Silver Back

I am told that humans and mountain gorillas share 98% of their genes.

Now, I have struggled to write this fact accurately to my satisfaction, although that’s how it was presented on a natural history TV programme I watched recently. When I say ‘share’, I don’t mean that Old Sam Silver Back has 49% of them and I have the other 49%. No, nor do I mean that I have 98% for a while, then Sam has them for another while. What I mean, I suppose, is that 98% of our respective genes are similar to the point of being the same sort of genes.

Even that doesn’t sound quite pedantically correct.

Maybe if I said it this way: OK, you and I… you and every other human is/are almost, but not quite, Old Sam Silver Back, the mountain gorilla.

You great big gorilla, you!

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