McIlroy brilliant in British win

first_imgHOYLAKE, England – Both performances were brilliant, by any measure, but after that broad stroke the comparisons wear thin rather quickly. Where Tiger Woods picked apart a parched layout at the 2006 Hoylake Open playing small ball, Rory McIlroy blasted over, through and around whatever defenses Royal Liverpool could muster. Where Tiger dissected Hoylake with a surgeon’s touch eight years ago on his way to his last claret jug, Rory bludgeoned the links, if not the field, into submission to claim his first Open triumph. It was all the byproduct of a different course and two dramatically different players. Like he did at 2011 U.S. Open and PGA Championship a year later, McIlroy added to his major legacy. The 25-year-old now stands one green jacket away from the career Grand Slam, one smashed drive at a time. Much will be made of the Northern Irishman’s week with the putter – he was fourth in the field in total putts (110) – but this masterpiece was powered by that much-maligned Nike driver and a fearless game plan. He ranked first in driving distance (327 yard average) and 20th in fairways hit for the week, and will remember the bomb that split the fairway at the 16th hole as he clung to a two-stroke lead over Sergio Garcia that set up a two-putt birdie. Open Championship full-field scores Open Championship: Articles, videos and photos He would only need to par the last two to become the third player in the history of the game – joining Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus – to win the first three legs of the Grand Slam on or before his 25th birthday. “I’m glad I gave myself enough of a cushion today because I had a lot of guys coming after me,” said McIlroy, who closed with a 71 to add an unexpected level of intrigue to what was shaping up to be a formality. The challenge that few expected ultimately came from Garcia, whose colorful history at the Open Championship reaches all the way back to that canary yellow scripting at the ’06 championship. El Nino set himself up for another painful also-ran finish with a 12-footer for eagle at the par-5 10th hole to get to within two strokes. And the man who once opined that he was playing against more than the field was once again negotiating with the divine. “Please be good. Please, please, please,” he pleaded as his approach bounced short of the 11th green. For a time both golf ball and golf gods listened, like when he airmailed his approach into the grandstand right of the 12th green and watched as his ball caromed out of the seats and onto the fringe. Karma, however, will only give so much. At the 15th hole the Spaniard found the bunker right of the green and needed two swipes to extricate himself. The golf gods had stopped listening. “I tried as hard as I could and just got a little too cute (at No. 15),” said Garcia, who closed with a 66 to tie for second place with Rickie Fowler for his fourth top-5 finish in the game’s oldest championship. “When you’re in a position like that you can’t make any mistakes and there was a lot of pressure.” It was McIlroy who was favored by the golf gods on Sunday. As he did on Day 3 when things became touch and go, McIlroy manhandled Hoylake’s closing loop. His birdie at the 16th hole moved him to 17 under and the engraver began to warm up. By the time he found the fairway at the last the R-O-R-Y were being cut into the silver chalice. A two-putt par at the last was all he needed for a two-stroke victory and the title that has always meant the most to him. “I want to be that person who goes on and wins majors regularly,” McIlroy said. “After this I want to think ahead and win as many events as I can.” As McIlroy studied the claret jug, amazed that his name had already been etched into history, he scrolled by Woods’ name. Although they took vastly different paths to victory the connection was undeniable – they had arrived at the same destination.last_img read more

Waste Management extends Phoenix Open sponsorship

first_imgPHOENIX – Waste Management has extended its Phoenix Open sponsorship deal 10 years through the 2025 tournament. Waste Management, the PGA Tour and the host Thunderbirds announced the extension Thursday. Houston-based Waste Management has sponsored the tournament since 2010. The event is Jan. 29-Feb. 1 at TPC Scottsdale.last_img

