All About the Differences

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A sensational headline ran across the science media this week: “Chimps More Evolved than Humans.” Could it be that there are philosopher-apes out there after all? In reality, such exuberant headlines referred to a less shocking-yet still unusual-finding: the chimp genome, according to evolutionists, has undergone greater evolution since humans and chimps allegedly went separate ways a supposed 7 million years ago.

A University of Michigan team led by population geneticist Jianzhi Zhang “compared nearly 14,000 protein-coding genes in humans and chimpanzees,” identifying only “154 human genes that have been positively selected,” compared to 233 in chimps. Because evolutionists believe chimps and humans share a common ancestor, they also believe that any gene differences between us and chimps are the result of natural selection “positively” or “negatively” selecting genes. Whatever genes exist now are considered the “winners” of natural selection; the differences-chimp genes we don’t have and vice versa-are considered to have been negatively selected.

According to Zhang, whose team’s research was published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, chimpanzees’ larger historical population accounts for the difference. And as for what the difference is all about?

In the chimp, genes that have outpaced those in humans include ones involved in protein metabolism, gene transcription, and stress response. . . . In the human, too, the differences appear to be subtle, with selection working rapidly on genes concerned with fatty acid metabolism and phosphate transport.

Furthermore, “physician-scientist” Ajit Varki of the University of California, San Diego points out that “[o]ther mechanisms in gene evolution-such as gene expression, duplication, conversion, and inactivation-are likely to be equally important” as Zhang’s discovery.

This research serves a few purposes for creationists. First, it’s a good reminder of just how different humans and chimpanzees are (despite the inaccurate and misrepresentative “98%+ genome similarity” often cited by evolutionists). Second, it underscores how morphological homology-that is, similar appearance and construction-is not an independent sign of evolution; despite superficial human-chimp similarities, there are complex differences “under the hood.” While evolutionists see these differences as having arisen in the time since chimps and humans diverged, it is just as consistent to view our genomes as unique designs of the Creator, with numerous inherent differences because we are inherently different creations.

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