22 August 2006

What Makes Us Human?

Scientists appear to have located one of the key genes that produces a greater human mental capacity than that of other primates. The gene involved in brain function known as HAR1 has changed nine times as much in the time period since humans and chimps had a common ancestor about 6 million years ago, than it has for the entire period of evolutionary advancement from fork in the tree of life between chickens to chimps, perhaps ten or more times as long ago.

It is one of 49 out of 35,000 genes where humans and chimpanzees are significantly different.

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