Marathon day prompts Spieth to put old putter back in bag

first_imgFORT WORTH, Texas – Superman never went with a backup cape, Thor never had a spare hammer in his trunk and Bobby Jones didn’t bench his iconic putter, dubbed Calamity Jane, for a newer model. Well, Jones did bench the original Calamity Jane, which he won three majors using, because of wear and tear, but the parallels remain and at least partially explain why Jordan Spieth nearly broke social media last week when he benched his trusty Scotty Cameron for a shiny new model. “I haven’t been comfortable standing over it for a little while so I just wanted something that’s a new look,” he said last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson when asked about the switch. Like most love stories, this one has a happy ending. Or, at least it was on Wednesday at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational when Spieth acknowledged that he’s going back to his old putter for this week’s event, where he’s the defending champion. With the new model, Spieth posted rounds of 68-75 to miss the cut for the second consecutive week for just the second time in his remarkable career. Spieth lost 1 1/2 strokes to the field last week according to the strokes gained: putting statistic and rolled in a grand total of 39 feet of putts on Friday. By comparison, on his way to victory last year at Colonial he gained 9.12 strokes on the field and rolled in 151 feet of putts during Round 4. Yet what Spieth didn’t find in his search for putting answers with the new model, a Scotty Cameron T5W Tour mallet, he said he discovered with improved alignment. “I just lost a little bit of the feel that I had with the putter I’ve been using for however many years,” he said on Wednesday. “But what it did was now I feel a lot more comfortable with my alignment and feel like I got my set up back to where I want it and I have that feel.” Spieth explained it wasn’t necessarily his play last week at the Nelson as much as it was a marathon day with caddie Michael Greller on Sunday at Dallas National that prompted his switch back. Dean & DeLuca Invitational: Articles, photos and videos “I played 36 holes on Sunday and had a couple great putting rounds,” he said. “That kind of made the decision that it was time, and I felt comfortable back on short- and mid-range putts with my alignment.” What didn’t factor into his decision to go back to his old gamer was a general outcry on social and traditional media following his switch. Despite three consecutive days of armchair quarterbacking and uninformed hot takes, Spieth said he was largely indifferent to the second-guessing. “I’ve been off social media for a while and media in general,” Spieth said. “I’m not even really sure what the reaction was other than the players on the putting green, which was significant. Like, ‘Why in the world are you switching?’ Which is probably what it was elsewhere.” That would be the Cliffs Notes version, and whether Spieth rediscovers his magical putting touch he should at least be applauded for accomplishing what so many others find so difficult – ignoring the noise. It’s a measure of Spieth’s historic putting prowess that news of his switch prompted so much reaction. He’s completed each of the last three season ranked inside the top 20 on the PGA Tour in putting; and ranked second and ninth, respectively, in strokes gained: putting the last two years after a dozen starts. He’s currently 52nd in that category. Although there are plenty of players who would like to have Spieth’s current putting “problems,” he does have a victory and five top-10 finishes, when the bar has been set so high any fluctuation, however incremental, will be picked apart. “Every player goes through it,” said Ryan Palmer, Spieth’s partner at the Zurich Classic last month. “He’s trying to get back to where he was. He’s one of the best putters on Tour, there is no doubt about that. I’m not really too worried about him struggling.” It’s safe to say Spieth isn’t overly concerned with either his current putting line or his decision to try something new last week in Dallas. Nor did the 23-year-old seem interested in the notion that he and his old putter have some sort of manifest destiny relationship, like Jones had with Calamity Jane. Instead, Spieth remembers a teen-aged tale of why he put the Scotty Cameron 009 into his bag in the first place. “I used to putt extremely well with a [Scotty Cameron] Teryllium with a different neck before that one. I switched because Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy used the putter I use now way back when,” he said. “I thought the putter was really cool. I didn’t know if it was the best for me or not, but I thought the putter was cool so I started using it. That was when I was probably 15, 16.” It wasn’t some mystic path that led Spieth to start using his old putter, only an adolescent’s interests. Just as his decision to switch things up last week wasn’t the seismic competitive shift it was made out to be, only an attempt to change things up in search of a different result.last_img read more

