Re: Culture/Flintknapping

Jesse S. Cook III (jcook@AWOD.COM)
Fri, 30 Aug 1996 08:37:25 -0400

On 29 August 1996, someone wrote to me as follows:

>Jared D. argues that chimps and humans are "just" diff. species of
>chimp--which I do NOT agree with, FWIW. But how diff. were Australopiths
>and friends from apes?

I assume you are referring to Diamond's book *The Third Chimpanzee*; I
haven't read it, so I can't comment on what he argues.

I can't believe, however, that your "abstract" of his arguement is anywhere
near accurate. Anybody who knows anything about taxonomy knows that
chimpanzees are not only a different species from humans but a different
genus as well.

On the other hand, chimpanzees and humans had a common ancestor sometime
between five and eight million years ago. That's a relatively short time ago.

Also, humans and chimpanzees only differ in about one percent of over three
billion DNA bases. How many of these differences are meaningful--how many
of them really contribute to the physical and mental differences between
humans and chimpanzees, we don't know.

As for the difference between Australopithecines and apes: the former were
bipedal, the latter were not; beyond that, I really couldn't say.

Jesse S. Cook III E-Mail:
Post Office Box 40984 or
Charleston, SC 29485 USA

"Our attitude toward others is not determined by who *they* are;
it is determined by who *we* are."