First Jack, a science class room is no place to be teaching about world religeons.
Second, why are there still apes? Its a common enough question. There are still apes because apes are not yet extinct. If you would like to imagine that you have portraits of all your ancestors lined up, there would be alot at first, but then number would get fewer and fewer until you reach the common ancestor of all living human being. A proverbial Adam or Eve. Now keep going and you will reeach a similar animal that is the ancestor of both all living apes and all living humans. Then if you look at this ancestor's off spring, if you could, there would be two children. Genetically they would be as identical as any two siblings. The only difference is that the descendants of one would evolve into humans, and the descendant of the other would evolve into the living apes. You have to picture it with your mind because there wern't any cameras to do the picturing for you, but you don't have to take it as an artical of faith either. Besides morphilogical similarities between apes and humans the DNA, which does little other then replicate and create RNA, shows the evidence of the common ancestory and the resulting divergence.
Apes are around because they are modern species, like Starfish, Whales, Aligators, Earth Worms, and Baccilus Bacterium are all modern species. Every species alive today has undergone just as much descent through reproduction as every other species. The Dafodil is the same as the ape, except you go back to the origins of all Eukareotes, which include all plants, all animals and yeasts. The last one having never evolved multicelular descendnats. And if such a thing were possible there would be a family portrait of a Eukareote that had two offspring. One would have a decendant that would capture a bluegreen algea called a chloroplast, and the other wouldn't. They'd probably discovered the sex before that while the Yeasts never did, unless some one knows something about yeasts I don't know about. We don't really have much in common with the gentics of a dafodil at all, just some basic stuff about cell construction like how to encode the protiens for a nucleus and how to take care of our captured mitochondria.
Many plants have more and bigger chromosomes then we do, but they have to really. Every compound a plant produces needs to be encoded in it's DNA, and most plants make many times many more compounds then we do, and we make alot. But a weed growing on the side of the road produces more different chemical compounds then Dow Chemical has in it's entire catalog of possible products. Being immobile plants are highly diverse chemical factories.