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Old 12-20-2010, 07:31 PM
 
512 posts, read 1,225,672 times
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Hello,
Something occurred to me while watching richard Dawkins explain the family tree of our species....
My question for you is this:

if Chimps and us are cousins (both from a common ancestor A) and both of us are cousins with Gorillas (all 3 from a common ancestor B) and all 3 of us (ie. chimps, humans, and gorillas) are cousins with the Orangutan (all from a common ancestor C), why do chimps, gorillas, and orangutans look so close to one another while humans look very much different?

any thoughts?
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Terra firma
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I don't think your question is valid. To me, a chimp doesn't look anything like an orangutan. It's a pretty big difference; akin to the difference between a West African human and an oriental from China: major differences.
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Old 12-20-2010, 11:36 PM
 
Location: in your dreams
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What about baboons and spider monkeys, where exactly do they fit in to this equation...
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Old 12-21-2010, 01:31 AM
 
Location: Chicago metro
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This is a tough one to answer. I'm going to use the climate change in Africa explanation b/c it makes sense. At one time, Africa was mostly tropical forest(down to 10% today). The areas where we were living in saw a huge downgrade in trees, resulting in open plains. No trees, no climbing and that forced us to eventually walk predominately upright and of course changing our bone structure to give us that ability. Notice that Gorillas, Chimps, and Orangutans are forest animals and they spend a signficant amount of their time in the trees. Also because we were expose to the heat more due to being in open plains, this can explain the tremendous hair body lost among humans in Africa.

I hope that kind of helped answer something

Last edited by Chicagoland60426; 12-21-2010 at 01:44 AM..
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Old 12-21-2010, 01:37 AM
 
Location: in your dreams
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Hmmm not really..lol
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Old 12-21-2010, 01:44 AM
 
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Humans have done a lot of adapting in order to walk long distances while carrying things - a vital aspect of the way humans have survived harsh environments. That takes care of the bipedalism (walking on two feet) and the 'walking foot'. Walking upright also favors a more flattened, widened body shape.

Another vital aspect of human survival is communication, which has favored a number of traits like a larger brain (and bigger head for holding it) for comprehending language and social interaction, a chin and lower lip disconnected from the jaw for better word-forming, and an adapted vocal-throat-nasal setup.

Other than that, humans really are very similar to other apes. In fact, 99% of our DNA is identical to chimpanzees. Personally I see so many similarities between us and other apes (and even to other animals) that I don't really agree with the observation that bases the OP question.
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Old 12-21-2010, 04:57 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
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Your perspective is skewed because you're human. Probably to a dog/cat/bird/etc we don't look that much different from other simians.
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Old 12-21-2010, 06:42 AM
 
512 posts, read 1,225,672 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicagoland60426 View Post
This is a tough one to answer. I'm going to use the climate change in Africa explanation b/c it makes sense. At one time, Africa was mostly tropical forest(down to 10% today). The areas where we were living in saw a huge downgrade in trees, resulting in open plains. No trees, no climbing and that forced us to eventually walk predominately upright and of course changing our bone structure to give us that ability. Notice that Gorillas, Chimps, and Orangutans are forest animals and they spend a signficant amount of their time in the trees. Also because we were expose to the heat more due to being in open plains, this can explain the tremendous hair body lost among humans in Africa.

I hope that kind of helped answer something
that's interesting. any ideas on why our brains developed so much faster/more than that of our 'cousins'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nbbphh View Post
Your perspective is skewed because you're human. Probably to a dog/cat/bird/etc we don't look that much different from other simians.
That's an interesting thought. hadn't thought about it that way.
but thinking about it more, i don't think it's entirely fair to think that way.....it's like saying, elephants and humans are very much different because you're human. to an ant or a grasshopper, we don't look that much different.
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Owasso, OK
1,224 posts, read 3,514,816 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpie1234 View Post
Hello,
Something occurred to me while watching richard Dawkins explain the family tree of our species....
My question for you is this:

if Chimps and us are cousins (both from a common ancestor A) and both of us are cousins with Gorillas (all 3 from a common ancestor B) and all 3 of us (ie. chimps, humans, and gorillas) are cousins with the Orangutan (all from a common ancestor C), why do chimps, gorillas, and orangutans look so close to one another while humans look very much different?

any thoughts?
This is just my two cents worth: Geographic separation. Humans have inhabited the entire planet and have developed traits to help them survive in various climates... being hairless, melanin production, etc. Culture (big brains) also shapes what is considered attractive and trait selection can occur in that way as well. You also have some genetic bottlenecking going on because of geography and natural disasters. When a large portion of the gene pool is eliminated, it opens up more opportunities for recessive traits to be expressed. Example- Asian eyes.
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:12 AM
 
Location: Owasso, OK
1,224 posts, read 3,514,816 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpie1234 View Post
Hello,
Something occurred to me while watching richard Dawkins explain the family tree of our species....
My question for you is this:

if Chimps and us are cousins (both from a common ancestor A) and both of us are cousins with Gorillas (all 3 from a common ancestor B) and all 3 of us (ie. chimps, humans, and gorillas) are cousins with the Orangutan (all from a common ancestor C), why do chimps, gorillas, and orangutans look so close to one another while humans look very much different?

any thoughts?

By the way... Thank you for bringing up this topic. Or any topic that doesn't have to do with Atheists vs. Believers. This is refreshing to have something FUN to think about.
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