Randall’s Rant: Name your terms, Juli

first_imgWEST DES MOINES, Iowa – On second thought, it is time for the LPGA to form a Solheim Cup task force. It’s time to bring together the best and brightest minds in the American women’s game to figure out a way to persuade Juli Inkster to captain the United States team for a third consecutive time. Inkster sounded guardedly open to a possible return when asked after the Americans defeated Europe 16½ to 11½ Sunday, a victory that made Inkster and Judy Rankin the only captains to lead the Americans to victory in back-to-back Solheim Cups, but . . . “I don’t want to go there,” Inkster said. “I would love to do it, but I think there are other people in line that deserve the chance, but I’ll be there with some hugs.” Now that’s a problem that needs to be immediately addressed. No offense to Pat Hurst and Sherri Steinhauer, major champions with winning records in multiple Solheim Cup appearances, logical as potential next ups, but Solheim Cup stock takes a big dive if Inkster doesn’t return. Dottie Pepper would bring star power, if somehow, some way, she was in consideration, which seems highly doubtful, given the hard criticism she has delivered on this generation of American players, and her insistence that her interests continue to lie elsewhere. Nancy Lopez would also bring star power, if she’s interested in a return engagement as captain, after being an assistant to Inkster the last two Solheim Cups, a role that has kept Lopez in touch with today’s players, but she isn’t in that line Inkster’s talking about. Inkster is specially qualified and gifted to keep growing the Solheim Cup’s brand. Gerina Piller said it Sunday. Inkster’s a “freaking rock star.” Solheim Cup: Articles, photos and videos On the Solheim Cup stage, she really is. Inkster’s the total package. She has the record and resume as one of the all-time great American players. She’s smart, tough and personable, with a heavy dose of good humor, traits that work in the team room and the media center. At 57, she’s still an active player, a mother of two grown daughters who connects so powerfully with the age groups playing the Solheim Cup. The Solheim Cup’s just better with Inkster out front. The American players are better, too, and not just inside the ropes. Inkster’s such a great model of how American players should approach the game. So, the challenge here is persuading Inkster that the American effort needs her again, the women’s game needs her again. And that’s the thing: As a Solheim Cup captain, Inkster would sit in a uniquely influential position within women’s golf, a position of potentially expanding influence. She sounded Sunday like she could grow into that expanded role. We heard it with her advocacy of the women’s game, with her outspoken disappointment in the slights she sees women enduring. “I’m going to say it right now, and I probably shouldn’t say it because I already said it, but I just don’t understand how all these companies get away with supporting PGA Tour events and not supporting the LPGA,” Inkster said. “It makes me a little upset, because I think we’ve got a great product. We deserve our due.” There’s more good that Inkster can do for American women with two more years in a leadership role, a role she could take to yet another level. Ultimately, this will come down to a vote. The last three Solheim Cup captains, the LPGA commissioner, the LPGA president and the chairman of the LPGA Board of Directors will vote on who will be the next captain. It seems like a no-brainer, if somebody can convince Inkster she isn’t taking someone else’s turn. That’s the challenge getting her back.last_img read more

