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10 Human Attributes Found in Animals

Kate Mulcahy . . . Comments

As humans, we are not the fastest or the strongest animal. Even our senses are outmatched by many creatures. Birds see better than us, dogs smell better, and many animals have senses that we do not have at all. Sharks feel magnetic fields, turtles sense electricity, and bees see ultra-violet radiation. Elephants can sense a lack of salt in their bodies in much the same way that we feel thirsty. The humble tortoise can outlive us by a hundred years or more. Basic medicine is used by woolly spider monkeys who eat certain plants for birth control and parrots who eat specific clays to cure poison. So what makes us special? Here we look at ten human attributes of which we are rightly proud, and briefly consider which animals share our abilities. Perhaps what makes us special is not any single factor, but the combination of all of these? Or perhaps it is our potential rather than what we already are?



Snow Monkey Bath

Culture encompasses all behaviors and activities which are not genetically driven and which are found throughout a local population. The arts and humanities, religions, shared attitudes and practices are all facets of culture. The wonderfully wide variety of human cultures around the world is of great interest in itself; however, not all culture is human. For an activity to be deemed cultural, it must not be directly caused by genetics, it must be passed from one individual to another throughout a population, it must be remembered and not forgotten instantly after it has occurred, and it must be passed down through generations. Many primates have their own cultures and traditions, such as the rain dances some chimpanzee groups perform at the beginning of storms. In 1963, a single Japanese macaque monkey discovered the comfort of bathing in a natural hot spring, and since then the practice has spread completely throughout the troop and is still observed today.




Humans experience a wide spectrum of emotions. From anger to grief to frustration to euphoria, we live our lives moving from one emotion to the next. Anyone who has kept a large pet, such as a dog or a cat, will be aware that these creatures experience fear, desire, panic, affection, embarrassment, and many other feelings. Dolphin mothers whose infants have died display all the trappings of grief, and bored octopuses will eventually begin to exhibit depression. Curiosity can be seen in reptiles and jealousy of parental attention between siblings is seen in great apes. Wild apes will adopt other orphaned apes, and captive apes will take pets for interest. Altruism has been shown by gorillas in two unrelated situations where, both times, a young child fell into their zoo enclosure. Each time, a gorilla patted and soothed the child and helped return him to the human zoo keepers. Chimpanzees similarly comfort each other after attacks. Emotions are far from an exclusively human experience.



Washoe2L0111 468X377

Language is used to communicate needs, wants, and ideas. Different groups have developed their own languages, and languages change and evolve over time. Humans use a wide range of languages, not all verbal. The Bubi people in Equatorial Guinea speak largely with hand gestures, similar to Sign Languages spoken by deaf communities. On La Gomera of the Canary Islands, whistled language is used. Certain animals use language too. Primates, whales, birds, and squid have been shown to use distinct words to identify objects, actions, and individual names, and chimpanzees even use syntax and grammar. As a case study, Washoe the chimpanzee was raised as a deaf human child. She learnt over 350 American Sign Language words and could combine them to form new words and sentences. In the wild, chimpanzees normally only use about 70 signs. Washoe often signed conversations with her toy dolls. One touching example, showing that she could associate abstract ideas like emotion to novel situations, was when her human instructor explained a long absence by signing “my baby died.” Washoe looked down for a while, then signed “cry” and touched her cheek.



Laughing Chimp

Humour is a staple of life for many people. Often difficult to define, there are many strains of humor, providing amusement and often resulting in laughter. The ridiculous, the unexpected, or the juxtaposed can elicit such a feeling. Chimpanzees, like humans, are no stranger to laughter. They often tickle each other and give unmistakable laughs as a result. However, although humor often provokes laughter, laughter does not imply humor. Even rats have been shown to be able to laugh. Nevertheless, chimpanzees too can find situations humorous. Several great apes in captivity have been observed to laugh at situations removed from themselves such as seeing a clumsy fellow ape embarrass itself.


Tool Use


One of the defining characteristics of humans is the ability to use tools. We have created great cities, refined farming, secured the passing on of cultural knowledge through writing, and even gone to the moon. For many years, humans were defined as the only tool-using animal. We now know this is not the case. All great apes, crows and ravens, dolphins, elephants, and even octopuses are verified tool users. Often this tool use is cultural, that is, the tools used and their manner of use will vary from one population to the next within a species. Chimpanzees use stones as hammers and anvils and fashion spears for hunting, gorillas will use walking sticks, ravens make their own toys, gulls will use bait to fish with, dolphins use shells to catch fish in and eat from, octopuses will use coconut shells as a shelter, and elephants make water vessels to drink from.




Humans are able to mentally capture their sensory information at a particular time and store it away for later use. That is, humans can remember things. We use memories to determine the best course of action in situations we have encountered before, such as remembering which foods taste nicest and thus picking the best one when given a choice. Animals, too, have memories, as any pet owner will tell you. Domesticated creatures can be taught to remember commands, and even goldfish have been shown to have memories lasting months. Chimpanzees remember images and numbers better than university students, and crows remember shapes better than adult humans also. Some jays and squirrels have superb spatial memories, allowing them to remember months later where they buried thousands of seeds across areas of dozens of square kilometers. Cats have short-term memories at least ten times longer than those of humans. Interestingly, pigeons seem to base superstitions on their memories. If a pigeon is doing something like turning around when it is given food two or three times, it will remember what it was doing and begin to spin obsessively in the hopes of obtaining more food.



