• Question: Why are we humans and not an animal or a insect?

    Asked by asiansupreme to Anil, Blanka, Cees, Emma, Mike on 28 Jun 2012. This question was also asked by nadona2001, issi2001, persionsupreme.
    • Photo: Emma Trantham

      Emma Trantham answered on 28 Jun 2012:

      Hmmm this is a bit of a tricky question to answer…

      Humans are humans because the human race evolved from apes several million years ago.

      Evolution occurs because in any population there will be some differences in DNA, (caused in part by mutation in the DNA) and some of these differences will give the organisms that have them an advantage. The advantage will mean they produce more offspring which also have this DNA difference and so the difference spreads through the population. This happens over a very long period of time and can eventually make two species that evolved from the same original ancestor, but in different ways, look very different (which is why we don’t look the same as modern day apes).

      But why is the consciousness that is me human, and not an ant? Now that is a very deep question and I don’t think I have the answer other than to say luck!

    • Photo: Blanka Sengerova

      Blanka Sengerova answered on 28 Jun 2012:

      Actually a human is also an animal, a mammal more precisely, but that may be me being pedantic.

      As for your actual question, I would add to Emma’s explanation that some of the features of our cells that make us ‘human’ are probably to do with which genes (that’s the bits of information on our DNA) are expressed. Genes code (are recipes) for the formation of proteins, but not all proteins are expressed in all cells. So I would hazard a guess that many proteins are similar or even almost identical in us and in some other animals, but some may only be expressed in humans and some in other animals.