“The DNA sequence that can be directly compared between the two genomes is almost 99 percent identical. When DNA insertions and deletions are taken into account, humans and chimps still share 96 percent of their sequence. At the protein level, 29 percent of genes code for the same amino sequences in chimps and humans. In fact, the typical human protein has accumulated just one unique change since chimps and humans diverged from a common ancestor about 6 million years ago.”
The claim is that chimpanzees and humans share 96% of the same genes. I find it fascinating that there are two totally opposite responses to this fact. One is that genes must therefore not be the complete story. The difference between, say, the Metz cathedral and the works of Plato, and the achievements of chimpanzees (look, I can eat ants with a stick), can’t be accounted for by genes.
The other response is to say, “See, we are just overgrown apes after all.”
“Darwin wasn’t just provocative in saying that we descend from the apes—he didn’t go far enough,” said Frans de Waal, a primate scientist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. “We are apes in every way, from our long arms and tailless bodies to our habits and temperament.”
Mr. Frans de Waal is available for interviews at the London Zoo. He’s the one eating bananas and throwing his feces.