Earth is a treasure trove of biodiversity, with over 8.7 million known species alive today, and that only represents an estimated 20 percent of all of the existing species that currently exist. But despite the sheer diversity of lifeforms, be it plant, animal, or microbe, we all share a common single-celled ancestor that started to diverge into new species 1.6 billion years ago. And because of that common ancestor, all species have a lot in common when it comes to our DNA: chimpanzees are nearly genetically identical to us; we share 69 percent of our genetic makeup with the otherwise oddball platypus; and we have even one-quarter of our code in common with rice.
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