5 Unbelievable Facts That Make Humans Greater Than Other Animals

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Humans are the most dominant species on the planet, and they’ve been so since they emerged as a distinct group around 150,000 years ago. This should be common knowledge, but there are some things about us that most people still don’t know or understand, even though we see them every day. Here are 5 unbelievable facts that make humans greater than other animals that you can easily observe and verify yourself!


1) We have bigger brains

As a species, humans have larger brains than any other animal. A human brain is about seven times bigger and 50 times heavier than that of a chimpanzee. The human brain accounts for 2 percent of body weight, yet it uses 20 percent of all energy consumed. We don’t need sleep. Some animals, such as dolphins and giraffes, get by on just two hours or less of sleep per day. But even though most humans sleep an average of eight hours per night, they don’t necessarily need to do so—at least not in order to survive. In 2014, researchers at Harvard Medical School found that some people could function just fine after five hours of sleep per night for several days in a row. The findings, published in Current Biology, were based on two experiments. In one experiment, 16 healthy volunteers completed two sessions of behavioral testing on six consecutive days. They slept an average of 7.1 hours a night before their first session and 4.8 hours a night after their fourth session. After completing each test session, researchers asked participants how well they had performed on various cognitive tasks; those who got more sleep consistently rated themselves as having done better than those who slept less. In a second experiment, 10 people spent three consecutive nights in a sleep lab. Each night, researchers woke participants at 1:00am and asked them to rate their performance on tests given that morning and again at 8:00am. After spending about 5 hours in bed each night, participants rated themselves as doing worse on tests when they were fully rested than when they had slept for less time. However, cognitive performance assessments showed no difference between being well-rested or not. We’re not made to be alone. Social animals—such as bees, monkeys, and humans—need friends. As it turns out, loneliness is more than just an emotional state; it’s a physiological one, too. A study published in 2013 found that lonely people are more likely to have high levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a chemical produced by our bodies in response to stress. IL-6 has been shown to impair communication between cells, which may increase a person’s risk of developing illnesses such as cancer and diabetes. Social isolation can be detrimental to health in part because of how much we rely on our relationships with others. According to a 2010 meta-analysis published in PLOS Medicine, loneliness can increase a person’s risk of early death by more than 50 percent. Loneliness is often an issue for older adults who live alone; it has been linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety, worse physical function and quality of life, and lower immune function.


2) We use tools to adapt

It’s a misconception that humans are smarter than other animals because we’re able to use tools. It’s actually much more powerful to say that humans are smarter than other animals because we use tools. In truth, many animals have been observed using objects in their environment to solve problems – from birds who drop nuts and rocks into the water from above to get fish, to elephants who sharpen sticks as weapons and backscratchers. It’s true that humans have used tools for a much longer time than other animals, but our species is also very adept at using tools in new ways. We adapt and create new uses for old objects. For example, humans were able to move beyond sticks as weapons when they realized they could use them to hunt more effectively. Sometimes a tool isn’t just something that makes life easier, it can be a necessity – humans have been observed creating tools out of everything from rubber bands to knitting needles when in situations without ready access to actual tools. We are capable of feats other animals aren’t. Many humans don’t realize just how powerful they are compared to most animals. We hold records in swimming, running, and lifting, and every year more athletes push these limits even further. Our species is incredibly versatile – from a young age we have certain skills that other animals lack. While a baby lion may be able to run at 30 kilometers per hour shortly after birth, it doesn’t walk for its first few weeks because it lacks balance and coordination. By contrast, a human child starts walking on their own at 10 months old and can run by 18 months old without falling over. We are adaptable, and that’s what makes us greater than other animals. We are able to survive in an incredibly wide range of climates and conditions. There are still places on Earth where no humans have set foot. From Iceland to Greenland, from Alaska to Siberia, our species is able to travel far further than any other animal and thrive in almost any environment we find ourselves in – including space!


3) We can communicate complex ideas

The length of our time on Earth isn’t as special as you might think. We are among trillions of species that have lived and died over millennia. It’s what we’ve done with it that is truly awe-inspiring. Most animals communicate simple needs or emotions, often through grunts or visual cues—even then, it’s not always clear whether other animals understand each other at all. But humans have an unparalleled ability to communicate complex ideas through a variety of methods including body language, writing, and speech. This can be attributed to our advanced brains (compared to those in other species), which use more sophisticated patterns of thinking and information processing than any other animal on Earth.

