11
   

What Makes Humans Human?

 
 
littlek
 
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 03:16 pm
What sets apart from other mammals? What was the factor that let us advance so far beyond other animals? We considered tool-making, play, communication, etc to be THE factor for long stretches of time. All of those factors have been debunked - other animals do all of the above.

I'm thinking about this because of an NPR series called How Evolution Gave Us the Human Edge. I haven't heard every episode, but what I've heard has been interesting.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128245649
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 03:25 pm
@littlek,
cool, gonna check out the podcast
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 03:30 pm
@djjd62,
Today's show was good (about the way our brains evolved).
ABYA
 
  2  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 03:34 pm
@littlek,
I would say the thing that sets us apart is that we question the meaning of life, which in turn gives us greater desires than the animal kingdom, such as for wealth, power and knowledge and spirituality.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 03:42 pm
Our abstract thought processes plus our ability to store away and make use of more and more complex knowledge -
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 03:43 pm
@edgarblythe,
But, what was the thing that lead to questioning life and abstract thought? What set us down this road?
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 04:07 pm
I'm probably off topic, but I've been wondering about the effects of our general lack of facial furnishings. Facial expression has much to do with communication, at least it seems so. Could it have a similar effect on humanity? Just a thought I wanted to toss in.

I am aware that some people wear beards, and most primates are bare faced.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 04:11 pm
Perhaps humans having the ability to use language is such a way as to communicate on paper (having opposable thumbs). We talk, instruct, but most importantly record our history. Then we re-read that history and the promptly ignore it -- proving we are less civilized.

FWIW, I know of no animal culture that uses language in such a way that it writes its history down so that others might benefit.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 04:28 pm
@Ragman,
badabing. IMHO I like the part where we finally developed the equipment and resonance capability for actual speech. Speech of a higher order was theorized to be unavailable to neanderthals. The subspecies of Homo sapiens (idaltu) had a different bone setup and probably they had a higher less resonant voice than H. sapiens sapiens



0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 04:33 pm
@littlek,
the podcasts are all about 7 0r 8 minutes long, does that jive with what you're hearing on the radio?

0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 05:16 pm
dj - yes, that sounds right.

We didn't fall out of the trees because we had opposable thumbs, we developed them after we began to be 'human'.
0 Replies
 
NickFun
 
  2  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 05:31 pm
I do find it remarkable that we can show compassion for every living thing and work toward saving creatures from extinction. Equally remarkable that we have developed the technology to destroy ourselves in an instant. We have become too smart for our own good.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 05:39 pm
@littlek,
When you speak of "tools," you must consider the crudeness or advancement in technology of the tool.

Humans are the only ones able to transmit history to future generations, and study the anthropology, paleontology, and pathology of its species. How many animals know about its genetics?
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 05:40 pm
@roger,
roger, Don't forget body language.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 05:42 pm
Again folks, I'm thinking of the first sparks more than the achievements we've made since then.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 05:46 pm
@littlek,
When you say "first sparks," how long a period are you looking at?

The following was copied from Wiki:
Quote:
order: primates (75.000.000 years ago)
suborder: haplorrhini (tarsiers, monkeys, apes, "dry-nosed" primates) (40.000.000 years ago)
infraorder: simiiformes (simians, "higher" primates)
parvorder: catarrhini ("narrow nosed" primates) (30.000.000 years ago)
superfamily: hominoidea (apes) (25.000.000 years ago)
family: hominidae (great apes) (15.000.000 years ago)
subfamily: homininae (8.000.000 years ago)
tribe: hominini (5.800.000 years ago)
subtribe: hominina (3.000.000 years ago)
genus: homo (2.500.000 years ago)
species: homo sapiens (500.000 years ago)
sub-species: homo sapiens sapiens (200.000 years ago)
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 05:58 pm
@littlek,
National Geograhics has a great program The Human family Tree

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/human-family-tree

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/big-idea/02/queens-genes
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 07:04 pm
@cicerone imposter,
CI, I'm not sure. Actually, don't some primates have opposable thumbs?
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 07:07 pm
@littlek,
If primates did and hand that fine motor control with digits, then my understanding would be they can write.

"The opposable thumb has helped the human species develop more accurate fine motor skills. It is also thought to have directly led to the development of tools, not just in humans or their evolutionary ancestors, but other primates as well. The opposable thumb ensured that important human functions such as writing were possible. The thumb, in conjunction with the other fingers, makes human hands and those of other species with similar hands some of the most dexterous in the world."

"The most important factors leading to the habile hand (and its thumb) are:

* The freeing of the hands from their walking requirements—still so crucial for apes today, as they have hands for feet, which in its turn was one of the consequences of the gradual pithecanthropoid and anthropoid adoption of the erect bipedal walking gait
* The simultaneous development of a larger anthropoid brain in the later stages

It is possible, though, that a more likely scenario may be that the specialized precision gripping hand (equipped with opposable thumb) of Homo habilis preceded walking, with the specialized adaptation of the spine, pelvis, and lower extremities preceding a more advanced hand. And, it is logical that a conservative, highly functional adaptation be followed by a series of more complex ones that complement it. With Homo habilis, an advanced grasping-capable hand was accompanied by facultative bipedalism, possibly implying, assuming a co-opted evolutionary relationship exists, that the latter resulted from the former as obligate bipedalism was yet to follow. Walking may have been a by-product of busy hands and not vice versa."
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 07:10 pm
Remember folks, we're talking about evolution. The opposable thumb came about in stages. Homo erectus-home habilis had the first fully apposable thumb, but many other critters (not just primates!) have precursor opposable thumbs (from dino days).
 

Related Topics

New Propulsion, the "EM Drive" - Question by TomTomBinks
The Science Thread - Discussion by Wilso
Why do people deny evolution? - Question by JimmyJ
Are we alone in the universe? - Discussion by Jpsy
Fake Science Journals - Discussion by rosborne979
Controvertial "Proof" of Multiverse! - Discussion by littlek
 
  1. Forums
  2. » What Makes Humans Human?
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 08/22/2019 at 04:14:20