Still a very cool picture, and amazing to see the orangutan learn by observation like that.
I think most humans could learn how to spear a fish without instruction after enough trial and error.
Our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, is stronger than a human but can throw a spear at about 20 mph. A human athlete can throw a spear at 90 mph.
Orangutans can learn how to throw faster but they cannot change their anatomy, although a spear thrower could help.
The idea is that humans evolved from a common ancestor, and retained more of the DNA that orangutans now have than chimps did.
> and [humans] retained more of the DNA that orangutans now have than chimps did.
That can't possibly be the actual argument. If humans shared more genetically with orangutans than with chimps, we would conclude that humans had diverged from orangutans -- not chimps -- regardless of whether that were true, because the genetic distance is all we have to address the question with.
If I understand correctly you are saying "distance" is proportional to time by definition, and what I was reading seems to say that is not strictly the case.
"Theoretically, orangutans have had more time to accumulate genetic variation compared to humans and chimpanzees, which split into their own lineages 5 million to 6 million years ago. One would expect at least twice as much variation in the orangutan genome. However, in the study, a comparison of the three genomes shows that humans and chimpanzees have lost or gained new genes at twice the rate of orangutans."
"there are many similarities to the human and orangutan genome, much more similar than human to chimp, in fact. They suspect that could be because humans split from a common ancestor with chimps, of which both species had the same ancestral orangutan DNA. What remains curious is that humans and chimpanzees have evolved separately for millions of years. In the process, chimps for mysterious reasons lost some orangutan DNA that humans retained."
> We therefore conclude that human is closer to orangutan than to chimpanzee in 0.8% of the genome, and chimpanzee is closest to orangutan in 0.6% of the genome.
That looks like humans are overwhelmingly more similar to chimpanzees, and chimps to humans, than either is to orangutans, no?
Isn't the current consensus that humans and chimps diverged from a common ancestor. Not that human diverged from chimps?
Plus writing allows trade to occur because we can keep verifiable accounts. This leads to specialization and trade where efficient tools propagate really fast.
Seeing written language and trade in any other species would mean they’d evolve their technology real fast.
Since the discovery of Darwinian evolution, we've understood humanity to be just one more outflow of natural processes (albeit one having its day in the sun). The search for a specific marker of human uniqueness continued for a good century after that, but is fizzling out as we understand more about the nonhuman world, and as the intellectual influence of monotheistic religions wanes. We're a species. We emerged. We'll go away. No essential uniqueness, no destiny.
But as humans are complex systems that are themselves outcomes of a wider complex system, there's not going to be a marker or essence (or 'definition' as the parent put it) of that uniqueness. Rather there's a one or more characteristically human emergent properties and capacities. No new version of 'tool-using' or 'bipedal' or related substitutes for the discarded Christian soul will win out.
No soul, no essence, no destiny. Just one amongst millions of evolutionary branches whose unplanned evolutionary future will play itself out.
Yeah, he used a human stick and needs practise. All those people who can build their own cars and drive without lessons may know throw stones
Me, I'm gonna wait till the second generation of Orangutan's start copying their parents. If they can use this new way of supplementing their diet, we have a real winner.
In fact, if you subscribe to the (well-supported) idea that any living being can be hierarchically categorised by the traits it has, humans are still monkeys, in the same way that all birds are still dinosaurs. Personally, this is one of my favourite facts.
I wonder what life would've been like if human-level intelligence had evolved from dinosaurs instead. As I understand it, birds have several features superior to what we've inherited.
That said, it would be rather dishonest to claim that humans aren't one of the most successful species on the planet. I just hope we're clever enough not to cause our own extinction very soon, but it's not looking good.