• Question: If we are 99% similar to a chimp, what is the 1% difference made up of?

    Asked by fishofdoom to Adam, Catherine, Karen, Leila, Nazim on 20 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Adam Stevens

      Adam Stevens answered on 20 Mar 2012:

      We’re actually 98% or 95% or anything in between similar to most living things. (Like bananas have 50% the same genes as us)

      This doesn’t mean we are 99% chimp, it just means that we have 99% of our genes the same as chimps. They will have some extra, and we will also have some that they don’t. This doesn’t necessarily cause the differences between us and chimps, that is caused by /what the genes are doing/, which isn’t necessarily counted in that 99%. We actually have quite a lot of ‘junk’ DNA that doesn’t appear to do anything.

    • Photo: Catherine Rix

      Catherine Rix answered on 20 Mar 2012:

      We share 99 % of our DNA with chimps, but even really small changes in DNA can make a big difference. Some studies have shown that we share 50 % of our DNA with bananas!

    • Photo: Leila Battison

      Leila Battison answered on 20 Mar 2012:

      DNA is such a huge molecule, that just 1% can make a huge difference – with us, it’s probably conciousness. Physically we’re very similar, and it is our brains that make most of the difference between us and the apes.

      Our large brains allow us language, they allow us to make tools, and they make us social. That’s all you really need to make a human. That, and a razor, to get rid of all the monkey hair (except the moustache!)