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How are humans different from animals?

  1. janesix profile image60
    janesixposted 3 years ago

    What specific things set humans apart from animals?

    Enhanced reasoning skill?

    The ability to imagine things?


    Or is every ability we have just an advanced version of something animals have?

    Is there anything uniquely human?

    1. wilderness profile image97
      wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Nearly all animals have a "speciality" if you will, that they excel in.  Perhaps vision, maybe hearing, maybe the ability to be frozen and survive.  Humans excel in intelligence, beyond what any other animal can claim.

      Of course, they give up something for that as well; poorer senses in general, a huge birth penalty with birth causing a great many deaths.  An extremely long gestation period and an even longer period to develop full maturity. 

      In our ecological niche (nearly anywhere, in other words) it seems to work out well for us, at least until we destroy ourselves and our much-vaunted intelligence.

    2. Melissa A Smith profile image93
      Melissa A Smithposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Language is uniquely human, and that is the reason we are what we are. Language is the prerequisite for: art, ideology, ideas, an understood morality, innovation, writing, ect.

      1. psycheskinner profile image79
        psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Language is not uniquely human as animals use various sound and movement to convey complex idea.  Like chicken has a call that means 'predator in the sky' (other chickens hide under things), and another one that means "predator on the ground" (other chickens look around to see where it is so they can run away.

        Some animals even have language with grammar so the order of sounds or movements in a phrase changes their meaning.  They only thing unique to human language so far is complex and contextual grammatical structures such that 'time flies like and arrow' and 'fruit flies like an orange' mean totally different things and 'don't not do that' can be understood..

        By the way, some animals have art despite not having language.  Bower birds using color theory and forced perspective--they were using the latter before people learned to use it.

        And animals very much have morality.  I recently saw a show where a male boss monkey prevented a competitor from attacking him by holding a baby in front of him, then the females deposed him from power.

        1. janesix profile image60
          janesixposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Very cool things about animals and language I didn't know.

          And you are so right on animal morality. Anyone who has a dog can testify to that, it is plain to see.

          1. psycheskinner profile image79
            psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            The excessive chicken examples are because I used to study chicken behavior.  Then I decided it was time to get a real job.  But chickens are more interesting than many people might think.

    3. profile image59
      Marc Lambertposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Mental Modelling is the big one post 2.5 mya we were just like animals acting on instinct mental modelling allowed us to plan ahead imagine good and evil and get way out of balance, animals are a lot more balanced than us we need to re balance.
      See my hub God is Goodness

      1. janesix profile image60
        janesixposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        I read your Hub. It seemed to have some ideas similar to my own, but it was unclear. Or I at least had trouble understanding it. Still interesting, and seems to be in a general direction of my line of thinking. Such as the idea that a sense of right and wrong are inherent (if that is what you meant)

      2. psycheskinner profile image79
        psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        What do you mean by mental modelling?  Animals can plan for the future.  They can problem solve through insight.  They can make use tools. Animals can learn by observing others.  There is no specific mental ability that some animal cannot do to some extent. I have yet to meet anyone who has studies the behavior of animals closely that has not come to this same conclusion.  Humans differ only on the degree to which we can work with abstract concepts.

        1. Melissa A Smith profile image93
          Melissa A Smithposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          It's hard for me to imagine what the mental state of an animal must be like. Why is it that some animals can 'make tools', such as perhaps crudely sharpening a rock to make it into a better smashing tool, but they can't take it one tiny step further, such as maybe attaching that rock to a stick and creating a hammer/ax or something like that, even with human guidance. Something so obvious and trivial to us would be a huge mental leap for a non-human ape or any other animal deemed closest to use in intelligence. What I can't understand is why they can have a tool-making concept yet it is so limited. Humans seem to have endless mental ability, short of super powers.

          1. janesix profile image60
            janesixposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            I wish I knew that too. I think the answer is to be found in what exactly caused the mental leap.

  2. psycheskinner profile image79
    psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago

    Human are animals.  And in terms of psychology the difference is in degree rather than type.

    A human has better abstract language ability, but a chicken has a better visual memory than most humans. We aren't best at everything.

    1. wilderness profile image97
      wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Now that's interesting about the chicken.  And what would you classify the bee's ability to remember spatial distances and directions, as well as communicate the information to others?  Few people could do it, if any.

      1. janesix profile image60
        janesixposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        That is weird. Do you have any ideas how bees do that?

        1. wilderness profile image97
          wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          They're just naturally smarter than we are? smile

          No I don't.

  3. FatFreddysCat profile image94
    FatFreddysCatposted 3 years ago

    My favorite quote on this subject comes from Dan Aykroyd as Sgt. Joe Friday in the movie "Dragnet" (1987):

    "There are two things that separate us from the animals. One, we use cutlery. Two, we're able to suppress our sexual urges when we need to. Now maybe you're an exception, Mister... but don't drag me down into your private hell."