One year after 59, Thomas a more confident champion

first_imgHONOLULU – In some sports, it’s called “the zone,” that mode where the mind lets go and the artist takes over. At last year’s Sony Open, Justin Thomas spent four days fearlessly rewriting the record books on his way to a commanding victory that completed the Aloha Slam following his triumph at the year’s first event in Maui. Thomas’ statistical line from the ’17 Sony Open is filthy. He became the eighth player to shoot a sub-60 round on the PGA Tour on Day 1, then set 36- and 72-hole Tour scoring records (he only tied the circuit’s 54-hole record). He went wire-to-wire and won by seven strokes. It was effortless, flawless and, yes, maybe even a little mindless, particularly for a player who freely admits that there are weeks on Tour when his mind is consumed by all the things sports psychologists say are performance killers. Weeks like last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where Thomas finished 22nd out of 34 players. “When I was in 30th place last week, I wasn’t exactly feeling great. I’m being perfectly honest. It’s such a weird game. I was embarrassed,” he admitted on Wednesday at Waialae Country Club. “I was just in a very emotional state last week, and there’s weeks that I’m like that, and there’s weeks that I’m not. Obviously, I want to get rid of it, but just every little thing really just pissed me off.” Thomas would never be considered stoic, and he is one of the circuit’s most out-going players on social media; it stands to reason that there is a correlation between his play and the natural ebb and flow of his emotions. Last year’s opening round in Honolulu is perhaps the most obvious example. Thomas began his day with an eagle at the par-4 10th hole and made the turn at 6 under par. He added birdies at Nos. 1 and 2 and arrived at the par-5 ninth, his last hole of the day, needing an eagle to shoot 59. From 14 feet, Thomas calmly rolled in the eagle attempt and then froze. Sony Open in Hawaii: Articles, photos and videos “I didn’t really know what to do because I’ve never had a putt on Thursday that meant that much,” he said. “I didn’t know how to react, and I didn’t know what to do. I was more worried about trying to make the putt than anything.” By comparison, Jordan Spieth, who was paired with Thomas for that historic round, began jumping around the green and high-fiving everyone in the group, which included Daniel Berger. “I might have fist pumped harder than he did,” Spieth said. “I think he was kind of in the zone. I don’t think he knew where he was at the time.” To the point, it’s telling that Thomas’ recollections of that round are largely generalized, with his highlights limited to his eagle putt at the ninth and the celebration that followed. Spieth, who shot 65 that day, can offer a slightly more detailed analysis. “The most surprising thing was that I was like a stroke and a half or something better tee to green than he was that round, and I got beat by like seven shots,” Spieth laughed. For the record, Spieth’s proximity to the hole for the first round at Waialae last year was 18 feet, 4 inches, compared to Thomas’ 25 feet, 7 inches. But that’s left-brain stuff, and that’s not Thomas. When he’s playing his best, like he did for the vast majority of last season, Thomas is more artist than alchemist. In many ways, his learning about what produces his best golf was a big part of his breakthrough in 2017, when he won his first major at the PGA Championship and collected both the Player of the Year Award and FedExCup. Thomas can be intense, and after watching players like Spieth, his contemporary growing up, enjoy early success at the highest level, Thomas had a tendency to press the issue. Last season, however, he emerged a more patient player. “I know that I don’t have to go out and play this perfect round,” he said. “I know that if I go shoot 1 under the first round at this tournament, that I still have a chance to win. I know that I’m not going to win every tournament.” Thomas is hardly unique on this front. Most young players not named Spieth go through a learning process, but few emerge with as much momentum as JT did last year following his Hawaiian sweep. It’s not a stretch to consider Thomas’ Sony Open victory a pivotal point in his development into a quieter and more confident champion. “It was a new way of winning for me,” he said. “It was playing with that big of a lead, just having the opportunity to break records like this. It really was just kind of a week of almost being unconscious.” Some would call that the zone.last_img read more

Ko ends winless drought with playoff eagle

first_imgDALY CITY, Calif. – Lydia Ko hit a 3-wood to 3 feet for eagle to finish off Minjee Lee on the first hole of a playoff Sunday in the chilly LPGA Mediheal Championship Ko won her 15th LPGA title and first since July 2016, a 43-event stretch marked by changes in instructors, caddies and equipment and a large weight loss. ”My whole team and my family, they’ve worked really hard for this moment,” Ko said. ”I’m happy that a few of them are here and we can celebrate together.” Five days after turning 21, the New Zealander won for the third time at Lake Merced after taking the Swinging Skirts LPGA at the tree-lined layout in 2014 and 2015. ”It’s crazy because I was 3 over for the day at one stage and I said, ‘Hey, you’ve just got to focus and you never know what’s going to happen,”’ Ko said. ”I was able to kind of put my game together on the back nine. When that putt dropped, I was like, ‘Oh, my God.'” Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship Twenty yards behind Lee in the fairway on the par-5 18th in the playoff, Ko hit a 3-wood that cleared the tree limbs on the right, landed in front of the green and rolled inches by on the right side. ”I hit some really good 3-woods today and I said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to maybe try and copy the one on the other par 5,” Ko said. ”I was able to hit a good shot again. I didn’t really know how close it was going to be.” Lee, the 21-year-old Australian who won the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced, hit her second shot into the rough near the right greenside bunker and made a 10-foot birdie putt. Ko closed with a 1-under 71 to match Lee at 12-under 276. Lee had her second straight 68. Ko holed a flop shot for birdie on the par-4 13th, two-putted for birdie on the par-5 15th and matched Lee with an up-and-down birdie on the 18th to force the playoff. Playing in the group ahead of Ko and Jessica Korda, Lee holed out from a greenside bunker for birdie on the par-3 17th. Korda, a stroke ahead of Ko and Lee with nine holes left, finished with a 74 to drop into a tie for third at 8 under with Angel Yin (67), Shanshan Feng (68) and Charley Hull (70).last_img read more

