Humans are nowhere near as special as we like to think (BBC Earth)

So apparently humans are not as unique as we thought. More and more evidence points to the fact that we are not as unique as we thought. “…and that all the differences are differences of degree, not of kind.”
This is so profound!

Humans are nowhre near as special as we like to think (BBC Earth)

Some interesting quotes:

  • The long-held view that chimps are selfish and mean is no longer acceptable, says de Waal. “People say that morality comes from God, from religion,” he says, but we can clearly see the roots of morality in many other species.
  • We once viewed ourselves as the only creatures with emotions, morality, and culture. But the more we investigate the animal kingdom, the more we discover that is simply not true. Many scientists are now convinced that all these traits, once considered the hallmarks of humanity, are also found in animals.
  • From the beginning of her time in Africa, Jane Goodall saw strikingly human-like behaviours. In her early research she referred to the chimpanzees as “he” and “she” rather than “it”. She also gave them names, something previously unheard of in academia, and began to describe their unique personalities.
  • Tool-use had been considered a uniquely human ability
  • Jane also discovered they ate meat: they were not vegetarians as had been assumed. And to get it they were using tools. She saw chimpanzees fishing for termites with twigs.
  • We also know that they are extremely good at reading each other’s facial expressions. So are monkeys.
  • Chimps’ social skills are the basis for another behaviour once thought to be uniquely human: morality.
  • A 2013 study found that they also know the value of cooperation. They will share food even if there is nothing obviously in it for them. The study found that they will split a reward equally, just as humans do. In one task chimpanzees shared bananas in the same way that humans share money.
  • Chimps also have some understanding of human minds. They can tell the difference between a person who is unwilling to give them food and a person who is unable to so.
  • Chimpanzees even have culture. They aren’t composing symphonies but culture can be defined as passing on knowledge, habits and transmission from one generation to the next.

Read more at BBC Earth

Funny relevant video: Capuchin monkey fairness experiment

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