We are human... They are animals... How do you tell the difference?

United States
May 3, 2008 4:48pm CST
I have seen videos on you tube of an elephant painting a picture. I have seen chimpanzees inventing and using tools. I have heard parrots speak. I have seen dogs befriending cats and have heard of crows who play by sliding down on icy roofs over and over again and buffalos who will repeatedly run and slide on icy fields just for the pleasure of the sliding... It seems like the animals do a lot of what we do... What is it that makes us different from the animals? What does it mean to be a human being?
7 responses
@goergineo (1498)
• Jordan
3 May 08
Human can not consider as animal at all. there have been a big debate about that. the question that always appears is: should human considered as a part of nature (evolution) or above nature (creation. I still do not have an answer for that. I think our unique mental, spiritual, speech, and others apart us from animals. That is what I think.
2 people like this
• United States
4 May 08
We are indeed unique according to us... that is for sure. grins.
• Indonesia
8 May 08
First, I think animals don’t create religions. Second, human beings are born naked and a normal person would have clothes on his / her body. Animals, well, they already have the feathers or skins as their ‘clothes’. Third, human creates technology, improve many things and makes researches, but animals inherit their skills or knowledge just the same from their ancestors. Four, human minds are complicated, plus the moral versus immoral state of mind. Some created complicated rules, just to be broken later. Animals however, have more simplicity, they only know they have to fight to survive, but when they are full, they stop wanting more. But human beings are different, even when it is not about survival, some of them can use any dirty way to get any aim and never feel enough. They can pass any law that benefits them but brings hell on earth. I never found animals doing that. Fifth, the earlier human beings got married and some have still followed the rules of the ancestors. But nowadays, I think many people have followed the way of animals. By the way, I never heard that animals had caused any global warming. Humans are the ones that have caused it. Are human beings better than animals? Yes, for some cases. No, for some other cases. So, what does it mean to become human beings? It still returns to each individual, what kind of human being they want to be? How they answer it, would be how they live it.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 May 08
I like your comments here as they are very detailed and logical. I wonder though. Would a religion be based on one practice or many? Is it possible that the bird as it is greeting the morning sunlight and singing or flapping its wings out to catch the sun's rays is doing its own form of worship... One wonders if all animals do this too. It is true, animals do not have clothes. They are now stating that birds learn language by "babbling" and that apes and chimps must learn how to care for the young by learning what to do from other apes and chimps and that socialization is needed... Does this go in line with the thought that learnings are inherited? We create technology. That is true. We do have complicated rules... There are some animas that may also have rules... We just do not know. Your comment about animals being satisfied is a true one. Also true is your assessment that some of the laws that are passed by man have made things difficult here. And about marriage and about global warming, and here I would add , polution to.... I would say that indeed we humans have done things that animals have not done... I think you are right... There are some human beings who are more and some who are less than animals in their behaviors. Thanks for posting here. I appreciae it.
• United States
10 May 08
Firstly I must say that the following comment is more about the whole string than the particular comment that was previous ...... Many years ago I heard a veterinarian say that because animals could not talk they therefore could not feel pain. He used this concept to allow himself to operate on pets without using anything to kill pain. I do not believe that mute people don't feel pain. Or that a person in a wheelchair isn't human anymore. In my life I have observed similar characteristics in all creatures. Presently I realize that I have comunicated "telepathically" or with body language or smells with a great varity of creatures; on a one to one basis with a spider, a mouse, and many dogs. I've observed racoons yaking away with each other, and get quite hostile towards us humans for not permitting thier scavageing parties. As far as rules or laws go I've witnessed great wars between red ants and black ants wherein captives where took and marched off in single file presumably to become slaves. One day about 8 years ago I discovered a mouse had made a nest in a clear plastic container that I used for storage of upholstery cotton padding on my back porch. I realize that I was only able to beat the mouse at draw (I slammed the lid back on before she escaped) because she had two babies hanging from her. So I used some masking tape to secure the lid on and put a little breathing hole in it and brought my new pet around onto the front porch. Once there I set the "cage" down where I could keep my eye on it while I went about my business. I noticed that every time the mouse thought I wasn't looking she would throw her shoulder at it with her whole weight behind and try to shove the lid off. After a bit of this I said "lets go show the neighbors" and she stuck her head out like pleasantly excited, her expression was unmistakabley "where are we going". When I showed my neighbor he said something about how he would like to feed the critter to his dog and the mouse dove deep into the cotton visabley shaken. I'd swear that mouse understood what was being said! So much so that now I joke about how Dogs don't let on that they know how to read, least we give them a job or send them down to the unemployment line. Just remember no animals drowned in the big tidal wave in indochina; they had already left for the high ground! Euroldclassic
• Indonesia
10 May 08
thanks for reminding me about pollution, whiteheron, you're right, humans caused it. I should say that animals don't recognize religion and the way they praise or worship the Creator would be the universal way of creatures. However, I think humans insisted on the 'righteousness' of religions rather than focusing on pure worshipping. We only believe that the religion we hold now is the best for ourselves, but which one is really the real way to the Creator? Some people would rather emphasize on the religion, not focusing on the Creator. I don't think animals would do this. They have simpler way and simpler mind for worshipping. About communicating, well, Euroldclassic did make the point. I believe that animals basically understand each other and the nature, better than we understand them. Just mention the big tsunami and earthquake happened back then, the tourists that rode on elephants in Thailand were saved from the disaster. Why? Because the elephants quickly ran away to higher hills for a safety. Nobody even awared that tsunami would happen just in a sudden like that day. Where were the rests? Being swept away by the tsunami, right? So that's why I said that humans are not better than animals for some cases. They inherit the knowledge very well, but most humans are having no clue. However, humans still try to develop the learning, inventing some new technology, in hope for a better future, but whether it would solve all the problems or not, the next history would answer it later. About the inheritage of learning, I have to admit, most of us, humans have lost our old knowledges that were well known by our ancestors. Have anyone been able to explain how the stonehenge has been there? Or how the ancients got the knowledge about building the pyramids? Or how the first people keep in touch with the Most High One? We only know some traces being left in literatures or by the words of mouth, but we have lost most of the knowledge. However, the animals mostly got the knowledge (what we called 'instinct') on how to survive and to communicate with the nature. They know where to go (in harmony) when it is winter, and where to return when it is summer. Humans ... stay at the place. What the most recent human generations have done were somehow the proof that we had lost the sign and the knowledge of our ancestors.
