Sociology BA LLB for Sociology Notes

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Human & Animal Societies

Need of society for animals and humans

Humans and animals both live in society not as their choice between isolation and society but because they are genetically programmed to be living in society. There are of couse exceptional cases in which humans or animals live away from society but in majority of the cases the evolution have made it this way.

Chances of survival in society is much more present than in isolation. This is true for humans and animals.

After survival the second greatest human instinct is for reproduction. It is easier to find reproduction partners in society than in isolation.


It has been proven through scientific research than human beings and animals learn from experiences of other social mates. This means that if one lives in group then it gives more opportunity for one to learn than when living alone. People and animals learn from each other.

Biological difference between humans and animals

Ability to Speak
The larynx ( voice box) is located at the lower throat in humans than in chimps, one of several features that enable human speech. Human ancestors evolved a descended larynx roughly 350,000 years ago. We also possess a descended hyoid bone — this horseshoe-shaped bone below the tongue, unique in that it is not attached to any other bones in the body, allows us to articulate words when speaking.

Upright Posture
Humans are unique among the primates in how walking fully upright is our chief mode of locomotion. This frees our hands up for using tools. Unfortunately, the changes made in our pelvis for moving on two legs, in combination with babies with large brains, makes human childbirth unusually dangerous compared with the rest of the animal kingdom. A century ago, childbirth was a leading cause of death for women. The lumbar curve in the lower back, which helps us maintain our balance as we stand and walk, also leaves us vulnerable to lower back pain and strain.

We look naked compared to our hairier ape cousins. Surprisingly, however, a square inch of human skin on average possesses as much hair-producing follicles as other primates, or more — humans often just have thinner, shorter, lighter hairs.

Contrary to popular misconceptions, humans are not the only animals to possess opposable thumbs — most primates do. (Unlike the rest of the great apes, we don’t have opposable big toes on our feet.) What makes humans unique is how we can bring our thumbs all the way across the hand to our ring and little fingers. We can also flex the ring and little fingers toward the base of our thumb. This gives humans a powerful grip and exceptional dexterity to hold and manipulate tools with.

Extraordinary Brains
Without a doubt, the human trait that sets us apart the most from the animal kingdom is our extraordinary brain. Humans don’t have the largest brains in the world — those belong to sperm whales. We don’t even have the largest brains relative to body size — many birds have brains that make up more than 8 percent of their body weight, compared to only 2.5 percent for humans. Yet the human brain, weighing only about 3 pounds when fully grown, give us the ability to reason and think on our feet beyond the capabilities of the rest of the animal kingdom, and provided the works of Mozart, Einstein and many other geniuses.

  • The human brain is the largest brain of all vertebrates relative to body size
  • It weighs about 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms)
  • The brain makes up about 2 percent of a human’s body weight

Humans may be called “naked apes,” but most of us wear clothing, a fact that makes us unique in the animal kingdom, save for the clothing we make for other animals. The development of clothing has even influenced the evolution of other species — the body louse, unlike all other kinds, clings to clothing, not hair.

The human ability to control fire would have brought a semblance of day to night, helping our ancestors to see in an otherwise dark world and keep nocturnal predators at bay. The warmth of the flames also helped people stay warm in cold weather, enabling us to live in cooler areas. And of course it gave us cooking, which some researchers suggest influenced human evolution — cooked foods are easier to chew and digest, perhaps contributing to human reductions in tooth and gut size.

Turns out, the cheek-reddening reaction is a universal human response to social attention. Everyone does it some more than others. Common blushing triggers include meeting someone important, receiving a compliment and experiencing a strong emotion in a social situation.

Blush biology works like this: Veins in the face dilate, causing more blood to flow into your cheeks and producing a rosy complexion. However, scientists are stumped as to why all that happens, or what function it serves.

Long Childhoods
Humans must remain in the care of their parents for much longer than other living primates. The question then becomes why, when it might make more evolutionary sense to grow as fast as possible to have more offspring. The explanation may be our large brains, which presumably require a long time to grow and learn.

Life after Children
Most animals reproduce until they die, but in humans, females can survive long after ceasing reproduction. This might be due to the social bonds seen in humans — in extended families, grandparents can help ensure the success of their families long after they themselves can have children

How odd that sadness causes water to spill from our eyes! Among all animals, we alone cry tears of emotion.Not only do they serve the purpose of communicating feelings of distress, scientists believe tears also carry certain undesirable hormones and other proteins that are produced during periods of stress out of the body, which may explain the cathartic effect of “a good cry.”

Socio-cultural difference between humans and animals

Respect for the dead
When a human dies, we all feel sad emotions if we felt a strong bond with that person. We often have elaborate burial ceremonies to show respect for our dead. However, animals rarely do such a thing. Only a few animals have been observed to throw a few leaves on their dead. But animals do not routinely bury their dead like us humans.

Animals are mostly driven on instincts
We humans also have instincts, however, we can control them much better. We are mostly driven by reason. Animals are driven much more by instincts, and only use some reasoning. They have it pre-programmed in their minds from birth on what to do in most situations. Most animals from birth know what foods to eat and how to eat them. They know how to reproduce, where to migrate, and more. Even a baby turtle comes out of it’s shell and immediately knows to swim towards the ocean.

Humans are aware of “self,” and contemplate the afterlife
Other animals do not think of the afterlife. They tend to live in the “now.” They live in the heat of the moment. Their main goals all day long are to eat, sleep, mate, and survive. Humans, however, spend a lot of time thinking of the future, past, and present. We think about ourselves and how we relate to life. We think of what happens when we die.

Humans feel a sense of right and wrong
We all have a basic conscience. Animals kill and never think twice. They kill for food, and they kill based on instincts. They do not stop to think about if they have “sinned.” When a human murders another human, it is out of evil pre-meditation. We know better, but we murder someone anyways. That is a huge difference. Most animals kill purely to eat, or to defend themselves.

Humans have a complex language and communication method
Humans can talk, write, read facial expressions, gestures, and more. Some can even speak multiple languages. Animals do communicate, but they cannot communicate with the level of a human.

Humans use their brains in much more complex ways

The cognitive abilities of a human compared to an animal is incredible. Humans can critically think, invent, find solutions to problems, and much more. Animals are much more simple-minded. An anteater looks for ants all day. A bear gets in the water and slaps salmon out. They never stop to think of a more efficient way of doing things. The bear never creates a net or constructs a fishing pole. They find something that works, and will continue doing it. Humans will always seek out more efficient ways, and even invent complex tools. Again, this gets back to our more complex mental faculties.

We humans have the ability to quickly learn new technology, and adapt and use that technology. We can create machines and computers that help us to do work more efficiently. Even the most complex animals do not share this feature. The only tool you will likely ever see an animal use is a stick or a rock. And even then they look confused and clumsy with it.

Only human society goes against nature and seeks justice. Natures is for the survival of the fittest. Human society is governed by the philosophy of justice.

Only human society plan for the future. Not animal societies.

Only human society have religion.

Protection of the weak
Only human society allows weak to be protected through laws and rules.

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