WHAT IS THE REAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HUMANS AND ANIMALS?
by Syarif Hidayat
What is the real difference between humans and animals? What Is The Cognitive Rift Between Humans and Other Animals? What are the basic differences between the human brain and the animal brain? and Are Humans The Worst Species To Inhabit The Earth?
My curiosity asks those questions again and again. That is why I search for the answers and fortunately I got answers from many sources which I could categorize as a common sense, scientific and religious answers.
Here are the Answers:
The Answer from Differencebetween.net:
Animals vs Humans
The term Animal as described in the dictionary means a living organism other than humans which feeds and usually has sense organs and a nervous system and can move. Animals include a vast majority of species. Humans belong to Homo Sapiens and are bipedal species. This means that the humans walk around using their two rear limbs.
Animals would normally only include multi cells and complex organisms. Organisms like the bacteria will not be included in the animal kingdom. In most animals the dietary habits are very limited which means that they would either be vegetarians or non-vegetarians. The Humans on the other hand are omnivorous which means that they are able to consume both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods.
Animals cannot talk or communicate with each other. In some species that the skills have been found these are very basic and undeveloped. Humans on the other hand are the only known species with highly developed communication skills.
Animals merely feed to survive and reproduce. They have not developed any skills that go beyond their survival needs. The Humans are known for their curiosity to understand and to try and influence and change their environment. It is this curiosity in the Humans that has lead to the development of advanced tools, technology and science.
The human behavior is much different from the animals as we have set purposes in life that go beyond the survival needs of day today.
The Humans are highly social beings and live in large colonies. The Humans are the only known species that has the ability to domesticate animals and engage in agriculture. With the invention of advanced techniques and technology the Humans have been able to colonize all the continents.
Through this colonization the humans have infringed on the land where these animals once survived and created a problem of existence for them.
1. Animals may cover a lot of species whereas Humans belong to Homo Sapiens.
2. Most animals walk on all four legs on crawl whereas Humans are Bipeds.
3. Animals tend to be either herbivorous or carnivorous and stick to their diets whereas the Humans are omnivorous.
4. Animals are unable to communicate like Humans do.
5. Animals are endangered due to the Human influence on their environment.
6. Whereas Animals simply survive in their environment, Humans have developed technology & science to change their environment.
What Is The Cognitive Rift Between Humans And Other Animals?
The Answer from Sciencedaily.com:
A Harvard University scientist has synthesized four key differences in human and animal cognition into a hypothesis on what exactly differentiates human and animal thought.
Marc Hauser, professor of psychology, biological anthropology, and organismic and evolutionary biology in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, presents his theory of “humaniqueness,” the factors that make human cognition special.
He presents four evolved mechanisms of human thought that give us access to a wide range of information and the ability to find creative solutions to new problems based on access to this information.
“Animals share many of the building blocks that comprise human thought, but paradoxically, there is a great cognitive gap between humans and animals,” Hauser says. “By looking at key differences in cognitive abilities, we find the elements of human cognition that are uniquely human. The challenge is to identify which systems animals and human share, which are unique, and how these systems interact and interface with one another.”
Recently, scientists have found that some animals think in ways that were once considered unique to humans: For example, some animals have episodic memory, or non-linguistic mathematical ability, or the capacity to navigate using landmarks.
However, despite these apparent similarities, a cognitive gulf remains between humans and animals. Hauser presents four distinguishing ingredients of human cognition, and shows how these capacities make human thought unique.
These four novel components of human thought are the ability to combine and recombine different types of information and knowledge in order to gain new understanding; to apply the same “rule” or solution to one problem to a different and new situation; to create and easily understand symbolic representations of computation and sensory input; and to detach modes of thought from raw sensory and perceptual input.
Earlier scientists viewed the ability to use tools as a unique capacity of humans, but it has since been shown that many animals, such as chimpanzees, also use simple tools.
Differences do arise, however, in how humans use tools as compared to other animals. While animal tools have one function, no other animals combine materials to create a tool with multiple functions. In fact, Hauser says, this ability to combine materials and thought processes is one of the key computations that distinguish human thought.
