What does someone mean when they say that humans closest relatives are Chimpanzees? I don’t remember ever jumping in a car and driving a few hours to visit a bunch of chimpanzees for Thanksgiving.
It actually means that humans DNA is closer to Chimpanzees than to any other animal. The first thing we need to know to help us understand how our closest animal relatives are chimpanzees is what DNA is.
DNA or Deoxyribonucleic Acid is something that is located inside all cells that dictates how that animal will grow. The DNA includes all the biological information about how tall or short you will be; what color your hair and eyes will be; and information about if you will be a boy or girl.
DNA are the building blocks of life.
DNA is inside of the cells that make up skin, hair, bones, muscles, and everything that we are. From the moment that an animal is first conceived it already has it’s DNA that will direct how and what it will become.
How Close is Human and Chimpanzee DNA?
Scientists have done some research and have determined that humans and chimpanzees share a surprising 98.8% of our DNA. That is practically all of it, but apparently enough to make humans and chimpanzees as different as we are.
One result of that small difference in DNA is that humans have a larger and more developed brain. In addition, humans physical appearance is very different – being taller, and less hairy among other things.
Scientists Classify Chimpanzees Closer to Humans Than Other Animals
Not only do humans and chimpanzees share a lot of similar DNA, but they are also the most similar in terms of physical appearance and traits. These similarities have caused scientists to put them as the closest animal to humans in the classification of all forms of life.
This close grouping of the two can be seen in the Classification System of Life. Here are the scientific names of the two species:
Kingdom: Animalia Animalia
Phylum: Chordata Chordata
Class: Mammalia Mammalia
Order: Primates Primates
Family: Hominidae Hominidae
Genus: Homo Pan
Species: H. sapiens Pan troglodytes
Now, the next time you hear someone say that chimpanzees are humans closest relative you will know what they are talking about and you won’t have to start worrying about a long car trip.