The Chimp, the Cabbage and Me

How similar are we to the apes?

See this:

Previously, it was thought to be 98% – 99% similar, but the figure has now been downgraded to just 95% based on latest research on the genetic codes in humans and chimps. 

And how similar is our DNA compared to that of the humble cabbage?

About 57%, I read. To put it bluntly, eating cabbage is like eating a human with severe mental disabilities.

See this:

Mouse and man share 99% genetic similarity – including the genes to make a tail. 
Humans and mice shared a common ancestor about 100 million years ago.
A mouse has about the same number of genes as a man. 
Due to preserved genetic similarities, even after 530 million years of separation, introduced human genes can operate within the Fruit Fly genome.
The nematode worm shares many genes with human beings, including the genes to make muscle.
Puffer fish and Zebra fish are so genetically similar to human beings that their genomes are being deciphered as ‘model’ organisms for research.
The California purple sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) genome has 23,300 genes, of which 7077 are shared with human beings.
The dog genome also reveals many shared genes and diseases with humans; about 94% of the dog genome shows conserved synteny with mice, rats and humans.
Birds and human beings have three very similar genes affecting blunt limb buds.
Genetic similarity between humans and chimpanzees is between 96% and 99.4% 
‘LUCA’, the ‘Last Universal Common Ancestor’ existed around four billion years ago. We are probably descended from a mud-burrowing worm.
The common ancestor of all placental mammals was probably a small nocturnal shrew-like creature, snuffling about more than 80 million years ago. 
Dogs, goldfish, and ferns have more chromosomes than human beings.
75% of our genetic make-up is the same as a pumpkin – 57% the same as a cabbage.
The split between plants and animals occurred about 1.6 billion years ago.
Around 100 genes in flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana (Thale Cress) are closely related to human disease genes; and Arabidopsis has most of its genes in common with all other plants on Earth.

And pray tell, what do humans do and learn from this knowledge?

A. Exploit those who are similar to us, do experiments on them to discover ways to preserve the human race!!

B. Realise that we are so similar, that their suffering is also our suffering, and therefore, be kind, merciful and compassionate to them. Learn to live and let live. Do not destroy lives for whatever reason. It doesn’t pay.    

The choice is ours.

On another note, a friend of mine said he took home a different message after watching the Planet of the Apes and he insists he is right.  He said it just goes to show that even animals can be as bad as we are if they reach our level of intelligence. 

So, does this mean that we must control evolution such that none of us reaches that level of intelligence when we begin to destroy those weaker than us?


I don’t think so. I think it’s more important that man (and woman) recognise that we are all capable of doing evil, yet we must exercise enough compassion NOT to resort to it. To do this, we need the brain and the heart (which some people refer to as the soul or the mind) to work together. 

Whatever we want to do to the chimpanzee, the guinea pig or the mud-burrowing worm, we need to put ourselves in its place and and feel as it does. Then, we ask ourselves, should I still do it?

That would be enough. 






2 responses to “The Chimp, the Cabbage and Me”

  1. Just watched the Rise of the Planet of the Apes. May it teach us to be more compassionate. I remember in one episode of Harry Potter, Harry was in moral dilemma and he said to Dumbledore that he sees no difference between himself and the bad guys. And Dumbledore answered that the difference is how one chooses to be – the side of the good or the side of the bad. Movie wisdom, hehehe.

  2. Anonymous

    This is a legendary story by the Cherokees of the Two Wolves in us:

    An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life…

    He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

    One wolf is evil — he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.

    The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

    This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too."

    The grandchildren thought about it for a minute and then one grandchild asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

    The old Cherokee simply replied: "The one that you feed".

    Yes all of us have two wolves inside us. Which wolf do you want to feed?

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