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Why do humans dominate the earth?

New research about the differences between people and apes misses the point

Pedro Ynterian, President of the Great Apes Project, at a sanctuary for apes near Sao Paulo, Brazil Getty Images/Photo by AFP Contributor

Why do humans dominate the earth?

A researcher from the University of Notre Dame recently used an unusual tactic to attempt to show that humans and apes descended from a common ancestor. Evolutionists usually support the theory of common ancestry by studying the similarities between humans and apes, not the dissimilarities. But in a paper published in the Journal of Anthropological Research, primatologist Agustin Fuentes said looking at the “critical differences” show humans as distinctive, not unique.

But those very differences clearly demonstrate God created man one of a kind from the very beginning, according to Nathaniel Jeanson, a research biologist with Answers in Genesis. God gave the responsibility to fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion over it to man alone, and only man has done so.

Fuentes credited evolutionary processes like random mutations and natural selection for giving humans “a collaborative and imaginative capacity for creativity.” He said this evolving capacity for group creativity allowed humans to learn how to use fire and to develop new modes of teaching and learning that enabled them to dominate the world. But those abilities merely show we are just a little bit more evolved specimen.

Whether the differences between humans and animals show differences of kind or of degree poses one of the big questions of Darwinism, Jeanson told me. Fuentes attempted to say they indicate matters of degree but, “chimps don’t build jets, or do science, or write poetry. The gaps between us are far too large to say that humans are not unique,” Jeanson said.

Evolutionists look at humans and chimpanzees as “kissing cousins,” he explained, based on genome sequencing research from 2005. Those studies compared human and chimpanzee genomes and found a 98 percent identical match. But the studies ignore the fact that chunks of human DNA do not match anything in chimpanzee DNA and vice versa, said Jeanson, “But that never makes the news.”

When researchers factor in those differences, he said “we are somewhere in the ballpark of 300 million to 400 million DNA differences away from a chimpanzee.”

Considering humans number over 7 billion people who have spread across the entire planet and have conquered every continent, a feat accomplished by no animal, the Genesis mandate is playing out, Jeanson said: “We are unique, no other species has dominated like we have.”

Urquhart Castle beside Loch Ness in Scotland

Urquhart Castle beside Loch Ness in Scotland iStock.com/Jule_Berlin

Farewell to Nessie

Scientists may put tales of the Loch Ness monster to rest this month when an international team of researchers embarks on an expedition to unlock the mysteries that lurk beneath the murky depths of Loch Ness, the famed Scottish lake rumored to hide a gigantic sea monster, affectionately known as Nessie.

“Whenever a creature moves through its environment, it leaves behind tiny fragments of DNA from skin, scales, feathers, fur, feces and urine,” Neil Gemmell, lead researcher, said in a statement. The team will sample and sequence DNA remnants in the water and attempt to identify and gather data on all life in the lake.

Reports of a supposed Loch Ness monster go back to the sixth century but became widespread with the first purported photograph of the aquatic creature in 1933. Gemmell said it will surprise him if they find any DNA sequences similar to what one would expect from a large, extinct marine reptile, but added, “large fish, like catfish and sturgeons, have been suggested as possible explanations for the monster myth, and we can very much test that idea and others.” —J.B.

Urquhart Castle beside Loch Ness in Scotland

Urquhart Castle beside Loch Ness in Scotland iStock.com/Jule_Berlin

History revealed

A new excavation by the Archeological Park of Pompeii recently uncovered the remains of a man who died fleeing the cataclysmic volcanic there in 79 A.D. It is the first discovery at the Regio V site.

The upper body of the skeleton lies buried under a large stone, which crushed the man’s thorax. His skull has yet to be discovered. The park said it appears the man fled during the initial eruption, but a discovered tibia infection suggests he had difficulty escaping. Officials estimate he was older than 30.

Massimo Osanna, general director of the site, called the discovery “an exceptional find” that “contributes toward an increasingly accurate picture of the history and civilization of the age.”

The excavations within Regio V are an attempt to stabilize and protect that area. The efforts are part of the Great Pompeii Project, estimated to last two years and cost $9.9 million. —Allison Mazzarella

Holding a tick’s foot to the fire

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently ran a series of experiments to see if clothing treated with the insecticide permethrin, an irritant to ticks, could prevent bites. Although consumers can already purchase permethrin treatments, the CDC has tested its effectiveness only on the blacklegged tick. The study, published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, tested the chemical on the lone star and dog tick.

The scientists found that ticks that came into contact with permethrin fell right off textiles oriented vertically to mimic a pant leg or shirt sleeve. “All tested tick species and life stages experienced irritation—the ‘hot-foot’ effect—after coming into contact with permethrin-treated clothing,” Lars Eisen, senior author of the study, said in a statement. The researchers also found that after five minutes of exposure to the chemical, the insects lost normal movement and the ability to bite. —J.B.

Single injection stops chemotherapy pain in mice

Every year, 1.7 million people receive a cancer diagnosis and an estimated 39 percent of cancer patients experience pain in the course of the disease and its treatment.

Now, researchers at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine have discovered that a single injection of a naturally occurring protein called AIBP can block chemotherapy pain in mice for as long as two months with no side effects.

The protein prevented and reversed inflammation and certain changes in cells that occur with pain processing. Unlike opioids that just mask and dampen symptoms, the new treatment blocks the underlying cellular mechanism that causes pain. It also avoids the pleasure feelings produced by opioids that can lead to addiction. The research appeared in the journal Cell Reports. —J.B.

Julie Borg

Julie is a WORLD contributor who covers science and intelligent design. A clinical psychologist and a World Journalism Institute graduate, Julie resides in Dayton, Ohio.

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