Do humans and apes, and opossums share the same ancestors. Yes, of course.

Quora Question: Scientists keep saying that humans and apes share the same ancestors. Do they?

Answer: Yes, they do, because it’s a fact. Even if we’d never heard of Darwin, the discovery that our genome lines up perfectly with those of the other apes, even down to the vestigial viral fragments makes it obvious. And if it didn’t, the fact that our #2 chromosome is clearly a fusion of two ape chromosomes that occurred through a relatively recent copy is proof, all by itself, that we are apes. (C Stuart Hardwick, Scifi author and science nerd.)

Quora never seems to tire of writing about Evolution. And I never tire of reading them. What follows is mostly from the Quora Digest, in my ordering with a few words of my own.

Human ancestors diversified from the rest of the great apes about 6 million years ago, in Africa. The apes diversified from a common ancestor with the monkeys about 30 million years ago. All apes and monkeys diversified from a common population called Anthropoids which lived through the late Cretaceous, and took advantage of the decline of the terrestrial dinosaurs at that time.

The prosimians, anthropoids, and all the other clades of mammals split off from an ancestral population that lived alongside the dinosaurs, and it in turn split off from the marsupials at least 125 million years ago.

The earliest known placental looked something like the one above, and the earliest known marsupial below was pretty similar. The placentals, marsupials, and a number of other mammalian species no longer living split from the egg laying monotremes, the third of the three existing mammalian groups, about 180 million years ago. I’m very familiar with the opossum and before I knew what good neighbors they are I used to trap and kill them. No more. Now I leave them under my shed, and on my metal fence. Any killing urge I still possess is directed entirely to the cockroaches and squirrels, that we house, along with termites, in great abundance.
The largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere is the opossum. It comprises 103 or more species in 19 genera. All these animals (which led to us) split off from a common ancestor with reptiles about 300 millions years ago. And from a common ancestor with amphibians about 365 million years ago. And from bony fishes about 400 million years ago. And from cartilaginous fishes about 450 million years ago. And from jawless fishes about 550 million years ago.
Before that came worms, and sponges, and bacteria, and fungi, and the acheobacteria that gave Earth its oxygen atmosphere and the chemical precursors to life and…and yes, I’m leaving out quite a lot, not for lack of evidence, but for lack of time and space….

I’l leave you with just two of my own conclusions to all this. And a great thankyou to Quora who never seems to get enough of Evolution. I’m the same way.

Evolution happened—and happens. The only way to deny it is to ignore the whole of the natural world—to ignore the creation itself. If that’s not blasphemous, then there is no such thing. Evolution happened and is still happening, and we can prove it to a reasonable person’s satisfaction.

In the case of God we don’t know yet if “it” ever happened, or if it’s still happening. Sure we would like to believe it did and is still, but as of this time there are no proofs of the one or the other. And not to know if there is a god, and to admit that one doesn’t know, is not blasphemous.


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