Re: What is a hominid?

Ravenheart (
2 Apr 1995 15:13:39 -0400

Personally, I think that human-ness is a recent enough aberration in the
million years of evolution that we are giving it too much credence. A
variety of hominids developed, and then within a rather short span of time
one transcended. I think that slightly different selective pressures
could have made one of our old competitors the victor in our stead, and
he/she would now be wondering what vital element we lacked that resulted
in our extinction.
My brother and I just finished a discussion on the "uniqueness" of
humans. It is often held in sociological circles that man's supremacy
comes from socialization and use of symbols. However, we agreed that most
symbols are stumbled over rather than created, and then brought into
common usage. Hence, there is little deliberation in our use of symbols.
In a similar manner, a dog learns that bringing the leash to the owner
conveys a need to immediately use the backyard. As far as socialization,
I think that dog owners would universally assign their pets many human
characteristics and an honored place in the family unit. Even wolves seem
to have a clear social order. These thoughts lead me to believe that the
measure of human-ness is not a matter of a line in the sand, but rather a
matter of degree. We have learned and developed quickly, and that has put
us in a superior position. However, I don't think that the race is over,
nor that we have somehow won the prize of special uniqueness.