MadSci Network: Evolution

Re: Who speciated from their common ancestor first, humans or chimps?

Date: Mon May 15 17:09:48 2000
Posted By: David B. Hull, Ph.D., Faculty, CIS/TCM, DeVry Institute of Technology
Area of science: Evolution
ID: 956800250.Ev

Is this a trick question?

I just finished rereading Stephen Gould's Full House in which he debunks the notion of progress in evolution. I recommend this text as the answer to the question

Again, both humans and chimps have clearly been seperated from their "common ancestor" the same amount of time; because both species still are extant. If the common ancestor existed 12 million years ago, then both species have the same evolutionary age. Neither species is "better" than the other; they are just different.

Gould points out that the concept of a "great chain of being" is just not "in the cards". The notion of evolutionary progress from one celled organisms to the lofty end in Man is merely an artifact of our cultural bias; a pattern imposed on the data and not a product of the process of evolution.

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