Get right back up. (Letters).
The discovery that humans share 99.4 percent of their genetic sequences with chimps does not make chimps like us in any meaningful sense or lower "humanity's pedestal" in the slightest degree ("Humanity's pedestal lowered again?" SN: 5/31/03, p. 349). In some 5 million years on Earth the sum total of chimps' cultural achievements has been exactly 0. In only 200,000 years, modern humans have gone from the swamps to the stars, and most of that in only the last 10,000 years. Poking a stick in an anthill (the peak of chimp tool use) doesn't equal the creation of a worldwide industrial civilization and all the accumulated knowledge that that requires. Either the geneticists have missed something or that 0.6 percent is of enormous importance.
EDWIN A. LOCKE, WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIF.