitions.They are finding again and again that they are making poor estimates on the evolution of homos sapiens in general: locations, interbreeding, eras, etc.- I don't like it. I'm about to fall asleep, I can barely see! o_O
 
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  • #6
Drakkith
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No direct proof of the exact transitions.They are finding again and again that they are making poor estimates on the evolution of homos sapiens in general: locations, interbreeding, eras, etc.- I don't like it. I'm about to fall asleep, I can barely see! o_O
I'd like some references that support this if you don't mind (after you wake up). Everything I've ever seen on the subject has said that humans and chimpanzees descend from a common ancestor.
 
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  • #7
Fervent Freyja
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I'd like some references that support this if you don't mind (after you wake up). Everything I've ever seen on the subject has said that humans and chimpanzees descend from a common ancestor.
Okay.
 
  • #8
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No, they don't have a similar meaning. Saying "we evolved from chimpanzees" and "we and chimpanzees have a common ancestor" are both technically incorrect. Both of these sayings are from people misunderstanding the structure of the taxonomic hierarchy(there a few different classification systems too) in general. While we have come a long way in able to classify organisms the animal kingdom, it is not perfect and is still under revision. Because different characteristics are taken into consideration during classification, many organisms will end up in an odd ranking- co-relations in a rank may not mean that there were common ancestors, but had similarities too important to place them elsewhere.

You're welcome. :smile:
The molecular phylogeny(Finding the evolutionary relationship between two organisms using their DNA sequences) says that humans are 98.8 percent similar to chimps.More than that we have few structures that are similar to them like the tail bone which is a vestigial organ.
So it is very likely that we might have had a common ancestor.You can't find the evolutionary relationship between two organisms,if you don't classify them according to their similarities.The fact that dinosaurs and birds might have had a common ancestor was due to the fact that they both had feathers which was used for different purposes.
I think the fact that chimps and humans have had a common ancestor is the right one.I referred few books.When we say humans evolved from chimps we mean that chimps might have acquired few variations that might have caused them to become humans.In that case,chimps would have turned into humans and there wouldn't have been any chimps alive now.They have already "evolved" so their existence any longer is unlikely.
But when they have a common ancestor it means there was a chimp-human being that resembled both chimps and humans but it's subsequent generations might have moved to different places,got separated,acquired new changes by adapting to the different environment and might have evolved into two different species.
And that is how it works.
Coz we do have few chimps left in zoos.After you wake up,visit a good zoo,friend!
So I ask the question and I answer.
Of course,after the lazy habit of referring books.
 
  • #9
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If you go back far enough, all known living organisms share a common ancestor, even organisms as different as bacteria and humans.
 
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  • #10
Drakkith
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If you go back far enough, all known living organisms share a common ancestor, even organisms as different as bacteria and humans.
Indeed, many people have cookouts with their distant cousin Salmonella.
 
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  • #11
phyzguy
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What is the difference between saying "we evolved from chimpanzees" and "we and chimpanzees have a common ancestor"? The latter seems to be widely used.But don't they seem have a similar meaning? Thanks is advance,friends!
"We evolved from chimpanzees." is similar to saying, "I am descended from my grandmother."

"We and chimpanzees have a common ancestor" is similar to saying, "My cousin and I are both descended from my grandmother". In this case, I am not descended from my cousin.
 
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  • #13
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I totally misread the title...

"We evolved from chimpanzees." is similar to saying, "I am descended from my grandmother."

"We and chimpanzees have a common ancestor" is similar to saying, "My cousin and I are both descended from my grandmother". In this case, I am not descended from my cousin.
I would say "we evolved from chimpanzees" is more similar to saying "I descended from my nth cousin". We co-exist in generation with chimpanzees, sharing an nth great grandmother, as very distant cousins.
 
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  • #14
Fervent Freyja
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Okay.
I'd like some references that support this if you don't mind (after you wake up). Everything I've ever seen on the subject has said that humans and chimpanzees descend from a common ancestor.
Technically incorrect because all living organisms may share a common “ancestor” to begin with. I share some commonalities with a piece of lettuce as well.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_universal_ancestor

That statement also does not encourage further learning on the topic.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12064-008-0022-3/fulltext.html
 
  • #15
Drakkith
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Technically incorrect because all living organisms may share a common “ancestor” to begin with. I share some commonalities with a piece of lettuce as well.
And how does that fact make it incorrect to say that humans and chimpanzees evolved from a common ancestor?

That statement also does not encourage further learning on the topic.
I don't think I agree.
 
