Humans Closest Relatives Are Chimpanzees!

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.

chimpanzees, humans, danWhat is DNA?

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, human

Our DNA tells what color our hair and eyes will be.

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.

dna, humans, chimpanzee

This close grouping of the two can be seen in the Classification System of Life.  Here are the scientific names of the two species:

                                 Humans                                  Chimpanzees

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.