Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

MCRA chimps and humans

  1. Feb 24, 2015 #1
    10) Why have there been no (or very few) chimpanzee

    fossils found? Was the common ancestor of humand and chimps a

    chimpanzee or a different species completely? How similar is a

    chimp/human to that ancient ancestor?


    Thank you all so much! These 10 questions have been bothering me for

    some time and their are few answers online...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2015 #2

    Pythagorean

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Determining chimp from human may be more complicated than we thought; they might not have had a clean speciation:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16710306

    Finding any specific species at a specific point from the past, common ancestor or not, has a low probability (there's lots of dirt and preservation of fossils relies on certain geological conditions at time of death). There's a couple fossils that are close to the common ancestor, like Ardipithecus (for which it is a matter of debate whether it is a human or chimpanzee fossil) or Sahelanthropus.

    Also, don't forget our other cousins in the genus Pan, bonobos. They can technically still mate with chimps, but it's only been observed in captivity.
     
  4. Feb 26, 2015 #3
    Thank you
     
  5. Feb 26, 2015 #4
    I am under the impression that scientists believe that the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees was much more similar to a chimpanzee than a human. According to this credence, chimpanzees are basically a living and unchanged version of our common ancestor. Is this the popular belief?
     
  6. Feb 26, 2015 #5

    Pythagorean

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I don't know to what extent we can judge and infer beyond bone morphology. There may be significant nervous system or immune system differences. It would depend on how complete the molecular story is.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook