I'm not an expert, so I couldn't judge if the paper referred to in that article contains baseless assumptions.
I have read it, however (here). It appears to me as though the authors were following the same methods as other sciences, as outlined for instance by MarkForbes in post #15. They collected data (GenBank) and performed experiments (PCR analysis). They conducted an extensive analysis of their results, and had it reviewed by numerous people before publication. All their data and analysis are presented in the paper and on the website of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work was supported by National Science Foundation Grants, National Institutes of Health Grants, and San Diego Zoo.
Hi, to you.
The DNA comparison was done on only a tiny segment of DNA. What if we compare all the genes contained in Y chromosome? Would they still be willing to shovel out millions of dollars in Govt. grants and correct academic texts if it was done?
Not only were the locations of DNA categories completely different between human and chimp, but so were their proportions. One sequence class, or category containing DNA with a characteristic sequence, within the chimpanzee Y chromosome had less than 10 percent similarity with the same class in the human Y chromosome, and vice versa. Another large class shared only half the similarities of the other species, and vice versa. One differed by as much as 3.3-fold (330 percent), and a class specific to human "has no counterpart in the chimpanzee MSY [male-specific Y chromosome]."
As far as looking at specific genes, the chimp and human Y chromosomes had a dramatic difference in gene content of 53 percent. In other words, the chimp was lacking approximately half of the genes found on a human Y chromosome. Because genes occur in families or similarity categories, the researchers also sought to determine if there was any difference in actual gene categories. They found a shocking 33 percent difference. The human Y chromosome contains a third more gene categories--entirely different classes of genes--compared to chimps.
Under evolutionary assumptions of long and gradual genetic changes, the Y chromosome structures, layouts, genes, and other sequences should be much the same in both species, given the relatively short--according to the evolutionary timeline--six-million-year time span since chimpanzees and humans supposedly diverged from a common ancestor. Instead, the differences between the Y chromosomes are marked. R. Scott Hawley, a genetics researcher at the Stowers Institute in Kansas City who wasn't involved in the research, told the Associated Press, "That result is astounding."
Because virtually every structural aspect of the human and chimp Y chromosomes was different, it was hard to arrive at an overall similarity estimate between the two. The researchers did postulate an overall 70 percent similarity, which did not take into account size differences or structural arrangement differences. This was done by concluding that only 70 percent of the chimp sequence could be aligned with the human sequence--not taking into account differences within the alignments.
In other words, 70 percent was a conservative estimate, especially when considering that 50 percent of the human genes were missing from the chimp, and that the regions that did have some similarity were located in completely different patterns. When all aspects of non-similarity--sequence categories, genes, gene families, and gene position--are taken into account, it is safe to say that the overall similarity was lower than 70 percent. The Nature article expressed the discrepancy between this data and standard evolutionary interpretations in a rather intriguing way: "Indeed, at 6 million years of separation, the difference in MSY gene content in chimpanzee and human is more comparable to the difference in autosomal gene content in chicken and human, at 310 million years of separation."
Wouldn't scientists under the premise of the "scientific method" calculate all of the differences instead of making assumptions based on a limited data set? According to the true numbers, chickens should be placed in the genus Homo
as well if they are still sticking to the taxonomic classification based on DNA percentages.
If we did go by comparing small sections of DNA (~1%), then we are closer to orangutans than chimps.Genetic archaeology finds parts of our genome more closely related to orangutans than chimps
And if we compare morphological similarities, then we are still closer to orangutans.Humans More Related To Orangutans Than Chimps
In a nutshell, it appears legit. Perhaps you're correct that the paper's conclusions are laughably wrong. But it certainly looks to me like they were "going through the motions" of following the same methodology as any other science.
I would still have to say that they reached a philosophical conclusion based a very limited "cherry picking" data set. Science would compare all data and would converge on a honest and unbiased conclusion.Hypothesis
- Humans and chimps are genetically similar enough to be considered in the same genus.Test hypothesis
- Our genomes share only 70% similarity (Conservatively).Methods
- Non-similarity of sequence categories, genes, gene families, and gene positions.Results
- Chimps certainly belong in their own genus based on DNA similarity.Conclusion
- If evolution can be inferred, then it is based solely on assumption.
The conclusion reached by an unbiased interpretation is quite different from what the authors published.