Why Aren’t Chimps Still Evolving Into Humans?

Dr. WhoI stumbled across this question in YouTube world. I love it. I’m serious – the question is awesome.

When it comes to my line of work, as well as any facet of life that requires one to learn about reality, there’s a lesson to be learned.

Answers are easy. It’s asking the right questions which is hard. Dr. Who – The Face of Evil

Perhaps the question isn’t  the product of a brilliant mind, but it managed to coalesce into a thought that can readily identify where the problem is.

Why aren’t chimps still evolving into humans?

They never were. The common ancestor between chimpanzees and humans split off, and since then, our two lineages have evolved in two different directions.

The question reveals that the person thinks of evolution as a ladder of advancement, as opposed to a diversifying tree. The question as posed is like asking, “Why isn’t my cousin turning into me?, as in being literally one’s self, and not merely “like” one’s self.

Evolution doesn’t work like that. Chimpanzees aren’t “less evolved” than humans. They aren’t on the same evolutionary path as us, but further behind. We’re on two separate paths that are equally evolved… if “equally evolved” can even be an intelligible phrase.

I appreciate the question. When answering it, the person can get the most bang-for-the-buck in improving his/her understanding of evolutionary theory.

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About Jasper

The vertebrate is a software engineer, and spends too much time thinking about a narrow set of topics.