• Question: If we came from monkeys why aren't monkeys people too?

    Asked by leahdoyle123 to Angela, Gabriele, Karen, Maria, Shane on 13 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Gabriele De Chiara

      Gabriele De Chiara answered on 13 Nov 2013:

      Because we are not of the same specie. In other words, a monkey and a human cannot give birth to a child. Humans’ and monkeys’ DNA are different. So although we have evolved from primates we do not belong to the same specie.

    • Photo: Karen McCarthy

      Karen McCarthy answered on 13 Nov 2013:

      I know Leah, sometime I really have to wonder is my brother a human or monkey….the difference can be hard to tell!

      Apes and humans have a common ancestor, tracing back about 5 million years ago. Later, this species spilt into 2 different lineages, or groups of descendants, with humans evolving from one lineage, and great apes, such as gorillas and orangutan, developing from the other.
      So technically speaking, we’re not evolved from monkeys, but we share an ancestor with apes!

    • Photo: Shane Mc Guinness

      Shane Mc Guinness answered on 13 Nov 2013:

      Great question Leah and it’s one I wondered a lot about until I studied evolution in school and university.
      Basically evolution doesn’t happen to one individual or generation. Your genes make up who you are, but they don’t change from when you’re born. They only change when you pass them to your children and they pass them to their children and so on. And so people become slowly different. That’s how evolution works.
      Way back, millions of years ago, when monkeys or humans didn’t exist, something in between an ape (a big monkey) and a human existed. Then, for some reason we split and one group evolved separately and started living on their own. This meant that this group slowly became much different to the other. So, humans went one way in evolution and apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans) went the other way.
      Even though we look so different did you know we still share oer 99% of our genes with chimpanzees!? They’re our closest relatives in the animals kingdom!
      Did you also know that we share 50% of our genes with bananas! Seriously, you’re half banana!

    • Photo: Angela Stevenson

      Angela Stevenson answered on 13 Nov 2013:

      That’s correct, we re related to monkeys, but only through a very distant ancestor… for example we re a lot less related to monkeys than you, me, Shane, Karen and Gabriele are to each other. Great creative thinking Leah, it’s a good start to becoming a scientist 🙂