Re: Are we "special"?

Rohinton Collins (
2 Dec 1996 15:59:06 GMT

John Waters <> wrote in article
> Consider the little matter of human multi-age broods of
> young. Apes have single-age broods. In fact, the human
> species is the only species of mammal to rear multi-age
> broods of infants to maturity. Come to that, they are the
> only species of animal to raise multi-age broods to
> maturity. Enough to ensure putting them in a separate
> Phylum, if they were another animal. But they are not. They
> are not allowed to be different. It would be politically
> incorrect.

Oh God, help us ;-)

I think that you should get together with Paul, John and form your own
little 'Science based on bullshit' newsgroup. Oh and you could always ask
Ed Conrad to join you, since you mentioned his name.

I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth replying to your posts at all John.
You insist on including unsubstantiated rubbish and mortifying irrelevance.

Your above words remind me of Julian Huxley, grandson of Thomas Henry
Huxley, who suggested that mankind's *special* intellectual and social
qualities should be recognised formally by assigning Homo sapiens to a new
grade - the Psychozoan. Separate from the other Kingdoms. Shocking stuff, I
know, with absolutely no good reason apart from the fact that he himself
was a member of this species, and deemed himself very *special* indeed.

I thought this sort of thinking had been left behind long ago by the
scientific community. Not so, unless Paul and John are not members of the
scientific community.

Get this into your head you two:

Hominids - including modern humans - are in the Kingdom Animalia. We are
not fungi or plants or bacteria.

We are in the Phylum Chordata because we are vertebrates.

We are in the Class Mammalia because we incubate our young in the womb and
suckle them and have fur (among other things - aot).

We are in the Order primates because we share a common ancestry with
prosimians and anthropoids who have nails and forward-pointing eyes (aot).

We are in the Super Family Hominoidea because we share common ancestry with
the anthropoid apes who bear single young, have no tail, and where
childhood is extended (aot).

We are in the Family Hominidae because of a bipedal locomotary adaptation,
encephalisation, and a further increase in childhood (aot).

We are in the Genus Homo because of a marked increase in brain size and
more generalised dentition (this is a fairly vague and controversial, and
perhaps arbitrary distinction).

We are in the Species sapiens being the only extant hominid species left in

Grasp the point, do not pick. I haven't bothered to give the complete
description of features which determine classification - if you want this
then go read a book.