Could the orang-utan be our closest relative?


By Graham Lawton Editorial: In praise of scientific heresy THESE days, we tend to accept without question that humans are “the third chimpanzee”. The term, coined by author Jared Diamond, refers to the notion that our closest relatives are the two chimpanzee species – the common chimp and the bonobo. But could we actually be “the second orang” – more closely related to orang-utans than chimps? That is the controversial claim made this week by Jeffrey Schwartz of the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and John Grehan of the Buffalo Museum of Science in New York (Journal of Biogeography, DOI:
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