Cracticus Tibicen   Australian Magpie

A jellyfish, most will agree, is not strongly aware of itself as a definitively separate being. It has no thoughts, if any, beyond its basic drives. Self-awareness was considered a human domain for many years, but we now know better. One simple illustrative test is the mirror test: seeing if an animal can recognize itself in a mirror. A self-aware animal will realize that the movements of its reflection match its own, and deduce that the reflection is an image of itself. The animal often has a mark on its face, and if it realizes that the reflection is it itself, it will reach towards its face to feel or remove the mark. Human children do not pass this test until the age of 18 months. Animals which pass this self-awareness test, and a variety of other such tests, are all great apes, some gibbons, elephants, magpies, and some whales.



Pcrow1 1398193C

Humans are homo sapiens, the wise man. We can think and reason to our great advantage. There are, of course, many different kinds of intelligence and ways of using them. There exist many definitions of intelligence, but generally it is thought to be the ability to think, reason, plan, assess, and learn. However, humans are not the only animals with intellect, nor are they the best in all its categories. Pigeons easily outdo humans with both visual searching and geometric recognition. Ants estimate huge numbers very accurately to determine the numbers of enemy ants from past encounters, and elephants use arithmetic. Crows show great causal reasoning; they can observe a new and complicated mechanism and mentally deduce how to deal with it correctly rather than relying on the more time-consuming trial and error. They can unlock doors and find hidden objects based on a single period of observation, outperforming many humans.




Farming is the basis of modern human civilization. Believed to have been begun nearly ten thousand years ago, it allowed humans to settle in one place rather than live nomadically as they followed herds of animals for food. This in turn allowed them more time in which they could develop writing, mathematics, the wheel, farming implements, and other necessities of farming on a large scale. This spread around the world rapidly. However, ants had already been farming for millions of years. They capture, herd, raise, and care for the health of groups of caterpillars kept in a special chamber of their nests so that they may use their sugary excretions as a food source, much like we use cows. Termites cultivate fungi to eat which are so specialized they grow nowhere else on Earth.



Mmw Termitemound 080609 Article

If nothing else, humans are fantastic builders. The cities, roads, and factories that adorn our planet are a testament to that fact. What other animal could build skyscrapers, towering hundreds of metros above them? Or highways and roads stretching for thousands of kilometers? Some animals build too. Certain birds and apes build sophisticated nests, rabbits dig warrens to live in, and ants will even prune and cultivate trees to grow in a way which suits them as a home. The greatest builders, however, are Nigerian termites. They build fantastically huge mounds with internal ventilation, heating, and cooling systems through specially designed tunnels so that the termites living inside enjoy a pleasant climate at all times. They even have self-contained nurseries, gardens, cellars, chimneys, expressways, and sanitation systems. A termite is less than half a centimeter long yet its mound is 4m tall. For comparison, that is like a group of humans making a building over 1.5km tall.


Abstract and logical thinking


To clarify, abstract thinking is not random and incoherent thought. It means taking a concrete idea, such as an apple, and thinking about an attribute of it as a higher concept such as deliciousness, which might then be applied to many concrete objects. Logical thinking is the cornerstone of this. This is naturally difficult to measure in non-humans, but thus far no animal has been able to perform nearly as well as humans in purely abstract terms. Logical and reasoned thinking with abstract ideas are the great achievement of humanity, as we far surpass other animals thanks to the frontal lobes of our brains, which relative to the rest of our brains are the largest of any living species. Perhaps what truly makes us human is our ability to think rationally, to question our own assertions and consider others, and to always strive for what is reasoned and logical and true, no matter what that truth may be.

  • Ozzy

    Gotta love the educational lists :P.

    • Ni99a

      Serious question from ni99a:

      So if all the traits that makes human superior(face it, we are superior) are found in animals as well, what traits make us so successful compared to them?

      • Marjorie

        Oh great, ni99a is here. Everyone get ready for a load of inappropriate and abusive comments.

        And ni99a: read the entire list, not just the title, and you’ll see your own question is answered in it.

        • Ni99a

          I admit it, I always troll around here but this is a real question from me.

          I read the entire list. I have an answer before I asked but it is an opinion though.

          I think the answer is we have all the attributes above instead of animals who only have one “super awesome attribute”.

          Whaddya think?

          • Steve

            I would have to agree. As humans most of us have all the traits and the ability to use one to better utilize another.

          • fendabenda

            One thing hasn’t been mentioned: humans can reproduce at any time, we have no special “mating season” like most other animals. That might be a factor.

          • Mirror On The Wall

            Fendabenda: Humans can reproduce year-round, but that’s not unique to us. Chimpanzees do the same; they menstruate every 35 days, making them fertile throughout the year like humans. Not sure about other apes though.

        • Flippant

          Oh great, ni99a is here. Everyone get ready for a load of inappropriate and abusive comments.