Langer (63) sets course record, takes 3-shot lead

first_imgTHE WOODLANDS, Texas – Bernhard Langer felt like his game was rounding into form after a slow start to the year by his lofty standards, and it all came together on a calm, humid day at The Woodlands Country Club. The 60-year-old shot a course-record, 9-under 63 on Friday to take a three-stroke lead at the Insperity Invitational. Seeking his first victory of the year after seven wins in 2017, Langer began unceremoniously when his opening tee shot ricocheted backward off a tree. He still managed a birdie on the par-5 first hole and turned in 32. On the back nine, he birdied five of the first seven holes – narrowly missing eagle attempts on two par-5s – to get to 9 under and distance himself from the field. ”Starting on nine, I was pretty much putting for birdie on every hole,” Langer said. ”I made some and missed some but continued to play well and give myself chances. The last 10 holes were really good. I don’t think I hit one loose shot. ”I’ve actually been playing nicely the last few weeks. I played well in the Masters and was in two playoffs out here (on the PGA Tour Champions) and lost them both. I felt like my game was in fairly good shape. I was very happy with how I struck the ball the last two or three hours.” Full-field scores from the Insperity Invitational The German star won the Houston-area event in 2007 for the first of his 36 victories on the 50-and-over tour. He repeated as champion in 2008, its first year at The Woodlands, and won again in 2014. The 63 was Langer’s best round on the PGA Tour Champions since a 10-under 62 at the Chubb Classic in 2016, which he went on to win. Jeff Maggert, who lives only minutes from the course and has played it for decades, was tied for second with Scott Dunlap after each shot 6-under 66. Like Langer, both were bogey-free, and Maggert wasn’t surprised with the scoring given the weather and the receptive greens. ”I expected today’s leader to shoot 7, 8 or 9 under,” Maggert said. Maggert had three successive top-10 finishes at The Woodlands from 2014 to 2016 but has never won his hometown event. ”I’ve had a lot of good rounds here over the years,” Maggert said. ”But I’ve had some bad ones, too.” Mark Calcavecchia, Doug Garwood, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Tom Lehman, Sandy Lyle and Scott McCarron were another stroke back after posting 67s. Defending champion John Daly opened with a 72. Colin Montgomerie started with four straight birdies, but his momentum stalled with a double bogey on the par-3 14th. He recovered to birdie the next hole and was one of nine players at 68.last_img read more

Langer (65) wins regular-season finale by six

first_imgCARY, N.C. – Bernhard Langer ran away with the SAS Championship on Sunday to take the points lead into the PGA Tour Champions’ Charles Schwab Cup playoffs Langer shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 for a six-stroke victory in the regular-season finale. ”I just played very solid all day long,” Langer said. ”Putted well, hit the ball where I was looking and did everything exceptionally well.” The 61-year-old German star has 38 victories on the 50-and-over tour, also winning this year near Houston. He has a record four victories after turning 60. ”I don’t have anything to prove, but I still have golf,” Langer said. ”I still want to improve my own game. I still want to play to the best Bernhard Langer can play. I don’t think I need to prove anything, but I love competing, I love winning or being in the hunt. As long as I can do that, I think you’re going to see me out here.” Langer finished with a tournament-record 22-under 194 total at Prestonwood Country Club, the tree-lined layout softened by heavy rain Thursday from Hurricane Michael. He opened with a 62 on Friday to match Gene Sauers and Tom Lehman for the lead, and had a 67 on Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard with Sauers. Full-field scores from the SAS Championship ”The 10 under was amazing,” Langer said. ”I couldn’t believe there were two other guys who shot 10 under.” The four-time Charles Schwab Cup winner also won at Prestonwood in 2012. ”It’s always fun to go back to where you’ve won before because you feel like you know how to play the course and you’re somewhat comfortable and that’s certainly the case here,” Langer said. ”I’ve been probably 50, 70 times now around this golf course and I know how to play every hole.” Scott Parel was second, closing with a double bogey for a 65. ”Bernhard is just in his own world this week,” Parel said. Jerry Kelly had a 68 to finish third at 15 under, and Lehman followed at 13 under after a 71. Sauers shot a 75 to tie for fifth with Miguel Angel Jimenez (68) at 12 under. The top 72 players in the Schwab Cup standings qualified for the playoffs, the three-event series that begins next week with the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in Richmond, Va. Dan Forsman tied for 56th to jump from 74th to 72nd, edging John Huston for the final spot by $932. Huston tied for 46th.last_img read more

