Talkin’ Bout My Speciation

Posted in Whatever Else on May 18th, 2006 by bill

Read a very interesting article in the paper this morning about a study of the evolutionary split between humans and chimps.

“The study gave unexpected results about how we separated from our closest relatives, the chimpanzees,” Reich said in a statement. “We found that the population structure that existed around the time of human-chimpanzee speciation was unlike any modern ape population. Something very unusual happened at the time of speciation.”

The unusual happening was that once the two species began separating from their common ancestors, they might well have been repeatedly interbreeding with each other—at times producing sterile offspring but sometimes producing offspring that remained fertile and, in turn, created a short-lived mixed lineage—a kind of dead-end tribe combining both pre-human and pre-chimp genes.

It’s a somewhat lengthy and complex piece, so let me sum it up for you briefly, in layman’s terms:

“Hey skeeziks, I’ve got some news for you! You think you’re so great, but it was really not that long ago that your ancestors were screwing chimps.”