Want to know exactly what makes you special? Ok, read on.
Charles Darwin was primarily interested in divergence. He wanted to know what evolutionary pressures made organisms different. In The Descent of Man he spent a considerable amount of time contemplating what it was that made humans unique or special. Comparisons with the “mental faculties” of apes was often used to explore this:
“We must also admit that there is a much wider interval in mental power between one of the lowest fishes, as a lamprey or lancelet, and one of the higher apes, than between an ape and man; yet this immense interval is filled up by numberless gradations.”
- Charles Darwin (The Descent of Man)
This quote reveals two things:
1) Darwin was aware that human intelligence made us completely distinct from the rest of the animal kingdom, even from our closest relatives.
2) Darwin was also aware that this intelligence must have evolved gradually over time from a species that was “more ape-like” (i.e., more like a chimpanzee) than like a modern day human.
However, Darwin did not (and could not) have a grasp on what those exact differences between humans and the great apes were. The behavioural research just wasn’t well developed. In fact, modern day primatologists are still searching. We are getting closer every year. But what do we know right now? Can we make a list of the key intellectual differences between our closest relatives and humans?
Full Article: 5 Human/Chimpanzee Differences
The five-legged starfish (who only has four)
Longs for the leg she once had before.
She stares at the stump where her leg used to be;
Is her leg happy now that it’s free?
Wishing for its return, she pleads and she begs,
Up til she wakes with a brand new leg.
Things aren’t the same, but she still carries on,
Though her new leg just doesn’t belong.
And the five-legged starfish (who only has four)
Still longs for the leg she once had before