Thursday, May 18, 2006


Thursday's talker is enough to make us pluck bugs out of our fur. The Washington Post reports:
When the ancestors of human beings and the ancestors of chimpanzees parted ways 6.3 million years ago, it was probably a very long goodbye. Some of their descendants may even have gone back for a final tryst.

That is the conclusion a group of scientists has reached, using a comparison of the genes of humans and their closest animal relatives to sketch a picture of human origins far more detailed than what fossil bones have revealed.

According to the new theory, chimps and humans shared a common apelike ancestor much more recently than was thought. Furthermore, when the two emerging species split from each other, it was not a clean break. Some members of the two groups seem to have interbred about 1.2 million years after they first diverged -- before going their separate ways for good.

If this theory proves correct, it will mean modern people are descended from something akin to chimp-human hybrids. That is a new idea, and it challenges the prevailing view that hybrids tend to die out.
Going back for some sweet, sweet monkey loving.

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