The Split From Apes

Our genes start changing
13-7 million years ago

Our ancestors split from their chimp-like relatives over 7 million years ago. At first, they would have looked similar. But within their cells, change was afoot. After the split, the ASPM and ARHGAP11B genes began changing, as did a region called HAR1. It’s not clear what this did, but HAR1 and ARHGAP11B are involved in the growth of the cerebral cortex.

See other: What Makes Humans Human?


9 thoughts on “The Split From Apes

  1. From the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, “What Does It Mean To Be Human?“:

    As our bodies evolved for speech, the voice box dropped lower in the throat. The area above the vocal chords lengthened, enabling us to make a wide variety of sounds.

    As can readily be seen, the chimpanzee has a very short neck, its head seemingly being attached almost directly to its shoulders.

    Both the chimp and early humans are believed to have directly descended from an earlier, chimp-like anthropoid scientists have come to call “Proconsul“. But chimpanzees remained in their Eden, the jungle, while humankind launched itself into the tall grasslands of the African veldt, presumably in search of game. One can imagine how advantageous it would be for humans to evolve a longer neck and for the head to move further back, allowing for a much more upright posture, which in turn would have allowed for a better view of predators lurking in the tall grasslands. This would result in lengthening the area above the vocal chords, as depicted in the above illustration. Many anthropologists believe that that relatively slight evolutionary change allowed for vocal manipulations of sound, of which the chimp is simply physically incapable.

  2. Interesting stuff Arch! Thank you for sharing.
    PS I have looked at your comments on Scientology, however, before I want to get into that I want to write a more general post on that curious religion/cult – whatever ;)

  3. curious religion” – I think you may find ‘bizarre’ to be the more applicable adjective.

  4. And then there was Joseph Smith, a convicted con man before he was visited by an angel with directions to a hollow tree where his god had hidden a book made of gold leaf (that no one but Smith ever saw).

  5. do you think there is a curve of “bizarreness” when it comes to religions?

    I can only answer that if I may dispense, for the moment, with polite conversation, and replace that with honesty – yes, to put it in technical terms, I believe the range goes from mildly nuts to batshit crazy.

  6. Interesting.
    Another fine American contribution to the English lexicon: batshit. Love it. It’s up there with patootie and bubkess [Edit.] bupkiss.

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