Kang wins at Inverness at LPGA’s return to golf

first_imgTOLEDO, Ohio — Danielle Kang played the brand of steady golf that wins on tough golf courses, closing with a 2-under 70 on Sunday at Inverness Club and winning the LPGA Drive On Championship in the first LPGA Tour event in more than five months. Kang and Celine Boutier of France turned the final hour into a terrific duel, and they were tied when Kang made her lone bogey on the par-5 13th with a poor chip from the thick collar. It was Boutier who blinked last. She missed a short par putt on the 15th hole to fall one shot behind, and then stuffed her approach to 4 feet below the hole on the 18th. Instead of a playoff, however, Boutier made a tentative stroke on a tricky putt and the ball caught the left edge of the cup and spun away. Kang, the No. 4 player in the women’s world ranking, won for the fourth time in her career. It was her first LPGA competitoin since Jan. 23 in Florida. She did not go to Australia, and then the COVID-19 pandemic halted play on the Asian swing and then on through the summer. Full-field scores from the LPGA Drive On Championship She has won in each of her last four seasons, starting with the Women’s PGA Championship in 2017. Boutier, who won the Women’s Texas Open during her time off, made an 8-foot birdie putt on the 14th to tie Kang before she started to slip. The Frenchwoman closed with a 71. Inverness hosted the one-time event, and both contenders are likely to be back next summer when the storied club hosts the Solheim Cup. The LPGA Tour stays in northeast Ohio next week for the Marathon Classic. Kang outlasts Boutier to win the LPGA Drive On Championship Kang finished at 7-under 209. Inverness, where Paul Azinger won the 1993 PGA Championship in a playoff over Greg Norman, allowed only five players to finish under par. Minjee Lee of Australia shot 70 and finished alone in third, three shots behind. She was followed by Yui Kawamoto of Japan, who shot a 72, and Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England, who faltered later for a 75. Ewart Shadoff, still searching for her first LPGA Tour victory, was three shots behind on the back nine until she went bogey-bogey-double bogey through the 15th hole, and finished with a birdie when it was too late. Nelly Korda, at No. 2, the highest-ranked player in the field, tied for 40th. Several top players from South Korea played their home tour this week, including Jin Young Ko and Sung Hyun Park. It is not clear if they will travel to Scotland for the Women’s British Open. Kang had plans Sunday night for more golf. Her boyfriend, Maverick McNealy, was in contention at the Barracuda Championship on the PGA Tour.last_img read more

The Mismeasure of Man: Why Popular Ideas about Human-Chimp Comparisons Are Misleading or Wrong