Our advancement as a species has come not only from our large brains but also through our unique culture. We’re able to pass on techniques and ideas—as well as ways of thinking—through spoken language, writing, and even art. A recent study revealed that people in different cultures have essentially identical brain wiring – perhaps explaining why we can understand each other despite growing up with vastly different upbringings.

We possess self-awareness. When humans look into a mirror, they recognize that what they see is themselves, which shows they possess a degree of self-awareness that most animals do not.  This awareness allows us to think about ourselves and our place in the world – another key factor in our evolution as a species. Our brains are wired for social interaction and we’re able to build relationships with other people unlike any other animal on Earth. This has allowed us to develop complex social structures and societies across different cultures around the world – something no other species can claim.

It also means we have empathy, allowing us to care about others and their feelings. In fact, studies show babies as young as six months old will begin crying when they hear another baby cry. Human babies are also able to imitate facial expressions from an early age – perhaps because it helps them better understand how other people feel or react in certain situations.

We have greater physical abilities than many animals: The human body is capable of some extraordinary things—and while some may seem like little more than party tricks (like tongue twisters), there are several physical feats that only humans can accomplish without training or special equipment.


4) We create art and write music

You can train a dog to sit on command or a cat to jump through hoops, but they’ll never create their own music. We’re humans. The things we make with our hands and minds are far greater than any natural animal behavior. No amount of barking or purring could ever compare to human creations such as Shakespeare’s sonnets, Van Gogh’s paintings, or Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. At times, we may not seem it, but for that very reason it makes us greater than other animals—we don’t just have the physical strength and animal instincts: We have something more valuable: Creativity!

What animals can you name that have written a book or created a painting? None of them. The human race is unique for our ability to invent, create, and write music. It’s also what makes us greater than other animals in another way: We possess imagination! Imagination is what allows us to see and feel something completely different from our own reality. Sometimes we create art about real things that have happened to us in our lives or others’ experiences, but most of it we just make up out of thin air with no regard for reality whatsoever! How many animals could ever do that? Where are their epic novels and whimsical fables? Think about it…think really hard…now where did you put your smartphone again?

Oh, we also fly and live on different planets. The point is that humans are so much greater than any other animal on Earth. Don’t believe me? Well, think about it like this: In terms of life span, humans have gotten to be pretty old compared to animals in general—over 100 years! But we’re still nowhere near what scientists have theorized some alien species could live for, who might be able to live 1,000 or even 10,000 years! That alone makes us greater than anything else in existence…or does it? What do you think?

I mean, I’ve never met an alien before…I’ve never even seen one on TV. All I know is that they must exist somewhere out there beyond our solar system, because if they didn’t then how would they have come up with a concept as complex as time travel?!? It’s all very confusing to me, but don’t worry; if you ever meet an alien someday, just ask them yourself! Just don’t forget your smartphone when you go visit them; without it you’ll never find their planet again. And remember: They’re probably way older than us too! So don’t get too cocky about being better than everyone else just yet; remember there’s always someone better out there somewhere…and maybe someday we’ll meet them too!


5) We solve problems collectively

All animals other than humans solve problems individually, in isolation. For example, if a pack of wild dogs is chasing after a gazelle, every dog will try to tackle and eat it. It’s every man (or dog) for himself. But when humans come together we’re able to amplify our ability to solve problems exponentially through communication and collective problem-solving. If one person comes up with an innovative idea to chase after a gazelle together as a group, that could help you catch more gazelles or save your entire species from extinction during times of famine.

We have an unprecedented capacity for innovation: From primitive man to modern man, we’ve always been an innovative species. We create technologies that help us catch more food, hunt more efficiently, and make better tools to allow us to access resources in new ways. Innovation helped our early ancestors thrive when they came across harsher environments and other species they needed to compete with for resources like food. It has allowed us to survive ice ages and adapt to every environment on Earth. With today’s growing global community, sharing knowledge through technology means that every invention is available instantly to anyone around the world with a cell phone or a computer. If you were stranded alone on a desert island without any modern technology, how would you try to survive?

We can solve problems that no other species has ever been able to solve: Just look at our astounding progress in medicine. Diseases that used to be deadly are now curable and even preventable, giving us longer life spans. We have extended our life expectancy by nearly 30 years since just 1900.


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