Of all the other life forms, chimps and apes seem to look the most like humans.
Could humans be descended from chimps or apes?
“But all researchers agree on certain basic facts. We know, for
example, that humans evolved from ancestors we share with other living primates such as chimpanzees and apes.”
Miller and Levine, Biology; 2000, p. 757
Two main hypotheses have been offered:
A. Humans evolved from a common ancestor we share with modern chimps.
B. Humans, chimps and apes did not have a common ancestor, they had a common designer.
How could we decide which hypothesis is correct? Either hypothesis might produce the same results. Let's put the hypothesized relationship between chimps and humans to the test. In following the scientific method we would attempt to falsify the hypothesis. In an attempt at falsifying it, we would look for differences between them. We never look for evidence to support what we already want to believe. Let's see how many differences we can find between them.
If hypothesis (A) is correct, there should be very few differences. The similarities should far out-weight the differences.
If hypothesis (B) is correct, the differences should far out-weigh the similarities.
Let's examine the differences:
Humans have white around their irises whereas chimpanzees usually have a dark brown color.
The human brain is three times larger than an ape of chimp brain.
Chimp pelvis Human pelvis
How they walk
Humans are bipedal and chimps "knuckle-walk" on all fours.
Chimpanzee teeth are much bigger than human teeth.
Besides those differences: nervous system, hair, hips, jaw, spine, chimps are two to three times stronger than humans, declarative language skills, human intelligence, the control of fire, human desire to teach, technological advancement, sociability, facial expression, diet, long-term relationships, etc.
If we were to test the hypothesis that humans evolved from a chimp-like ancestor; would we be looking for differences or similarities? The differences far out-weigh the similarities by about 10 to 1. Should scientists be looking for an alternative possibility?
Much of the clip art on this site is courtesy of Phillip Martin.