1 person likes this
@fifileigh (3619)
• United States
5 May 08
-humans walk upright on 2 feet, while animals either walk on 4 feet or walk crouched. -humans have a brain to think and know between right or wrong whether they choose to use it is up to them, but animals dont think and live on instincts. -humans can talk, animals communicate in other ways.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 May 08
You did make a nice try here. I thank you for it... I though wonder what you will think of the following: There are other animals who walk on two feet upright... birds for example and also bears, apes, kangaroos, etc. can walk on two legs and not be crouched. Animals have a brain. If you do not think they know the difference between right from wrong, then watch a dog look at you after it has been bad... Those eyes and the whole body language illustrates it... Animals can learn so they are not just living on instincts... the chimp that spoke sign language, etc. They also make decisions about what to do when their environment changes and this seems to rely on more than instinct. Animals may"Talk" in their own languages... There is research now that indicates that elephants communicate over talk long distances sometimes using sounds that we humans can not hear about danger, food, and even the status of the females in the troop. Researchers have found that there is "talking" going on... the communication of an idea via sound. And there are birds who "Talk" just as we do and some of them seem to know what they are talking about.
@fifileigh (3619)
• United States
6 May 08
it is still different. animals have IQ of young kids...they have babies' brain. and they think mostly on instinct more than thinking. they also communicate like babies. they make noises to get your attention like meowing, barking, or babies' incessant crying. birds walk 2 feet but they also fly and they have feathers. there feet is different. other animals who walk on 2 feet are still crouched, apes. kangaroo hops. bears mostly walk on 4 feet. i dont think they walk on 2 feet for a long time, maybe to reach for something, unless u r referring to Smokey the Bear.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 May 08
You are great... Thanks for your coments here. I liked the reference to Smokey!
@Lakota12 (42681)
• United States
4 May 08
we dont have fun all the time looks like the animals do lol
1 person likes this
• United States
4 May 08
I think that they do have fun unless they are trying to escape being some other animaal's lunch... I think that perhaps we are a little lucky.
@Lakota12 (42681)
• United States
4 May 08
yes we are until ya think about drive by shootings and ya never know when it will be you and the animals have a warning system in place so not many get ate! but then some need to eat and some need cleaning out so many so life goes around
1 person likes this
• Spain
12 May 08
the most of the things that you mentioned are teached to animals by humans and this is the difference between us and them, we are the most intelligent animals but doesn't mean that we are perfect, that's why we make wars and we kill without a need. Having a better brain has a lot of consequencies and it's a big responsibility and we are doing very bad, we are destroing the planet and making senseless wars...somebody has to stop this!!! In US the pollution is very high because they refuse to observe the Kyoto rules, I hope the next president will do something in that way and stop just thinking about who will be the next "enemy of freedom"
1 person likes this
• United States
13 May 08
Thanks Sarduspater for your response.
@naseefu (1607)
• India
6 May 08
The difference is the elephant painting only what the human teached them.they cannot do any painting themselves.Parrots can speak.But only the words we had tought them.All the cases we can do some thing ourselves.They cannot,that is the difference.Thanks Whiteheron
1 person likes this
@irdsm1 (288)
• United States
3 May 08
Humans ARE animals technically speaking. What separates humans from animals is self distinction. Thinking about your life, your situation, what you want and what you need, and making plans to attain it. Being aware of your individuality, contemplating life and its meaning. Without sentience a human is a big chimpanzee.I do not believe animals such as chimpanzees or elephants have sentience. The animal you saw was trained to draw a picture of an elephant. Yes, it is an amazing feat, but it wasn't a self mural or a drawing of a loved one, it was trained strokes. I doubt the elephant knew or identified with what it was drawing, and maybe that is what makes us "human" Dan
1 person likes this
• United States
4 May 08
I like your words here. I like your description of the difference as it was well written and consistant in its thought process. I though am not quite sure that we are the only ones with that self awareness. It appears that other animals may have that ability too... At least there are reports of it in animals. It may be that we believe that we alone have this self awareness because we are able to understand our own language and thus we have a way to test it in our species... I am remembering now a girl who wound up in a board and care for developmentally disabled girls where the manager of the home was unaware that the client was speaking in Cambodian. She thought she was speaking in "gibberish" because she was not speaking in English. We may well have as much sophistication or the lack of it as that careprovider... we are equally ethnocentric or in this case humanocentric.