Are humans animals? Here are some key points
You know, as with many things, there are nuanced perspectives to this “humans as animals” notion! Straight up biologically speaking, yes scientists classify us Homo sapiens as the only extant members of our genus Homo, which puts us firmly in the animal kingdom as a species of primate.
But man, we sure possess some distinctive qualities compared to our fellow feathered, furred and finned friends! Things like advanced communication skills, innovation driven problem solving, self-awareness and meta-cognition seem to set our cerebral capacities apart, for better or worse. Here are a few key points on whether humans can be considered animals:
Scientifically, we classify organisms based on taxonomic hierarchy going from domains to kingdoms. As mammals, we share the kingdom Animalia with all other animals that are multicellular, eukaryotic and lack cell walls. So biologically, humans are classified as animals.
On a molecular level, our DNA shares over 95% identity with chimpanzees and we have many orthologous genes across species. Physiologically too, we have organs, tissues and biochemical functions similar to mammals and other animals. This suggests strong evolutionary continuity.
Humans have instincts like self-preservation and fear responses. We also have drives for behaviors ensuring reproduction and caring for offspring. While complex, our behavior is governed significantly by instinct and innate biological imperatives as it is in other animal species.
However, humans display exponentially more advanced symboling, problem-solving creativity and self-aware cognition capacities compared to other animals. Our prefrontal cortex facilitates higher reasoning, hypothetical thinking, planning, tool use and creation of art/narrative culture.