          Lol yes.. great! *claps excitedly, oblivious to teh sarcasms* :D

      • Null

        This is where it veers into Philosophical territory. Aristotle says what differentiates human beings from animals is our ability to reason. If you would like more information I have provided a link below.

      • TequilaMockingbird

        “So if all the traits that makes human superior (face it, we are superior) are found in animals as well, what traits make us so successful compared to them?”

        Whoever said humans were so successful when compared to them?

      • nietzschean23

        Because we have more powerful brains. Ta Da!

      • nietzschean23

        Because we have more powerful brains.

    • FuzzyMunky

      I enjoy this kind of interesting factual list a lot better than some of the others we’ve been getting recently.

    • Educational list are some of my favorites. This one is ok, but the premiss of the title is all wrong. First of all, humans are animals.. So basically the title says “10 Animal Attributes Found in Animals”. This obviously makes no sense. Maybe it should be “10 Human Attributes Found in Other Animals”. Secondly, as pointed out multiple times in the list, all these “attributes” are not original with humans. Other animals have been doing this for 100s of thousands of years. So maybe it should be “10 Attributes Humans share with other Animals”. This would make much more sense.

      As far as all the comments that keep trying to point out how “superior” we humans supposedly are, I would like to point out a few things.. Yes it’s true, we are comparatively very smart, creative, and capable of great feats, but is this how we define superiority? Most other animals don’t kill for pleasure, they don’t rape, commit suicide, abuse their children, purposely destroy the environment, waste resources, and on and on and on.. Surely these things don’t seem very superior.. We not even the most successful creatures on this planet. Many other species have much larger populations than us, less disease, more adaptations, larger gene pools, stronger immune systems, faster infant maturation, longer lifespans, ect,. ect.. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of humans, I happen to be one, but I think our biased opinions of ourselves are very overrated…

      • odin

        Many animals do them especially chimps they kill and rape indiscriminately and not for territory, dolphins too.

        when ever a new lion takes over a pride it promptly kills all the cubs.

        some ants destroy any tree that is not the one they live or from it’s seeds.Ants raid other colonies and take slaves, they enslave aphids and use them for food.

        nature commits all kinds of unspeakable acts .

      • Cyril

        I agree.
        Humans are the best and most superior animals at beeing … humans. Ants at beeing ants and so on. Why is it so important to us to be superior, the best, the chosen ones? Animals seem not to waist any time whith such frivolous questions. Let’s grow up as a specie.
        (I would add that civilized people have broadly forgott what beeing a human really is, the majority of people suck at beeing human to).

        • fendabenda

          I think bees are the best at beeing. :)

        • Mirror On The Wall

          Cyril, I think you absolutely hit the nail on the head. We are superior at being human, but other animals are equally best at being whatever they are. But it takes a certain amount of maturity to accept that, and a lot of people need to grow up.

      • JohnB

        We do have religion which cand and does produce all those problems and more

  • segues

    I was hoping for a “Animal Attributes Found in HUmans” list.


    • qwerty

      that would be a very long list..haha

      • Metalwrath

        It wouldn’t be a long list, the only item would be “humans are animals”.

  • snickersman

    What a great list. Shows that we’re one big family and we have a lot in common. Hurray for evolution!

    • Ni99a

      Why this dude isn’t flagged as troll but I am?
      Is it because he is more subtle?

      • mom424

        Change your name and, just like magic, you’ll be taken a ton more seriously. It’s workin’ on offensive – and I’ve a pretty high tolerance for offensive – so most folks automatically assume troll is all you’re good for. I realize that’s not the case….thus the banhammer remains sheathed.

        • Flippant

          There’s nothing offensive about his name, Mom. Isn’t it the word ending in “er” that’s supposed to be offensive?

          • mom424

            Depends what part of the ‘hood you’re from I guess…

            seriously though, I’m not fond of any term that robs a person of their individuality. With few exceptions; those tan-in-a-can, spiky haired, pouty-mouthed, all full of themselves guys really are douche-bags.

          • Flippant

            LoL! Don’t pick on the Guidos, Mom! =)

        • Hammers don’t go in sheathes.

  • WillingHam

    The bit about the signing chimp got me a bit choked up….. :( Just goes to show animals are by no means inferior to humans.

    • Ni99a

      *heimlich maneuver*

      Umm no. The fact that we can teach them to learn our language shows that we are superior.

      • jacaris

        Not really. However, if we learned their language it would show we are superior ;D

      • yakov

        Please tell me you’re trolling…Humans teaching chimps OUR language therefore makes us superior?

        I agree that humans are superior, but this is not something that defines us. I mean, these chimps grasped a language that was totally alien to them, literally spoken by another species. Tell me when you effectively start to communicate with your dog in growls, barks and whimpers.

        An animal’s ability to learn something also depends on the animal itself. Do you think they would have got a similar result if they used the exact same method to teach a donkey sign language?

        Also, we don’t teach them to LEARN our language. We teach the language, and the chimps do the learning.

