Evolutionary biologists are interested in understanding how humans fit into the history of
life and how the processes of evolution have shaped us. Much scientific effort goes into
studying human evolution, and as a result, our understanding of this area is moving forward
rapidly, as new evidence emerges and hypotheses are tested, confirmed, discarded, or modified.
The location of our very own twig: Humans on the tree of life
This tree is based on morphological and genetic data. Chimpanzees and
humans form a clade
with DNA sequences
that differ by only 1%. This genetic similarity made it hard
to figure out exactly how these two primates are related, but recent
genetic studies have strongly suggested that chimpanzees and humans are
each other's closest living relative.