While many claim that evolutionary biologists think that we evolved from chimps, the real claim is that humans and chimps share a common ancestor. Genetic changes in humans and chimpanzees resulted from segmental differences in the genetic code. These changes in the genetic code occurred as species of primates were separated from each other, allowing new species to form.
Two major changes that occurred between humans and chimpanzees were how humans and chimpanzees interpret scents and how they eat. The difference between humans and chimpanzees in how they smell was discovered by evolutionary geneticists Andrew G. Clark and Ramus Nielsen in 2003 in the Journal Science, according to Cornell University. In mammals, smells have developed to be able to identify very specific scents. The chimpanzee’s increased ability to smell likely evolved so that chimpanzees could find food and find mates.
Human and chimpanzee bone length is genetically different, according to Cornell University. Some of the changes in human bone structure have lead to human diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy and Prader-Willi syndrome.
Human and chimpanzee digestion is genetically different. The humans and chimpanzees have different amino acid metabolism, according to Cornell University. Humans have a better ability to consume dietary protein, which likely developed when humans started eating more meat.
The ways in which humans and chimpanzees hear is genetically different. Humans have developed specialized hearing which allows them to understand speech. This ability is based on a gene that humans have that can code very specific proteins, according to Cornell University. However, when this gene becomes mutated, congenital deafness can occur.
Human and chimpanzee hairiness is genetically different, according to Cornell University. Hariness of different animals is often an adaptation to the climate that the animal lived in. Humans developed fire and started wearing animal skins early on, which reduced their need for hair.
The speed and dexterity in which human and chimpanzee hands can move are different. Humans have much better manual dexterity. Katie Pollard at UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the UCSF Institute for Human Genetics thinks that human and chimpanzee hands are different because the segment HAR1 is able to encode certain kinds of RNA that allow for the development of nerve cells that are used in manual skills.