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Why Do People Have a Problem With Our Relation to Other Apes?

For some reason, one of people's biggest problems with evolution seems to be that us and the other great apes all came from the same ancestors. One of the first objections I hear from creationists is if I actually believe that we evolved from apes. And honestly, it never seemed like a big deal to me*. Here, take a look at these pictures of a bonobo and a human:

Bonobo body with Face Visible
Man with Face Visible

Now, take a look at these four images:

Great Dane

Not only do all those dogs have a common ancestor, they're still the same species and can still interbreed (well, the size difference between a great dane and a chihuahua would pose a problem, but you could still artificially inseminate them).

If the human face and bonobo face are throwing you (and I personally think they're every bit as similar as between the pug and greyhound), try taking a look at it this way, with the faces hidden to emphasize the similarities in their bodies:

Bonobo body with face hidden
Man with face hidden

Really, how can someone not accept that we have the same ancestor as the other great apes, but then not bat an eye at calling all the different breeds of dog, just dogs.

*Added 2008-09-12 In anticipation of the people who like to argue that we didn't evolve from apes, but rather that the other apes and us all evolved from the same common ancestor, I understand why you argue that, but it's still a silly argument. We are apes, just like chimps, bonobos, orangutans, gorillas, and gibbons. When you have a group of a certain type, I think it's safe to say that the common ancestor of the group was that type as well. Sure, there gets to be a grey area when you start going back past that (like when exactly did mesonychids become whales, and when did dinosaurs become birds), but if you were to hop in a time machine and find this (full story), I don't think most people would hesitate to call that animal an ape. Besides, it's all just semantics, anyway, and our attempt to classify things that don't have discrete boundaries. That's what makes cladistics so darned handy.

As an aside, and I know it's something I've mentioned before, but doing a Google image search yields some pretty strange images. It doesn't help at all when you're looking for a picture of a topless guy. And I'll also add that photographers seem to be much more enamored with female bodies than male bodies.

As another aside, I realize I'm breaking copyright by using the image of that guy, but you really, really don't want me to be my own model to get a picture of a topless male human. On the other hand, that could be useful to show our relation to another primate (full blog entry).

Updated 2008-10-03: Moved the images to below the fold.


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