        • Dxc93

          People have been able to communicate with animals by growling, etc. Like the man who lived with wolves or researchers in South Africa playing different lion sounds to entice lions into coming near so they could study them. We might not necessarily have the capacity to make all of their sounds but it doesn’t mean that we don’t understand them and know what they mean.

    • Metalwrath

      Humans are superior to animals in intelligence and thought, but in most other domains, many animals are superior to us : in running, the senses, strength…

      As for the signing Apes, type on Youtube “Washoe”, “Kanzi”, and “Koko” and you’ll find documentaries about them.

      • jacaris

        Those docus are amazing.

  • Prince of Orange 1

    Great list with very well presented information. Nice change from the recent lists…

  • dizit

    Kate Mulcahy wrote in 10 Human Attributes Found in Animals: “…dogs smell better…”

    Sorry, Kate, I loved my dog dearly, but she certainly didn’t smell all that great! Heck, she only bathed every month or so, and then smelled like wet dog for hours!

    • Flippant

      and then smelled like wet dog for hours!

      Lol oi! “Das racist!”

      • dizit

        specieist at worst ;)

  • ringtailroxy

    This list is miss-named. it should be “10 Animal Attributes Found in Humans.”

    • segues

      hahahaha ha! See my first comment!

    • Art Vandelay

      Hard to take your comment seriously when you write “miss-named”. Was there some sort of beauty pageant for names. “Misnamed” is the appropriate term

      • segues

        Art Vandelay “…“miss-named”. Was there some sort of beauty pageant for names…”
        Don’t go there Art! There are *FAR* too many bad jokes about beauty pageant names :)

  • dizit

    Another newly developed, and subsequently taught to others, development in the Japanese macaque monkeys is diving and swimming underwater to retrieve soya beans. This was apparently discovered by a young, probably adolescent, macaque. Others now follow her example. Other examples of behaviors discovered and taught to others in this population includes throwing grain upon the water to separate the wheat from the chaff, and washing potatoes and yams to rid them of dirt and improve flavor.

  • Sarah

    Yes! This is why it irritates me so much when people say “Well we are the superior species…” No. You are not.

    • Ni99a

      You are one of those tree huggers that is always critical about humanity.
      Look at what we have achieved, compared to those animals. We rule mother nature.

      Go be a dog, you traitor of mankind, and see how superior we(human) are after butt smelling for potential mate.

      • Daw

        Did you even read the list? It says why we’ve achieved what we have at the end. But I guess it’s much more fun to be insolent and show that you don’t even have the one attribute that makes some people unique as animals.

        • Ni99a

          Did you even read the comment?

          I was referring Sarah’s comment not the list….

    • Arsnl

      There’s only one tiny problem. We kinda are the superior species. C’mon! I mean really. Monkeys throw sh*t at each other and people build particle accelerators. Do we really need to prove we’re superior?
      Oh i get it… you’re from PETA.

      • what

        Animals also don’t make nuclear weapons, being advanced is not solely a positive thing. Also i think that squirrels are really bad at finding the nuts they bury, they find them with like 20% accuracy or something and its a lot of guesswork.

        • Arsnl

          “being advanced is not solely a positive thing”
          I wasn’t talking about positive or negative here. Cuz that’s relative. I personally think there is some good to nuclear weapons. And deffo a lot of good in nuclear energy.
          I just said we’re superior and anyone who thinks otherwise should seek a shrink.

      • Bokito

        Humans have the biggest brains. True. That doesn’t make us superior. If I put you in a lab, you probably won’t be able to make a particle accelerator anymore than the next monkey :-). It takes a specialist group of scientists to do that. Now let’s put you in an arena with a lion. It will problably kill you. Does that make the lion superior? It depends on the setting. As others have pointed out, we are best at being human, flawed and all..

    • Metalwrath

      We are superior to animals in intelligence, by far. Some animals are better than we are in other domains, like sight, flight, strength, running… but we cope with that with the inventions our highly superior brains can come up with.

      • Le tel

        And the fact that we can make machines that allow us to out animals is exactly what makes up superior. This doesn’t mean we should lord it over them or abuse our ability (despite it happening) but it still can’t be denied

    • Aronthehun

      We are a superior and different species (although you may consider yourself a monkey and rightfully so). What makes us superior is that we can think beyond food, sleep and sex. No matter what animals do it’s always to obtain one of these.

      • Namae

        By that argument, no animal would ever look after its own offspring. Also animals can show affection towards others, even when they know there is no tangible reward for doing so.

        • Josema

          Thats called instinct

        • Steve

          Aronthehun’s concept can be simplified even further by saying “the drive to survive”, either as an individual or as a species. This would include your concept of parental care. You are right though, animals probably can show affection even without tangible reward.

  • Matt

    I am a linguistics major and I am very curious about how you said that the Bubi people speak with hand gestures. As far as I am aware of, there are no primarily non-deaf societies that use a non-verbal language for communication. Sure, there might be a lot of non verbal cues such as “talking with your hands”, but it is striking to me that this was in your article. I’m wondering what your source is.

    • StevenFryFan

      It said the Bubi people speak mostly with gestures, not completely. But I think I heard that too on QI.

  • Carpet Shark

    My pet piglet can recite verses from Quran.