first_img A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Human Origins The Mismeasure of Man: Why Popular Ideas about Human-Chimp Comparisons Are Misleading or WrongAnn GaugerMarch 10, 2014, 3:10 AM And that brings me to another false assumption underlying the mismeasure of man — that genes make us who we are. Many things beyond our genes contribute to making us who we are. Our genes do not control us. Certainly, they can influence our predisposition to disease, the shape of our nose, or the color of our eyes, but they do not specify how we will respond to the challenge of disease, or what spouse we will choose. Our experience and our moral character have something to contribute to those things. New studies in psychology indicate, for example, that we can rewire our own brains to think in new patterns; those new thoughts actually change the underlying neural connections. The choices we make matter. And this is a very non-Darwinian thought. To be specific, in addition to the 1% distinction already noted, entire genes are either duplicated or deleted between the two species, sometimes in long stretches called segmental duplications. Such duplications represent a 6.4% difference between chimps and humans. There are also insertions and deletions within genes, which affect the structure and function of the proteins they encode. That contributes another 3%, according to some estimates. And there are entirely new genes, specific to humans. Evolution Going beyond the physical, we have language and culture. We are capable of sonnets and symphonies. We engage in scientific study and paint portraits. No chimp or dolphin or elephant does these things. Humans are a quantum leap beyond even the highest of animals. Some evolutionary biologists acknowledge this, though they differ in their explanations for how it happened. In truth, though, we are a unique, valuable, and surprising species with the power to influence our own futures by the choices we make. If we imagine ourselves to be nothing more than animals, then we will descend to the level of animalism. It is by exercising our intellects, and our capacity for generosity, foresight, and innovation, all faculties that animals lack, that we can face the challenges of modern life. Tagsscience,Trending Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Then there are DNA rearrangements. How genes are organized along chromosomes, and even the chromosomes structures themselves can be different. Our Y-chromosomes are strikingly different from those of chimps, for example. This was a surprise to researchers, given the relatively short time our species supposedly diverged from one another. Rearrangements are also not included in the 1% number, and are difficult to quantify. Indeed. In the end, despite our inability to quantify them, the differences matter. You can have two houses built of the same materials — two by fours, pipes, wall board, nails, wires, plumbing, tile, bricks, and shingles — but end up with very different floor plans and appearances, depending on how they are assembled. So it is with us. We may have almost the same genes as chimps, but the timing and distribution of their expression are different, and matter in significant ways. There are also changes that affect the timing and amount of gene expression. These changes include the insertion of new regulatory sequences upstream of genes. For example, some 6% of our genome is unique Alu insertions, as they are called. And Alu sequences are known to affect gene expression. Could researchers combine all of what’s known and come up with a precise percentage difference between humans and chimpanzees? “I don’t think there’s any way to calculate a number,” says geneticist Svante Pääbo, a chimp consortium member based at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. “In the end, it’s a political and social and cultural thing about how we see our differences.” [Emphasis added.] Ann GaugerSenior Fellow, Center for Science and CultureDr. Ann Gauger is Director of Science Communication and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute Center for Science and Culture, and Senior Research Scientist at the Biologic Institute in Seattle, Washington. She received her Bachelor’s degree from MIT and her Ph.D. from the University of Washington Department of Zoology. She held a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, where her work was on the molecular motor kinesin.Follow AnnProfile Share It should be said that many scientists are aware of these distinctions. What I have said here about differences between chimps and humans is derived from the scientific literature. In fact, the NIH recently recommended that chimps not be used as a model for medical research, precisely because we are different in many ways. Yet somehow these differences do not seem to make it into popular literature or TV shows. Here are some large-scale differences that get overlooked in the drive to assert our similarity. Our physiology differs from that of chimps. We do not get the same diseases, our brain development is different, even our reproductive processes are different. Our musculoskeletal systems are different, permitting us to run, to throw, to hold our heads erect. We have many more muscles in our hands and tongues that permit refined tool making and speech. Now that complete or nearly complete genome sequences for humans and chimps are available, a better picture of our differences and similarities is emerging. A 2007 essay in the journal Science, “Relative Differences: The Myth of 1%,” says this (the pdf is here ): Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share It should be apparent that we are only beginning to discover important differences between chimps and us, so our numbers are incomplete. In fact, there is no clear way even to count the changes. Beyond that, we do not even know yet how many or which of these differences are functionally important. Perhaps not all are. However, it would be a mistake (one that has been made before) to assert that none of them are functionally significant, as the Encode project demonstrated. Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos In addition, there are human-specific increases in DNA methylation that affect gene expression in the brain, and increased RNA modifications in the brain. These changes would not be detected by simply comparing DNA sequences. Yet they affect gene expression and interaction. Indeed, by one measure, 17.4% of gene regulatory networks in the brain are unique to humans. The documentary The War Against Humans and Wesley Smith’s companion e-book show how some people seek to equate us with animals, based in part on the false assumptions described above. They see humanity as a destructive species, even a scourge upon the earth that needs to be destroyed. “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Researchers are finding that on top of the 1% distinction, chunks of missing DNA, extra genes, altered connections in gene networks, and the very structure of chromosomes confound any quantification of “humanness” versus “chimpness.” Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Recommended Let’s look at the first claim, that we are only 1% different from chimps. That measurement only compares base changes in human and chimp DNA. It doesn’t include other kinds of changes to the DNA, like deletions and insertions or rearrangements. In addition, because of the sequencing methods used, repetitive DNA is not included. Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share From the same Science paper: Photo by THINK b on Adobe StockYou have probably heard that our DNA, the stuff that makes us human, is only 1% different from chimps. The claim that we are little more than apes is now part of the Zeitgeist of our culture, having been propagated in the popular press for nearly forty years. However, that statement and the conclusions drawn from it are false.last_img read more