Don’t Ape Around: The Gorilla Genome and the Media
The publication of the gorilla genome has been made over the past day in the journal Nature, to some fair press coverage, as should be expected. The findings show the complete genetic make-up that combines with proteins, RNA, memes and the environment gorilla genotypes are in to form gorillas and the individualities of particular gorillas. Such information is clearly a huge banana.
Rightly, this is a top story worldwide, and the media reporting gives a rosy picture of how media reports scientific information gluttonously. But this is surely a sophism. The publication of the gorilla genome is exposing, once again, the lack of information most media provide to their consumers. This is probably in all areas, but it’s particularly barren in those of scientific and humanistic subjects.
What I mean is that unless one reads the original scientific paper, it is very difficult to find a mainstream article written on the gorilla genome release that actually says much. All one takes away from reading mainstream articles on the topic is that the scientific work verifies gorillas as our second closest relative amongst the great apes; that it helps shed light on ape evolution, and one might possibly remember that 15 per cent of the human genome is closer to the gorilla genome than it is to chimpanzee.
This may be applauded, but it shouldn’t, because anyone who knew basics on evolution wouldn’t be surprised by this, and it keeps their understandings of the topic low. Granted, those new to the topic need to know this information, but I’m not saying basic knowledge should be discarded. It is a branch that should presented regularly with more foliage. CNN’s almost wordless article is a case in point. If someone reads that, they may take away some conclusions, but not how and why those conclusions.Continued on the next page