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  • #16
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And how does that fact make it incorrect to say that humans and chimpanzees evolved from a common ancestor
Mr Drakkith,I think your answer is the right one.I have referred my high school text book.Further more,My biology teacher is also convinced with the latter.
I have attached the image of the text book page which clearly states that we and chimpanzees have a common ancestor is the correct way of saying it
 

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  • #17
Pythagorean
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There seems to be a breakdown in communication somewhere around here...
 
  • #18
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Technically incorrect because all living organisms may share a common “ancestor” to begin with. I share some commonalities with a piece of lettuce as well.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_universal_ancestor
Are you really saying it is incorrect because it is correct? Because that's exactly what you wrote down.

The statement of 'we share a common ancestor with chimpanzee' is meaningless, because we share one with every other living organism, let it even be the last universal ancestor.

The statement is meaningful when you put in a time frame for that last common ancestor.

Last time I checked, truisms aren't false because they are so obviously true.


"We evolved from chimpanzees." is similar to saying, "I am descended from my grandmother cousin."

"We and chimpanzees have a common ancestor" is similar to saying, "My cousin and I are both descended from my grandmother". In this case, I am not descended from my cousin.

I agree except you mistyped and posted the exact opposite.
 
  • #19
Of course it is true that we shared a common ancestor with chimpanzees, and we also shared other common ancestors with dolphins, hippos, pythons, starfish, scorpions, and probably potatoes. There is nothing technically incorrect about that first statement. And although usually the ancestral form is gone, it is also possible (and evidence exists) that modern A and B could both have evolved from earlier A, if the B changed more rapidly, and the A remained in the same form, in some cases even in the same species (I can think of some arthropod examples in which this seems to be true). But for chimps, the ancestor was a very different chimp from Pan troglodytes. For the ancestor of Homo sapiens, it is fair to say a "chimp-like ancestor". If someone asks me did we evolve from apes, I say sure, just not exactly the same apes as you see in the zoo or Africa in 2015. if someone says did we evolve from monkeys, I say if you could go back 40 or 50 million years and see one of your ancestors, you'd say 'yup, it sure looks like a monkey".
 
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  • #20
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Technically incorrect because all living organisms may share a common “ancestor” to begin with. I share some commonalities with a piece of lettuce as well.
Yes,you do share a common ancestor with a piece of lettuce.That was long ago.but my question is crystal clear.I'm just asking why The fact that "humans evolved from chimps is false" because it is universal truth that all of us have a common ancestor with a particular organism let it be lettuce,monkey or a chimp.So the theory of all of us having a common ancestor is correct.Technically correct.
An example will help.A woman gives birth to a girl.we can say that the girl evolved from that woman.Now the girl has a cousin.Now you can't say that the cousin evolved from the woman.But it can be said that both the girl and her cousin have a common ancestor that is their grand mother.
 
  • #21
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I'm just asking why The fact that "humans evolved from chimps is false"
Because humans did not evolve from chimps. They both evolved from an as-yet unidentified third species.
 
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  • #22
Fervent Freyja
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There seems to be a breakdown in communication somewhere around here...
For sure, I should have made my wording more distinct. I had meant that the statement, "we evolved from chimpanzees", was most certainly incorrect. But the statement "we and chimpanzees have a common ancestor" may be technically correct but doesn't give a person any further information about the nature of evolution- what does it help to believe that? The term ancestor itself isn't clearly defined either, it does not always refer to an organism, and can indicate a condition that a living organism had been under.

It is poor taste to jump someone when you know what they meant and simply failed to communicate that well enough, thank you for not behaving that way.
 
  • #23
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Life forms might exist parallel from each other. Truisms don't become false when they become truisms. It used to be a profound statement, and to some it still is, though indeed it doesn't give much insight into what kind of common ancestry is involved here.

So yes, it is technically correct, but also correct in any other sensible sense of the world.
And even so, you deliberately stated that it was 'technically incorrect'.
 
  • #24
Drakkith
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For sure, I should have made my wording more distinct. I had meant that the statement, "we evolved from chimpanzees", was most certainly incorrect. But the statement "we and chimpanzees have a common ancestor" may be technically correct but doesn't give a person any further information about the nature of evolution- what does it help to believe that?
Ah, okay. That makes MUCH more sense now. :biggrin:

The term ancestor itself isn't clearly defined either, it does not always refer to an organism, and can indicate a condition that a living organism had been under.
I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at. Could you elaborate on this?
 
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  • #25
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It would also be correct to say that chimpanzees are our closest living genetic and physiological relatives.
 

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