18 Apr 2022


What Makes Us Human?

Format: APA

Academic level: High School

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 627

Pages: 1

Downloads: 0

The eternal question of all mankind is what makes us human. There are a lot of issues to consider when responding to this all-time relevant question: biology (genetics in particular), psychology, sociology, and learning. To specify, such nuances as our cognitive ability and the size of human brain should be taken into account. So, is it the natural evolutions that makes us unique, or are there any other factors to keep in mind?

No doubt, it’s not the genetic peculiarities alone that make us so different. The first feature which really distinguish a man from, let’s say, a monkey is culture. With the development of language and technological progress, people became more original and advanced creatures than any other mammals. 

It’s time to jumpstart your paper!

Delegate your assignment to our experts and they will do the rest.

Get custom essay

Moving to the cognitive abilities, as it was mentioned above, language and speech is another outstanding feature of people. These two opportunities led to the rapid progress in cultural sense. Darwin thought that this opportunity to communicate along with getting fire is those two crucial factors that make us humans. Both of them stand for the overall intelligence. Sure, “deliberate communication of one form or another started a long time ago in animals” (Oppenheimer, 2007:107), but only humans reached success in this field. Today society has achieved the fifth level of cognitive ability. And that is not the limit. To sum up, Pasternak names four attributes of human: bipedalism, flexible thumb, power of voice, and larger brain. These factors in particular explain our intellectual advantage.

Today, there is enough data available on humans and other species of animals. DNA is a biological factor which makes us different. In fact, all leaving creatures have unique DNA. However, only the DNA of Homo sapiens is absolutely unrepeatable. It was proved in the study conducted by Pollard et al. (2006) that 49 regions of DNA sequence humans possess are similar to those mammals have, but they evolve very fast. So, from biological point of view, humans dominate this world due to their extraordinary level of development. We are the only living creatures capable of expressing the passion to knowledge and capable of learning. The evolved genetic variations include a vivid potential for human cognitive originality and other exclusive characteristics. At the same time, numerous researches proved that art and scientific abilities demonstrated by human beings “cannot all be the direct result of natural selection” (Bodmer, 2007:10).

The way people move, their gestures and mimics also make them unique. Since serious modifications in our organism occurred, we began to walk by two feet instead of crawling. Despite it is a physical feature only, it is considered one of the basic keys to the question “What makes us humans?” The thing is that tiny adaptive genomic changes in the DNA lead to the corresponding growth of human organs. Physical and behavioral adaptations made it possible for the mankind to survive under any conditions. The most affected organ is brain.

Coming back to the question of culture, there is another interrelated phenomenon which is known as religion. No mammals obey any moral or ethical rules. They just exist to survive while people try to coexist in harmony by finding other ways to feed and grow rather than eating each other. Still, “almost all genetic functions interact with many other functions” (Bodmer, 2007:14), so culture and religion are the results of biological evolution. The overriding importance of culture cannot be ignored as Neanderthals could be counted human beings too if they were smarter. Their brains were larger so far. But “the obstetric risks of large heads were limiting” (Oppenheimer, 2007:103). Their goals were limited to the ways to survive. Being human involves broader concepts.

To conclude, it is easier to list the features that make us human. People have a passion for studying, finding new solutions, observing the world around; they have a sense of humor as well as many other feelings unknown for the rest of the animals; they believe in God or group of gods (which means they have a certain religion); they are always on the stage of cultural development. Many scientists claim that the only significant feature which really makes us different is our speech. But, to my mind, the greatest gap is that humans live, not exist.


Bodmer, W. (2007). What Makes Us Human? – An Introdction. In Pasternak, C., ed. Oxford: One World Publications .

Oppenheimer, S. (2007). What Makes Us Human? – Our Ancestors and the Weather. In 

Pasternak, C., ed. Oxford: One World Publications .

Pollard, K.S., et al. (2006). An RNA Gene Expressed During Cortical Development Evolved Rapidly in Humans. Nature 443, 167-172

Cite this page

Select style:


StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). What Makes Us Human?.


Related essays

We post free essay examples for college on a regular basis. Stay in the know!

17 Sep 2023

Personal Leadership Philosophy

Personal Leadership Philosophy _ Introduction_ My college professor once told me that, “Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.” The above quote by C.S Lewis...

Words: 1773

Pages: 7

Views: 379

17 Sep 2023

Social Contract Theory: Moral and Political Obligations

Social Contract Theory Social Contract theory is a theory which says that one's moral and political obligations rely on an agreement, the contract existing among them in society. Some people hold a belief that we...

Words: 332

Pages: 1

Views: 460

17 Sep 2023

The Tenets of Logical Positivism

Logical positivist has been known to always been known to deny the dependability of metaphysics and traditional philosophy thus arguing that all most of the problems found in philosophy are meaningless and without...

Words: 287

Pages: 1

Views: 88

17 Sep 2023

Moral Behaviour Is Necessary For Happiness

Introduction Ethics is a broad field within the larger field of moral philosophy that aims at distinguishing between good and bad. It sets the standard by which people in a society should behave towards each...

Words: 1940

Pages: 7

Views: 167

17 Sep 2023

Social Contract Theories of Hobbles and Rousseau

The social contract theory is based on the context that in the beginning, human beings coexisted in a system that was nature-driven. The society was at least less oppressive, and policy-oriented legal regimes were...

Words: 816

Pages: 3

Views: 97

17 Sep 2023

Applying Six-Step Model to the Personal Problem

Since I was born until today, my life has been full of decision-making and problem-solving as I attempt to come out with the best solutions. However, sometimes, I realize that most decisions I made are affecting me...

Words: 1428

Pages: 5

Views: 120


Running out of time?

Entrust your assignment to proficient writers and receive TOP-quality paper before the deadline is over.