We may be more closely related to bonobos than chimps

June 04, 2011

The concept of the ‘killer-ape' offers a pessimistic reflection of humanity and its genesis, but the latest research shows that [bonobos,] a primate species whose success is based on mutual aid and pleasure, not violence, is a better model for human origins. […]

More research is needed before any conclusions can be reached, but the study raises important questions about the emphasis on chimpanzees as the model for human origins. "If[, with respect to a common ancestor, the genetic substitution rate in chimpanzees] is higher [than in humans,] then [chimpanzees] should have indeed diverged more from a common ancestor," says Eisen. "Bonobos might be more similar to the common ancestor of humans, chimps and bonobos than chimpanzees are and thus make a better model for learning about early human evolution."

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