Humans think of themselves as special but we’re just another animal

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Even though you are reading this on a sophisticated electronic device, you are an animal. That’s the most radical idea to come out of Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking studies of evolution, and even today, it still freaks people out.

I know this because last week I wrote an article about all the pieces of evidence that suggest humans have become domestic animals, which I thought was a fairly non-controversial claim. Among evolutionary biologists, it certainly is. Just as agriculture and a sedentary life have changed the genomes of dogs, cows, sheep and chickens, they have also changed ours. But after the article posted, many people responded to say that they didn’t like my casual use of the phrase “domestic animal” to describe Homo sapiens.

But what else would we be? Are we exempt from the same forces that have changed our fellow animals on farms and in cities? Does a sedentary, domestic life behind walls exert evolutionary pressures on sheep and pigs, but not on humans? If you accept the precepts of evolutionary theory, where environmental pressures drive natural selection, obviously not. Environments are environments, regardless of whether we built them or not.

Read the full, original story: Yes, humans are animals — So just get over yourselves, Homo sapiens

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