Is Chromosome 2 Evidence for Evolution?

A normal chromosome beside a fused chromosome.

Normal chromosome (left) and a fused chromosome (right).

The theory of evolution says we evolved from non-human apes such as the Australopithecines. One of the major evidences used to prop up this idea is our chromosome number 2.

The Argument

Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes while chimpanzees (supposed to be our closest relative) have 24. If humans and chimps evolved from a common ape ancestor that had 24 pairs, we should find that one of our pairs has fused together to form one. And that is what we have. Often this is seen to be the smoking gun proving we evolved, but just like many others, this evidence has fatal flaws in reasoning.

Our Response

The chromosome 2 argument for evolution goes both ways. If we had 24 chromosomes, it would be claimed as evidence for evolution from apes. If we had 23 with a fused pair (which we do), it is claimed as evidence that we evolved from apes. A case of heads I win, tails you lose.

But why should this prove evolution anyway? Many creationists also accept that chromosome 2 fused. We believe that two of our chromosomes fused into one during the population bottleneck near the time of the Great Flood or perhaps even during the time just after the Fall.

Alternatively, but perhaps less likely, the chromosome could have been designed just the way it is.


If our fused chromosome were to be the ‘nail in the coffin’ proving evolution from apes, then we should expect that no other theory can adequately explain this feature. Of course, the creationary fusion theory explains it in much the same way as the evolutionary one (without the millions of years or the idea that it fused from non-human ape chromosomes).

Further Reading

Peter Borger, “The design of life: part 4—variation inducing genetic elements and their function,” Journal of Creation 23(1) 2009, p. 111.

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