    • OddJobb

      Troll much.

    • Ni99a

      Nice, very nice. The use of irony here is very very good.

    • Metalwrath

      That was actually pretty hilarious XD

  • Christine Vrey

    I loved this list!! Thank you soo much for a great lesson =)

  • Ben

    There’s been a series on UK tv about this subject recently. I’ve always found it strange how anyone can believe that animals don’t have emotions. Why would emotion belong only to one species on the whole planet, despite the strong evolutionary links among species. We need to give animals more credit, and humans less. We are not superior, and I can prove it by the amount of times I’ve been outwitted by my dog when she tries to jump in the swamps or p ee on the lawn. she’s also got bath and vet senses, where she can disappear when it’s time for a bath or the vets.

    • inconspicuousdetective

      i half agree with you. we don’t give animals nearly enough credit. but we are, in fact, the superior species. if we weren’t, we wouldn’t be the dominant one.

    • circlefan

      so what do you guys think every time a frog is dissected in a bio class?

      • fendabenda

        I think that frogs aren’t very smart.

  • “Culture” is a loaded word, and means more than a group of animals learning a trick and passing it along to the next generation. There are ten elements to culture, as I learned in my Intro to Cultural Anthropology class. Animals do NOT have culture, only humans do.

    With regards to language, only human beings have that. Animals have, at best, “call signs”. Even that nonsense where gorillas/chimps/Democrats/whatever were taught sign language, their “communication” was related more to “gimmedat” than anything else.

    I sincerely question whether any animal other than Man truly possesses humor. Humor is complex and depends on understanding a situation and why it doesn’t make sense. THAT’S when we laugh about something.

    As for dogs’ sense of smell, it is a fact that humans’ sense of smell is just as good. A dog has better “distance” smell, but close up, humans’ sense of smell is just as good. I refer you to Avery Gilbert’s “What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life”, which I reviewed on Amazon.

    And so on. Just another attempt by some moronic liberal to devalue human life and capabilities by making it seem as though we are no different than animals. Hint: we are. And we’re better.

    • Liam

      Quick, call all of the scientists who have devoted their lives to studying animal behavior, this idiot took an Intro to Cultural Anthropology class and disproved decades of research in a single moronic swoop!

      Humans are animals. Anyone who says otherwise is a delusional idiot. Maybe in your little world that devalues us (which I don’t agree with anyway), but that doesn’t change the facts. Humans are animals and we share traits. The world is not going to end if you aren’t the most special and unique person in it. You should really get that superiority complex checked out.

      • Arsnl

        “that doesn’t change the facts. Humans are animals and we share traits”
        Logic seems to be your week point so i’lI help you out a bit. If you state that A is included in B then ALL the traits of B are also traits of A. e.g: all planets are spheres: so any trait of a sphere is a trait of a planet (like not being able to project all the surface on a single plane).
        When you state A shares traits with B that means A intersected with B is non void. So A may or may not have traits B hasnt. And vice versa.
        So at best that statement has a useless term. At worst it’s a false statement.
        Optimisation and logic is my pet peeve.

        • Russell

          “Humans are animals AND we share traits” does not mean “Humans are animals AND SO we share traits”. The former is two statements of independent facts whereas the latter is a single logical statement with its implication.

          I can’t tell if you’re a troll but your typos and grammatical errors imply that you are not all that concerned with logic at all. A single letter typo can change the entire meaning of something, hence, one concerned with logic would be more careful.

          • Arsnl

            “Humans are animals and we share traits”
            Humans are animals. We dont “share” traits then. *Every* trait and animal has a human has also. That simple set inclusion logic. When using the verb *to share* it is obvious that an intersection is meant.
            So again: at best the second statement is useless and as with anything useless, it doesnt have its place.
            My grammar just implies im not english. Gasp! Yes there are other languages than english.
            And thats the beaty of logic. Its language invariant. The mathematical symbols are universal.

    • Fondue

      It’s amazing how the most intelligent species on the planet is also the most ignorant.

      • Arsnl

        I dont know about that man. I tried teaching my dog complex numbers and i got nothing from him. He kept insisting there is no such thing as the square root of -1, and took a sh*t on my carpet. Pretty ignorant id say.

        • Fondue

          Ignorance is a By-Product of intelligence. You are by far the ignorant one, not your dog.

    • ReadProperlyAndImpersonallyNextTime

      Culture is certainly a difficult thing to define, but I don’t think number 10 was completely off the mark. Humans have much more sophisticated and developed culture, but it’s certainly not exclusively our domain.

      Your statements on language show that you disagree with what even a quick google check will show to be factually correct in the article. Dolphins have even been found to give each other names. But it’s good to know that in your Intro to Cultural Anthropology and related classes they taught you all about every single animal species and how each one specifically communicates so that you could make such a wide statement in the face of overwhelming research that says otherwise. Good on you.

      The dog smell thing is questionable – humans are capable of smelling as well as dogs up close, but that doesn’t mean they are able to in everyday life. Besides, there are loads more animals who have better senses of smell than dogs.

      Did you not read the bonus item? It states that we are special because we seek the truth. We learn and do experiments more than other animals, and are able to think logically. This article does not devalue humans. It says that we are still amazing, but for different reasons than some might think.