According to Hauser, animals have “laser beam” intelligence, in which a specific solution is used to solve a specific problem. But these solutions cannot be applied to new situations or to solve different kinds of problem. In contrast, humans have “floodlight” cognition, allowing us to use thought processes in new ways and to apply the solution of one problem to another situation. While animals can transfer across systems, this is only done in a limited way.
“For human beings, these key cognitive abilities may have opened up other avenues of evolution that other animals have not exploited, and this evolution of the brain is the foundation upon which cultural evolution has been built,” says Hauser.
What are the basic differences between the human brain and the animal brain?
The Answer from Answers.com:
All mammals have the same basic brain structures. Therefore, the only thing that would differ between the brains of humans, pigs, dogs, mice, etc. is size and proportion of the different structures of the brain.
The largest part in humans is the cerebrum, which is responsible for thought, behavior, sensation, processing the impulses received by the senses, and things like memory and emotion.
Reptiles have a very small cerebrum and rely mostly on their brain stem, the basic structure of the brain that regulates heartbeat, breathing, etc.
The Answer from Yahoo Answers:
Well there really isn’t anything that sets us apart from animals. And we don’t have bigger brains than all the animals. The brain houses more than just intellect. The elephant has a larger brain (and in all likeliness much better memory) but it doesn’t have the frontal lobe we do.
The frontal lobe of our brain is proportionally larger than any other animal on this planet. It allows for complex language, and abstract thought. Which is really the only difference. Other animals have culture (such as apes, which have a social hierarchy), use tools (apes, some birds), build massive cities (again, proportionally speaking. Think of ants.) etc.
We have the best frontal lobe, but again that doesn’t really set us apart, it just means we are very special in one area. Humans have the incredible ability of abstract thought and very complex language, sharks have the incredible sense of smell that allows them to smell a drop of human blood miles away and hone in on it (but luckily we taste nasty to them).
Bats have such good hearing they can essentially “see” with their ears. etc…
The Answer from Wikipedia encyclopedia:
Humans, known taxonomically as Homo sapiens (Latin: “wise man” or “knowing man”), are the only living species in the Homo genus of bipedal primates in Hominidae, the great ape family.
Anatomically modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago, reaching full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago. Humans have a highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem solving.
This mental capability, combined with an erect body carriage that frees the hands for manipulating objects, has allowed humans to make far greater use of tools than any other living species on Earth. Other higher-level thought processes of humans, such as self-awareness, rationality and sapience, are considered to be defining features of what constitutes a “person”.
Like most higher primates, humans are social animals. However, humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families to nations.
Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society. With individuals widespread in every continent except Antarctica, humans are a cosmopolitan species. As of August 2010 [update], the population of humans was estimated to be about 6.8 billion.
Humans are noted for their desire to understand and influence their environment, seeking to explain and manipulate phenomena through science, philosophy, mythology and religion. This natural curiosity has led to the development of advanced tools and skills, which are passed down culturally; humans are the only species known to build fires, cook their food, clothe themselves, and use numerous other technologies.
The study of humans is the scientific discipline of anthropology.
Are Humans The Worst Species To Inhabit The Earth?
Of course, humans are the worst creatures among all other creatures that inhabit the Earth. One would have thought that the way humans evolved, we would have turned out to be superior to other creatures – with our intelligence and creativity and supposed morality and sense of right and wrong.
But, we just aren’t superior or better than the animals we share this Earth with – we can’t even pretend to be superior with a straight face. We’d like to believe we are superior and better than other creatures, but are we really? Can one make that assertion with any conviction?
Just look at what humans do to each other every day, all around the world, in the name of religion, for land and resources and for political and territorial (colonialism and imperialism) ambition; and sometimes for no reason at all. They kill (by the thousands) each other. Why? We don’t kill each other for food, we don’t have to (like other animals). We kill for things such as religion (which we ourselves came up with).
We kill because we just don’t like each other, the way the other human is or looks or thinks. Can you think of any other animal that kills for those reasons?
Can you think of any other creature that commits genocide? The fact that we are supposedly intelligent and moral does not matter – does it? So, how can humans be better in any way than other animals?
One can say humans have laws and justice and other such creations, but why do we need all of that in the first place? Maybe we need that because we are so wild – wilder than any other animal living on Earth. Being the only animal carrying out genocide, of course, we need courts and laws and rules to maintain order.
