|MadSci Network: Evolution|
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.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Evolution.