Posted by: r.m. | March 18, 2011

our family tree

Let’s take a step back. From all the killing and violence and anger.

Let’s take a step back … and think of our family. Our extended, beautiful, endangered family.

Now for the first time scientists have drawn a comprehensive family tree of all living species of primates based on a systematic analysis of scores of key genes embedded within their DNA.


  1. Don’t know why, but i was drawn while reading an article about what Christian de Duve, a biology nobelist, said about natural selection and our inheretent slefishness. He said:”Because it has no foresight. Natural selection has resulted in traits such as group selfishness being coded in our genes. These were useful to our ancestors under the conditions in which they lived, but have become noxious to us today. What would help us preserve our natural resources are genetic traits that let us sacrifice the present for the sake of the future. You need wisdom to sacrifice something that is immediately useful or advantageous for the sake of something that will be important in the future. Natural selection doesn’t do that; it looks only at what is happening today. It doesn’t care about your grandchildren or grandchildren’s grandchildren.”
    He summarizes all this in a sentence, and said:”We have evolved traits that will lead to humanity’s extinction, so we must learn to overcome them.”
    Yes, there is a family tree. “Our extended, beautiful, endangered family”, as you said, is a beautiful powerful sentence! We, humans, were evolved as primates. We were evloved from the same species. I don’t think that there is an animal species or a plant species that has witnessed violence and anger between the different individuals of the same species, as much as the human species has witnessed.
    Maybe, it is it somehow and sometimes right for primates to think that they have evolved to destroy other species such as animal species; However, it is totally wrong to think that they have evolved to destroy each others under the same single species.
    So, is this happening because of natural selection that lead each human to not act beyond what their nose can see?
    – Cherine Ak

  2. I guess that the resemblance between humans and primates is astonishingly big, not only do we resemble their appearance, we also do act like monkey tribes do. This study is another step towards discovering the genetic resemblance between both races, or discovering the actual differences that make us (if you’d like to consider it that way) “superior” (but also more stupid some times) to our animal brothers. One of the conclusions i’m going to dwell on is the fact that the scientists who did the work found that the human race is amongst the slowest evolving races when taking into consideration all the primates. Maybe there lies the reason behind our differences, maybe, because we’re slowly evolving, we don’t experience changes too much and have already got to our own “steady state” (or “stable state”, for those who like chemistry), while monkeys have not gotten to such state. The mystery behind human evolution is a very ancient research that has fascinated many for thousands of years up until today, and i really think that even we are getting close, it’s going to take us more than a family tree to find a satisfying answer.

  3. Anyone who still doesn’t believe in evolution or the fact that humans and other primates share a common ancestor is foolish. The evidence is incontrivertable. By denying the relationship shared with these magnificent creatures, humans are once again separating themselves from the big picture and from everything else. They are denying not only the huge impacts that they have on the environment, but also on their kin. “The primates would include some of the most intelligent life forms on the planet”. So then why would one take such offence? This common misconception that humans are “superior” to other animals needs to seriously be dropped especially when humans are “among the slowest” in the evolutionary race and since it stems from a sense of arrogance and ignorance.

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