Standard Article

Molecular Clocks: Determining the Age of the Human–Chimpanzee Divergence

  1. Michael I Jensen-Seaman,
  2. Kathryn A Hooper-Boyd

Published Online: 30 APR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020813

eLS

eLS

How to Cite

Jensen-Seaman, M. I. and Hooper-Boyd, K. A. 2008. Molecular Clocks: Determining the Age of the Human–Chimpanzee Divergence. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 APR 2008

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (15 MAY 2013)

Abstract

The approximate clocklike nature of the accumulation of nucleotide substitutions (the ‘molecular clock’) allows for the estimation of the time of divergence between modern species, dependent on calibrating the clock with known divergence dates from the fossil record. The molecular clock gives dates of approximately 6–8 million years ago for the human–chimpanzee divergence, in general agreement with the palaeontological evidence.

Keywords:

  • molecular clock;
  • human evolution;
  • hominin;
  • hominid;
  • divergence