The Relationship between Apes and Humans
Since scientists developed the ability to decode the genome and compare the genetic makeup of species, some people have been stunned to learn that about 98.5% of the genes in people and chimpanzees are identical. This finding means chimps are the closest living biological relatives to humans, but it does not mean that humans evolved from chimps. What it does indicate is that humans share a common ancestor with modern African apes (i.e., gorillas and chimpanzees), making us very, very distant cousins. We are therefore related to these other living primates, but we did not descend from them.
Modern humans differ from apes in many significant ways. Human brains are larger and more complex; people have elaborate forms of communication and culture; and people habitually walk upright, can manipulate very small objects, and can speak.