Nature September 1 issue
jgrehan at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG
Fri Sep 9 08:34:28 CDT 2005
Some of you have no doubt seen in the September 1 issue of Nature with
the wonderful propaganda piece on the chimpanzee genome and the fact of
its close relationship with humans. I submitted a letter to Nature
pointing out the problematic nature of the theory with respect to the
existence of an alternative. Not surprisingly (since Nature is, like
many popular science journals, has decided to take a partisan position
to promote one particular theory), the editors only took a few hours to
reject the letter. Anyway, whether your agree or disagree with my
position, here is the letter that was submitted for those interested.
What about the orangutan?
SIR - In addressing the chimpanzee relationship (September 1, 2005),
Nature is confronted with the very real problem of scientific progress.
A majority of biologists do accept DNA sequence similarities as proof of
a close evolutionary relationship between humans and chimpanzees or
African apes. But scientific opinion is not unanimous, and majority
alone does not make science.
Humans have, among other special qualities, concealed ovulation, thick
enameled low cusped molars, high estriol production, specialized
skeletal features including a single incisive foramen and thick
posterior upper palate, well developed beard and mustache (in males), a
receded hairline from birth, forward facing hair on the head, prolonged
mating, a propensity for face to face mating, female initiated
copulation, and non-calloused buttocks. What other primate also has all
these features? Not chimpanzees, but orangutans.
Orangutans are the key problem for human origins. No matter how one may
wish to genetically make humans out of chimpanzees the biology is
incongruent. Even our early fossil ancestors, the australopiths, have
more specialized features in common with orangutans than chimpanzees.
Orangutans may not share with us the same level of DNA sequence
similarities as chimpanzees, but DNA sequences alone may not be the
final proof of our evolutionary relationship. A solution to the
conflicting evidence has yet to be resolved. Simply ignoring the problem
is not good science.
Dr. John R. Grehan
Director of Science and Collections
Buffalo Museum of Science1020 Humboldt Parkway
Buffalo, NY 14211-1193
email: jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Phone: (716) 896-5200 ext 372
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