Were our ape ancestors very different compared to today's apes?
Which ones? Anything of the Australopithecus or Homo species, yeah.
of course the current apes are on a ifferebt branch from Lucy
Yes. We know of about 15 that evolved before us. Bones of one from a grave they dug gave science an idea of their description and DNA. Latter can link my reader to Stone Age consensual or non-consensual mating habits. Human skin color and racial features have no bearing on proto-humanoids. Find a zoo you feel comfortable within if DNA determines reader is less than 100% human. Europeans and Neanderthals had mingled.
Depends. Our closest living relative chimlanzee diverged from us 4 million years ago. And all species leading to humans in this 4 million years are either evolved as humans or dead.