Anthropologist Jeffrey Schwartz advances his controversial but remarkably insightful theory that our closest living relatives are orangutans, not chimpanzees or other African apes. }We've all heard that chimpanzees are our closest relatives – that, in fact, they share 98 per cent of their genes with us. But what evidence supports these often-repeated commonplaces? Very little, concludes physical anthropologist Jeffrey Schwartz. In his keenly insightful demolition of conventional wisdom on the family relationships between apes and humans, Schwartz provides a fresh examination of fossil evidence, modern anatomy and physiology, and DNA. He argues that it is not chimpanzees or other African apes that are humankind's closest cousins, but Asian orangutans. The result is a compelling challenge to what we think we know about the origins of humans, and about the pursuit of science.
In this thoroughly revised edition of The Red Ape , Schwartz analyzes the myriad fossil discoveries made since publication of the first edition. He reveals the embarrassing fact that orangutan and human teeth are so similar that they have commonly been misidentified for each other in the fossil record, even by experts. New material provocatively addresses whether molecules (DNA) are more reliable than fossils and anatomy in assessing evolutionary relationships. Numerous new plates and drawings illustrate the text.
Jeffrey Schwartz is professor of physical anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh and a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History. He is the author of The Red Ape, What the Bones Tell Us, and Skeleton Keys.