Study identifies common ancestor of chimpanzees, bonobos | The Daily Star
05:43 PM, February 27, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:52 PM, February 27, 2016

Study identifies common ancestor of chimpanzees, bonobos

Scientists have revealed a common ancestor of all chimpanzees and bonobos from their DNA analysis.

The original chimpanzee, or genetic “Adam,” a biblical reference which now sits atop the family tree, lived more than 1 million years ago, reports UPI.

"The trees in chimpanzees and bonobos are very deep, which fits with the idea that males and females mate with each other more indiscriminately," said Pille Hallast, a geneticist at Leicester.

A section of the Y chromosome passed from fathers to sons among a group of chimps, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans has been traced by scientists at the University of Leicester. They have also traced the mitochondrial DNA that passed from mothers to their offspring.

Researchers managed to fill out the genealogical tree and place a genetic Adam at the top following the analysis, and published their findings in the journal Genome Research.

Pille Hallast, also the lead study author, said in a press release that the ancestor of a Y-chromosome family tree is sometimes called “Y-chromosomal Adam”.

For humans, the genetic Adam is 200,000 years old, whereas in case of gorillas the Adam is only 100,000 years old.

"The Y chromosome tree for gorillas is very shallow, which fits with the idea that very few male gorillas -- alpha males -- father the offspring within groups," explained Hallast.

"By contrast, the trees in chimpanzees and bonobos are very deep, which fits with the idea that males and females mate with each other more indiscriminately," he added.

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