Human, Gorilla DNA: Just 1.75% of It Is Different
Western lowland gorilla DNA decoded by scientists
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2012 10:04 AM CST
This undated image provided by San Diego Zoo Global shows a female western lowland gorilla named Kamilah, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in San Diego, Calif.   (AP Photo/San Diego Zoo Global)

(Newser) – In decoding the DNA of a western lowland gorilla, scientists made a discovery that may surprise you: Humans and gorillas differ in just 1.75% of their DNA, making our genomes more similar than previously thought. That percentage actually drops to 1.37% when compared to chimpanzees, our closest living relatives—but 15% of the time, gorilla DNA is actually more like human DNA than chimp DNA is, the Los Angeles Times reports. That "tells us that there are individual genes for which, if you want to find the closest sequence to humans, you won't necessarily look at chimpanzees. In a few cases, you'll look at gorillas," says a geneticist.

It took a 60-strong team five years to sequence the 20,962 genes, which belong to Kamilah, a 34-year-old gorilla at the San Diego Zoo. Other lessons learned: Gorillas became a separate species 10 million years ago, about 4 million years before humans split off from chimps—a finding that jibes with fossil evidence, but stands in contrast to previous genetic evidence, which had indicated a more recent separation. "That's significant," says an anthropologist. "There's an argument about early hominids—are they really our ancestors? This helps settle that. It shows it's possible."

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Mar 9, 2012 8:14 PM CST
"The Naked Ape" by Desmond Morris (1967) was written about the human species from the viewpoint of a professional Zoologist who had spent his life studying Primates (Gorillas, Chimpanzees and Orangutauns) It is ASTOUNDING the similarities in behavior he outlines, some things as simple as the Tallest ape rules as Alpha Male and older, virile Alpha Female dominates the matriarchy of a tribe, etc. Also explores biological differences such as- to bond for a decade or more to raise children the male is attracted to the FRONT of the female where her breasts/cleavage symbolize Rear End cleavage of a female primate. Why the Front is so important is the female puts the male in a trance with her beautiful face and EYES, the part of her you see best when you're engaged in reproductive activities- and what a sweet entrapment it is-
Mar 9, 2012 12:44 PM CST
The record weight belongs to a male named Phil, who weighed 388 kilograms (860 lb) and lived between 1941 and 1958 at the St. Louis Zoo. Phil's measurements were: height 1.7 metres (5.6 ft), bust 182 centimetres (72 in), neck 91.5 centimetres (36.0 in) and wrist 38 centimetres (15 in). He was weighed on a verified weight after an eight-week-long diet.[3] According to the late John Aspinall, a 550 lb (250 kg) male eastern lowland gorilla in his prime has the combined strength of 7–8 heavyweight Olympic weightlifters.[citation needed] It would be "funny" to throw a silver like "Phil" into a NFL lockeroom w/ the drug-using fools thinking they're such badasses. Funny also how Phil basically ate a helluva lotta bananas & bamboo shoots.
Mar 8, 2012 8:22 PM CST
When I read a story such as this I always think of the woman who had her face torn completely off by her girlfriend's chimpanzee. Since of hearing of the attack I wonder why did the chimp go after her face??? The incredible strength of chimps, and especially gorillas, reminds me it have been nothing for the chimp to snap her neck like a twig & paralyze her but he didn't. He went after the most expressive part of the human body - the face. FYI - an african lowland Silverback gorilla is at least 10x as strong as the strongest human.