  4. profile image0
    Beth37posted 3 years ago

    Humans talk.
    Humans don't pee on the carpet.
    Humans drive cars.
    Humans earn a paycheck.
    Humans invent things.
    Humans have Hubpages accounts... well the majority of us are human here.

    1. EncephaloiDead profile image60
      EncephaloiDeadposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Humans couldn't do those things unless they were taught to do them. In other words, your examples are linked to humans having a more evolved intelligence than other animals. Other animals have more evolved traits than humans and each other, yet we are all still animals.

      1. profile image0
        Beth37posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Happy valentines day.

        1. janesix profile image60
          janesixposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Is that a new pic for your avatar? So cute:)

          1. profile image0
            Beth37posted 3 years ago in reply to this

            I haven't been blond since '10 maybe... Im a redhead now and I really like it. Thanks a lot though, Jane. Kind of you to say. smile

      2. janesix profile image60
        janesixposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Who taught them?

        1. Melissa A Smith profile image93
          Melissa A Smithposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Good answer.

        2. EncephaloiDead profile image60
          EncephaloiDeadposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Uh, other people, obviously.

          1. profile image0
            Beth37posted 3 years ago in reply to this

            The original people were taught by robots.

            1. EncephaloiDead profile image60
              EncephaloiDeadposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Uh, no, they were taught by other people. That's usually how things work, children are taught by adults and then they grow up and teach other children.

              Did you not know that?

              1. profile image0
                Beth37posted 3 years ago in reply to this

                No, I did not know that. I thought robots were responsible. I blame Will Smith.

                1. EncephaloiDead profile image60
                  EncephaloiDeadposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  It truly is amazing what one can learn when they put the Bible down to see what really goes on in the world.

                  1. profile image0
                    Beth37posted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    Sharing biblical truth is my gift to you cause I love you, 'member? smile

                    1 John 4:7-8 
                    Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

          2. janesix profile image60
            janesixposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Your use of logic is astounding.

            I won't even attempt to explain to you why I'm trying not to laugh right now.

            1. EncephaloiDead profile image60
              EncephaloiDeadposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              That's because you can't explain.

              1. janesix profile image60
                janesixposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                Sure I can.

                I could explain both why I'm trying not to laugh, and why you're logic is totally off.

                Would you like me to?

                1. EncephaloiDead profile image60
                  EncephaloiDeadposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  Be my guest.

                  1. janesix profile image60
                    janesixposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    This: Who taught the people who taught the people?

  5. FatFreddysCat profile image94
    FatFreddysCatposted 3 years ago

    You obviously travel in different social circles than I.

    1. profile image0
      Beth37posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      lol... I'm hoping this was exclusive to your college days.

  6. Kathryn L Hill profile image84
    Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago

    Humans have more complex brains and free will. Other than that I'm not sure… Animals may actually be more in touch with their hearts than humans, due to their smaller brains. Elephants exhibit a lot of heart/feelings. Do they also have large brains?
    I think we are talking about brain capacity. And that is a very interesting discussion. Our brains have more potential than we even utilize/realize… have humans devolved? I think so.

    1. janesix profile image60
      janesixposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I'm not even sure where I'm trying to go with this question (how humans are different from animals). I'm not sure what exactly it is I'm trying to figure out. I think maybe that if I can isolate something that is purely unique to humans, then I can think about it and have that point me in the direction of a possible "purpose".

  7. abigail33 profile image76
    abigail33posted 3 years ago

    From a biblical standpoint humans are made in the image of God, and this cannot be said for any other creation including animals.

  8. psycheskinner profile image79
    psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago

    IMHO fully grammatical language including written langauge is probably the leap point.  It means any small advance any person makes can be shared with all other living humans within that verbal community (which is currently most of the planet).  In theory than means any person can walk to the edge of pure innovation and add their contribution.

    I suspect that any person cut off from the verbal community at a young age would not invent the hammer or the spear or very much of anything.  It only seems obvious to us now because it is an invention we learn about when we are still basically babies. We are tall only because we stand on the shoulders of giants (all collective previous generations of inventions).

    An animal can say 'I love you' or 'I think I saw a snake' or 'the orchid pollen is 23 meter north north west' or 'wash you potatoes in salt water' but no animal we know of can say can say 'this is how you build a plow'.

    1. Melissa A Smith profile image93
      Melissa A Smithposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I disagree...even without a more experienced human to guide us we can conjure up innovations that would be astounding to see a chimp or dolphin comprehend. Humans basically lost a lot of strength and other physical features because making tools is such an important part of our lives. Cooking has also rendered us less tolerant to raw meat. I think any human, without social learning, can invent simple tools and enhance them beyond the capabilities of a chimp easily. Making tools like cars and planes is something that preexisting knowledge is required for.

 
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