      • what

        Humans are not able to smell as well as dogs, no matter what distance. Dogs have the ability to separate smells into their components, whereas humans cannot. That’s why all of the drug sniffing agents in law enforcement are canine (or at least not human, i guess they use pigs sometimes).

    • Namae

      I have trouble seeing why “we’re better” could be correct when I compare a nasty poster who can’t read an article properly or distinguish between their own opinion and certified fact to a chimpanzee offering empathy to a woman who’s baby has died.

    • The Cat

      One of the biggest problems in this world – Mans need to feel dominate and superior.

      Before Nicholas Copernicus many of use were told and believed that the Earth was the centre of the universe . . .

      Before Charles Darwin many of us were told and believed that a deity created everything four thousand years ago . . .

      Before Louis Pasteur many of us were told and believed that a vital force contained within organic matter could create living organisms from inanimate objects . . .

      And so on . . .

      We’ve been wrong before and we’re most definitely wrong now. Our behaviour toward our fellow animals is nothing short of a disgrace. We have no excuses unlike those before us. We live in a society where by and large we have access to the truth.

      Open your eyes people!

    • Metalwrath

      I saw a documentary on one of these signing Apes, forgot which one.. anyway there were two humans with it and one of them asks the ape to put her bag of M&Ms in the outside pocket of a bag and then leaves. Then the other human tells the Ape that they’re going to make a joke and take the M&Ms out of the bag and hide them somewhere else. So the Ape does this while giggling. When the first human comes back, the Ape seems to be hiding his excitement. Then the human opens her bag and says “where are my M&Ms?”.. at this point the Ape explodes in laughter and runs around triumphantly, before finally revealing to her where the M&Ms are…

      How’s that for understanding a “complex” situation?

    • mom424

      Really, all that vitriol is necessary? Moronic liberal? A guy whose party is seriously considering Rick Santorum as a viable candidate for President dares talk about morons? Holy kettle/black. 9_9

    • Kiroux

      Wow, Intro to Cultural Anthropology! You must be more knowledgeable than all of us combined! Sorry for the sarcasm but it had to be done. I’m in the third year of a sociology degree and I will never claim to be an expert, but the one thing I do know is that you have no idea what you’re talking about. When studying sociology, one of the first things you are taught is the fact that we, as humans, are the same as animals and we have the same pack mentality. Just because we walk upright and can talk does not take away that fact. Culture is definitely not an exclusively human trait.
      As for language, I suggest you brush up on your basic linguistic studies (seeing as you think learning the basics is all you need) and you will know that language is also not an exclusively human characteristics. Just because an animal do not exhibit language in the exact same way as you do, does not mean that they do not possess language skills. Your statement is the same as saying that someone who speaks Spanish does not possess language characteristics since it doesn’t sound the same as English.
      Ignorance and arrogance are a bad combination…

      • Kiroux

        (And yes, I do see my lack of grammatical skills is showing above)

      • You’re a fucking idiot, then. Enjoy trying to pay back your crushing student loans with no real job, you fucking dimwit! Maybe the gorillas at the zoo will hire you, you can all debate “culture” till the cows come home.

  • Mon

    We have two Philippine subspecies of Malayan Box Turtles. They are both males and started to attack each other last January firsty. Now that they are living in separate quarters we have decided to let them see themselves in the mirror. They tried to make themselves look bigger to intimidate their reflection by pushing air down to their throats. Because they are looking at their reflection, it appears that the other one is making the same gesture so they attack their reflection. It was awesome!

  • Mon

    I was hoping to read about Whales’ culture when Culture was mentioned. Also, I think “Building should be placed on number 10 and Culture should be made the Number on the list.

  • Bill S. Preston (Esquire)

    I have rarely commented on lists though I’m an avid Listverse visitor. However, with this list, coupled with these comments, I can’t resist saying that you are all ridiculous. After I read the first two I had to scroll back up and re-read the list’s title. In my opinion most of these atributes that humans have and animals DON’T have. Essentially the atributes that make us human.

    I mean what was 12 and 13, religion and awareness of mortality?

    Most of these are not animal atributes.

    • Liam

      Well unfortunately for you, your opinion and scientific fact directly contradict each other.

      • Bill S. Preston (Esquire)

        Scientific facts??? Not sure about that. I could be wrong and I’m not being facetious. But honestly, it’s scientific fact that animals (I know we’re “animals” but I’m referring to non-humans) have a sense of humor, language, culture….abstract and logical thought???

        I’m not trying to start a big thing here and I generally think of myself as pretty open minded but these are just a bit much.

        • I Mean Come On

          Seriously, do a quick google. It has been known for decades that chimpanzees have a language, if simpler than ours. There are plenty of people who have done phds on various aspects of it. Read some research papers. Just because you haven’t heard of something before and you find it hard to believe doesn’t make it untrue. While you’re on google, look up how parrots have been taught to apply numbers and colours to arbitrary objects, or elephants being taught to count. Spend a good hour reading scientific literature on these things. Then you can learn a little more rather than refusing to believe something that is well-known simply because you are new to it.

