Exploring Our World

Similarities and Differences: Chimps and Humans

Textbook Quote:

“But all researchers agree on certain basic facts. We know, for example, that humans evolved from ancestors we share with other living primates such as chimpanzees and apes.”

Miller and Levine, Biology; 2000, p. 757

Let's put the hypothesized relationship between a chimp-like ancestor and humans to the test. In following the scientific method, we would attempt to falsify the hypothesis. In an attempt at falsifying it, we would look for differences between them. We never look for evidence to support what we already want to believe. Let's see how many differences we can find between them.

If the hypothesis is correct, there should be very few differences. The similarities should far out-weight the differences.

Let's examine the evidence:






Humans have white around their irises whereas chimpanzees usually have a dark brown color.


The human brain is three times larger than an ape of chimp brain.



              Chimp pelvis

                 Human pelvis


How they walk.



Chimpanzee teeth are much bigger than human teeth.

Besides those differences: nervous system, hair, hips, jaw, spine, chimps are two to three times stronger than humans, declarative language skills, human intelligence, the control of fire, human desire to teach, technological advancement, sociability, facial expression, diet, long-term relationships, etc.

So, if we were to test the hypothesis that humans evolved from a chimp-like ancestor; would we be looking for differences or similarities? The differences far out-weigh the similarities by about 10 to 1. Should scientists be looking for an alternative possibility?