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You and your 6 million year old cousin

Humans' propensity for war and peace has genetic precursors.
Chimp eatingEnlarge
Toni tastes cake on his 50th birthday at the Tierpark Hellabrunn zoo in Munich on Nov. 22, 2011. (Sven Hoppe/AFP/Getty Images)

BOSTON — A new study finds that chimps like to keep the peace.

"The interest in community concern that is highly developed in us humans and forms the basis for our moral behavior is deeply rooted — it can also be observed in our closest relatives," concluded researcher Claudia Rudolf von Rohr.

But according to a 2010 study, chimps also express “a propensity for human-like warfare.” They annex territory, patrol regions, and murder for land and resources.    

Another study found, “Initial comparisons confirm that chimpanzees are our closest relatives, sharing 99 percent of our DNA. Gorillas come a close second with 98 percent, and orangutans third with a 97 percent share,” reported the BBC on a Gorilla genome study. 

The lesson here: President Obama, Albert Einstein, and you share behavioral patterns that determine social dynamics with primates that throw their feces (but only sometimes).

If this kind of stuff interests you, check out your ancient African cousins at the Smithsonian’s human evolution exhibition. It asks, “What does it mean to be human?” No doubt there are few answers there, too.

More from GlobalPost: Rwanda Now: Gorillas in our midst

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/africa-emerges/you-and-your-6-million-year-old-cousin

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