Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An Evolutionary Biologist Answers Christine O'Donnell's Question About the Missing Monkey-Humans - Newsweek

An Evolutionary Biologist Answers Christine O'Donnell's Question About the Missing Monkey-Humans - Newsweek

To imply that if evolution were true we should see monkeys turning into people shows not much knowledge of biology. Clearly Ms. O’Donnell is not very knowledgeable on this subject.

We did not evolve from monkeys as such: they are a living organism. We evolved from a common ancestor. If you go farther back, we evolved from the same ancestor as all vertebrates.

All of those changes have taken an extraordinarily long time. Even a single change in a species takes a very long time. For example, there is evidence that some humans in Africa and Europe have evolved ability to drink milk as adults without lactose intolerance. That change clearly took thousands of years to occur as one generation of species replaces another. One genetic type has to survive better or have more babies. That process of replacement takes hundreds or thousands of generations. So you don't see evolution over your lifetime, even if the change were slight.

If you compare us to our closest relatives, chimpanzees, the changes are significant. It took 5 to 6 million years. No biologist has any expectation that monkeys would change into anything but monkeys over our lifetime.

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