By comparing the new gorilla DNA sequence with reference genomes of humans, chimpanzees, orangutans and macaques, scientists have already made a few surprising insights into the crucial periods when we diverged into separate species.This is good because it means that the last common ancestor can be as far back as six to seven million. Does this make Sahelanthropus or Orrorin hominins? Not necessarily but now it is a more easily acceptable position..
For instance, the new genetic data bolster fossil evidence that gorillas split off as a separate species about 10 million years ago and that humans and chimps parted ways about 6 million years ago. Previous genetic evidence had seemed to point to a more recent split, prompting a contentious debate between genetics experts and fossil scholars, said Durbin, who leads the genome informatics group at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, England.
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