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Animal / Human Cultures - Essay Example

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Animal/Human Cultures Name: Institution: Several things make humans different from animals. These include burying of the dead by humans out of respect, humans evolving to stop relying primarily on instinct, humans being aware of themselves, the feeling of wrong and right sense, as well as evil and moral, complex languages and methods of communication by humans, human use of the brain in exceedingly complex ways compared to animals, and human ability to advance technology…
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Animal / Human Cultures
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Download file to see previous pages Any attempt to answer the question of what humanness is should involve a study of the results of seeing people as lacking or having humanness. Consequences of this question include the dehumanization of groups that are despised and the excuse making to explain ones failings as being only human. This question reveals that there exist two direct consequences of humanness: human nature and human uniqueness (Jeeves, 2011 p32). Human nature refers to the attributes seen as typically, essentially, and fundamentally human. Human uniqueness, on the other hand, refers to those attributes that distinguish an animal from a human being. Differences that lead to human uniqueness are a large brain and an erect posture (Levinas, 2004 p49). Human is the only species of vertebrates that possess an erect posture and a gait that is bipedal. While birds are also bipedal, their backbone stands horizontally rather than vertically with the exception of the penguin. Despite kangaroos being bipedal, they do not possess an erect posture, and their backbone is highly distinct from that of humans. These consequences of human uniqueness involve changes morphologically in the feet, hipbone, and backbone. In mammals, brain size is usually related to the size of the body. Humans, relative to the mass of the body, have the largest brains. The chimpanzee has a brain that is approximately 300 cm3 in volume, with a gorilla having a slightly larger one. In contrast, the human brain is 1300cm3 to 1400cm3. The human brain is also more complex with the cognitive function processor, cerebral cortex, being much greater to the rest of the brain in comparison to apes (Jeeves, 2011 p35). A large brain and an erect posture are just a selection of the features that distinguish humans from non-human primates, despite being the obvious ones. Others include teeth and jaw size reduction, face remodelling, larynx and vocal tract modification with implications as to what language the human will speak, body hair reduction, opposing thumbs, and cryptic ovulation (Jeeves, 2011 p35). Humans are different to all apes and animals in anatomy and no less in functional behaviour and capacities (Levinas, 2004 p49). This is seen both socially and individually. The most fundamental of these are intellectual faculties that are advanced, allowing the human to think abstractly and visualize reality that is not present, categorize objects in to general classes, and to reason. Other features that result to human uniqueness are awareness of death and self, symbolic language, technology like tool making, extremely variable and complex forms of co-operation means as well as social organization (Jeeves, 2011 p36). Others include legal codes, literature, science, religion, art, and political institutions. Humans live in socially organized groups just like other primates. However, primates do not have the human, social complexity of organization (Levinas, 2004 p50). A distinct human trait that is unique is culture, the set of human activities that are non-strictly biological and creations. Culture can be defined as the pool of social and technological innovations accumulated by a people to aid them in their lives. The emergence of culture has brought along cultural evolution, which is primarily a mode of evolution that is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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