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Culture & Religion

The Human-Animal Connection

“What explains the ascendance of Homo sapiens? Start by looking at our pets.” The Boston Globe says our ability to domesticate and control other species accounts for our formidable rise.

“What explains this yen to have animals in our lives? An anthropologist named Pat Shipman believes she’s found the answer: Animals make us human. She means this not in a metaphorical way—that animals teach us about loyalty or nurturing or the fragility of life or anything like that — but that the unique ability to observe and control the behavior of other animals is what allowed one particular set of Pleistocene era primates to evolve into modern man. The hunting of animals and the processing of their corpses drove the creation of tools, and the need to record and relate information about animals was so important that it gave rise to the creation of language and art.”


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