What about the contribution of humans to the climate. No one is making the case that we’ve contributed anything positive to Earth’s climate. The discussion is all about how much damage we’ve done thus far and continue to do so. Perhaps, it would end with us humans taking all other animals to the path to doom.
We know the damage we’ve caused to the climate. We, unlike other animals, can comprehend the consequences, yet we choose to obfuscate for short-term comfort/profits. So, of what use is the supposed intelligence – how has it served humans and how does it make humans better than any other creature on this Earth?
The purpose of human creation:
Allah, the Al Mighty, created human beings to do his bidding and to obey his commands. Allah says in the Qur’an: In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. “I have not created Jinn and mankind (for any other purpose) except to worship me” Al Qur’an, Surah Az-Zaryat, Verse :56.
‘Worship’ in this verse means total obedience to Allah’s commands. The Quranic word for worship is ‘Ibadah. Everything we do comes under ‘Ibadah, if we do them for Allah’s sake. Our purpose in life is to please Allah through ‘Ibadah. And so worship is the way to reach success and happiness in life and after death.
The Answer from www.TurnToIslam.com:
Almighty Allah created man in the most complete state and equipped him with superior characteristics. His superiority over many creatures – as shown by his distinctive skills of thought and comprehension, and his readiness to learn and develop cultures – is unquestionable.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. “He it is Who has created you from clay, and then has decreed a (stated) term (for you to die). And there is with Him another determined term (for you to be resurrected), yet you doubt (in the Resurrection). And He is Allah (to be worshipped Alone) in the heavens and on the earth; He knows what you conceal and what you reveal, and He knows what you earn (good or bad).” – Al Qur’an, Surah Al –An’am, Verse 2-3.
In the Name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful.Allah Almighty said in the Noble Al Qur’an: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full Knowledge and is well-acquainted (with all things).” (Al Qur’an, Surah Al-Hujarat, Verse:13)
1) What is the purpose of animals described in Islam?
Allah; almighty god is the Creator, he loves to create all forms of unique creatures, their (animals/plants) diversity and greatness which we learn from observations in daily life and their complexity which we learn from science shows us how great the Creator of life is, the beauty, power and might of our lord, god almighty.
So they are proof’s for the existence of the Creator, signs of the Creator’s handiwork, as be say such beauty order and complexity cannot occur by mere chance.The creatures also serve/worship God by maintaining the Earth for human beings, Allah doesn’t need them to do so, but this is his system, this is how he chooses to govern our reality by creating servants to carry out various tasks.
Apart from maintaining the ecosystem and being a reflection of God’s greatness the other reason is for them is to provide us food and raw materials for us for our own benefit, this is from the mercy of God so we can live and survive.
2) What characteristics do they (animals) have?
They each have a specific task to do which God has created them for, thus they worship God because they are carrying out their individual tasks which they have been specifically designed for. They follow their innate animalistic raw desires all the time where as humans have a balance between desires and the logic.
3) What are the differences between animals and human beings?
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. “And it is He Who has made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others that He may try you in that which He has bestowed on you. Surely your Lord is Swift in retribution, and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” – Al Qur’an, Surah Al-An’am, Verse 165.
The ability to using logic, the human mind, to ponder over things with reason and understanding is the crucial difference between us and animals. Our task is slightly different, ours is to maintain the Earth like a steward would, following the rule of God (Allah SWT) so that peace, goodness and justice will prevail over evil, tyranny and false ideologies.
This has been shown to us through the example of the prophets and the revelations. So human beings have a greater responsibility compared to animals thus we are created differently more advanced, and will be judged regarding that responsibility and our justice on how we managed our affairs on this Earth.
Animals don’t have that grand responsibility and therefore there is no heaven/hell, serious accounting for them in the afterlife. “A wise man works modestly toward the hereafter while a foolish man follows his low desires yet expects blessings from Allah.” – The Prophet Muhammad PBUH, as reported by Shaddad bin Aus.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. If any do deeds of righteousness, — be they male or female–and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them. – Al Qur’an, Surah An-Nisa, Verse:124. (HSH)