        • Flippant

          But honestly, it’s scientific fact that animals (I know we’re “animals” but I’m referring to non-humans) have a sense of humor, language, culture….abstract and logical thought???

          Yeah, I’m a bit dubious on the whole “culture” bit too. I dunno.. I’m just not buying that. :\

          But, language yes – they’d have to; sense of humour yes – have seen it first-hand; and abstract/logical thought process, well, there’s heaps of vids giving examples of that…


        • Laura

          Culture is a bit of a strech, as the animals mentioned seem to have more of a protoculture, that humans probably demonstrated hundreds of thousand of years ago. The same thing can be said about language.

          I have personally seen monkies exibiting “humor” when a group of elders lured a young male near the water hole of their cage at the zoo just to push him in and, excuse my french, laugh their gigantic asses off.

          As for abstract and logical thought – the autor clearly states that it’s one of the attributes that separates us from the rest of the animals.

        • Lol Cat Man

          I find it funny when people say they are ‘open minded’ but refuse to do even a basic Google check on well-known facts before openly proclaiming them wrong because they conflict with their opinions.

          • Flippant

            I find it funny when people say they are ‘open minded’ but refuse to do even a basic threesome and have a swinging good time before openly proclaiming them wrong because they conflict with their opinions. :P

            Oh wait! You’re talking about a different type of “open-mindedness”.. carry on then.. as you were. :D

    • Mr Money Bags

      My brother used to work in a slaughter house, but he hated it, because a lot of the time the cows would realise where they were headed and start panicking and crying. Also, elephants and various other animals leave their herds to find a quiet place when they know they are going to die. How is that not awareness of mortality?

  • Will Trame

    This was an interesting list. First off, the plural of octopus is octopi, not octopuses. As to the intelligence aspect, there are a number of stories involving dolphin intelligence. And, yes, crows are reputed to have a highly developed intellectual instinct among the birds.

    The examples depicting monkeys call to mind the recent list about the similarities between chimps and humans and last year’s list about the most capable apes (I recall Sir isaac Newton coming in at #1). It reinforces the notion that humans are more closely related to the ape than they possibly suspect. As I noted on that aforementioned list, they are us and we are they.

    • Cephalopod

      The plural of octopus is not octopi. Sorry, it’s a pet peeve of mine when people insist upon ‘octopi’. Octopus is from Greek and therefore does not use Latin rules for plurals (-us to -i). As it is used in English, it’s plural is either ‘octopuses’ or ‘octopodes’ (from the Greek), although the latter is not used often.

      • Arsnl

        The plural of octopus is a pet peeve of yours? How original. I’ve never seen that on the internet.

    • segues

      Check Wiki, check Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
      The octopus ( /??kt?p?s/; traditional plural: octopuses or octopods. Octopi is not wrong, it just isn’t the accepted plural.

  • LoveIt

    Great and very interesting list.

  • Steve_Bz

    I find it very hard to distinguish us from the other animals on this planet. The only things I’m pretty sure other animals don’t do are those that require higher levels of speech like poetry and story-telling.

  • The Cat

    This is a great list and highlights just some of the many reasons why certain members of our society have gone against the grain and decided not to be involved in the torture and murder of non-human animals.

    These humans recognise that animals have every bit as much a right to a life that is free of pain and suffering as possible and as such have made simple lifestyle changes to enable this.

    Open your minds and open your hearts.

    • Arsnl

      And open your gullets.

    • Flippant

      ..not to be involved in the torture and murder of non-human animals. … that animals have every bit as much a right to a life that is free of pain and suffering as possible…

      Cat, you know that animals kill, torture, and eat other animals, right? So, what’s the horror on your face like when you watch a nature documentary? :?

      I really don’t understand why people think that human animals are the only omnivores that shouldn’t be carnivorous. O_o

      • segues

        Excellent point Flips! That is something people tend to overlook.

        good job.

        • Flippant

          Cheers, Segues. ;)

          Lol I didn’t paint the town toooo red tonight.. I’ve still got my wits about me. :D

        • The Cat

          Predatory animals must kill to eat. Humans, in contrast, have a choice;

          they need not eat meat to survive.

          We also differ from nonhuman animals in being capable of conceiving of, and acting in accordance with, a system of morals. Therefore, we cannot seek moral guidance or precedent from nonhuman animals.

          The absurdity of seeking moral precedents from nonhuman animals ~

          “In Nature, animals steal food from each other; so why should it be

          wrong for humans to steal?”

          “In Nature, animals kill and eat humans; so why should it be wrong for

          humans to kill and eat humans?”

          • Flippant

            Predatory animals must kill to eat. Humans, in contrast, have a choice; they need not eat meat to survive.

            Riiiiight, Cat. So you think that all animal sanctuaries, zoos, and the like, discontinue feeding the carnivores meat? Animals are killed (by humans) to feed animals in those places.. and that should cease because, really, they don’t need meat to survive? We should start feeding lions and tigers et al a vegetarian diet because we humans have “found a better way”?

            Therefore, we cannot seek moral guidance or precedent from nonhuman animals.

            I didn’t suggest that. Of course it’s absurd to use wild animals as our moral compass. You’re the one saying that it’s immoral for humans to eat meat – an absurdity in itself.

      • Arsnl

        Well one could argue that some animals torture their own kind, some are canibalistic, so then it’s okay to torture our fellow humans. We’re treding on straw man land.

        Ill just state one of the reasons why i think we have the right of control over the animal kingdom (besides many others).
        I just say any human is superior to any animal. We can kill an animal for a reason. And we can stop when we turn excessive. Put a shark in tank with fish. Will that shark eat all the fish (and eventually die of hunger) or will that shark eat some and leave others to multiply so he can eat later? We have self control and we have the sense of perspective. Self term loss for long term gain (with that long term gain being even so far it can reach infinity: e.g. Dying for a god, or a country. Not dying for a piece of land but for a country/ a nation, an abstract notion or dying for ones ideas.) animals dont have that.

        We can kill animals not cuz we are animals. We can kill animals cuz we are no longers animals. Just like we (or women) have the right to abort. Because that feotus isnt a human being.

        • Buzzy

          I both agree and disagree. Humans have the potential to use self-control to aspire to greater things, but unless we all use that restraint, we’re not superior, we just have the capacity to be. There are plenty of people around the world who hunt animals for fun with no intention of eating or making use of them. There are people who live their lives based on immediate needs and wants, and we term them ‘lazy’ or ‘selfish’. As humans, we have amazing potential. Some of our number can create computers, the internet, and the space shuttle, but others can use the tools invented by their peers to kill, destroy, and torture, often for no greater reason at all. We are maybe simultaneously the greatest and worst animal. Until we all learn to restrain our destructive or unwanted impulses, we can’t claim to be entirely superior.

          Also (feel free to disagree), I’ve always felt that being superior meant an obligation to those beneath you, not freedom to inflict whatever pain and suffering you please in hubris.

          • Arsnl

            Well I was expecting that type of answer: look at what some people do-they kill for pleasure etc. Thank you for replying. Now i can present more of my theory.
            You see i said humans. And we are all equal and we are all capable of the same things. Said some people poach or kill elephants or whatever, is treating said humans as one dimensional beings. Those humans can only kill unfairly and foolishly or their only characteristic is being lazy. No. They have the same capabilities as I do and as you do. And the same potential. Life isnt a movie with 2 dimensional individuals.
            And animals don’t have that capability. Find me that human who doesnt have the notion of “reasonability”(is that a word?) in their brain. And it will take me 3 seconds to find you an animal that doesnt know what “reasonability” is. And is incapable of learning it.

            Doesnt your boss have the right to fire you? We have the obligation to kill a pig or a cow in a more painless way than how a lion or tiger would kill said animal, when we can. And slaughter houses do that. We have laws for that. We act according to our morals-things that animals dont have.
            Thats why i said kill not inflict suffering. We do have every right to kill non human beings if our needs demand it.

          • The Cat

            @Arsnl – That’s the whole point dude! “Do our needs demand it?” – Quite clearly in most cases the resounding answer is a BIG fat NO.

            In regards to slaughterhouses check out it covers the reality of a slaughterhouse.

          • Flippant

            @Arsnl – That’s the whole point dude! “Do our needs demand it?” – Quite clearly in most cases the resounding answer is a BIG fat NO.

            No, Cat.. you’re missing the whole point. It appears to me that you didn’t read Arsni’s words with even one shred of comprehension.. no little light-bulbs sparking up above your head.. no grasp at all of what he’s saying. It’s fine that your blinkers stay firmly fixed, that’s your deal.

            In regards to slaughterhouses check out it covers the reality of a slaughterhouse.

            The operative word there being a slaughterhouse. For every one, two, ten abattoirs doing the WRONG thing, there are thousands going about their business the right way. But no, people with your agenda grasp tightly onto the wrong-doers like a dog with an old bone, and try to make out that the bad-eggs are the standard for the industry.

            Well, they’re not. I don’t know about your country, but in mine it’s strictly regulated. You’d be hard pressed to find a company doing things the wrong way like in your show-piece video. Afterall, this is people’s livelihood we’re talking about here.. they’d be put out of business real quick, by heavy fines AND public backlash, if they weren’t playing by the rules.

      • The Cat

        Predators MUST kill to survive; to stop them from killing is, in effect, to kill them.

        We CHOOSE to kill and end life.

        • Arsnl

          Check out penn and teller. They’d whip some sense into you.
          I can just eat meat and shove it in your face man. :-)
          Too bad i don’t have any foie gras in my fridge. Check out how it’s made. Liver and duck/goose tears.
          I should get a fly swatter and kill some bugs just to p*ss you off. Or i’ll take an antibiotic and I’ll boil some milk. Billions will die cause of you. BILLIONS. HAHAHA

      • Maria

        Animals torture other animals?

        • Marinara

          Not sure about torture, I read once about a common chimpanzee female who would hurt other chimps whenever she was alone with them and she thought she could get away with it. Even little kiddie chimps. That’s kind of sadistic, but I don’t think it counts as torture.

        • The Cat

          Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain (whether physical or psychological) as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty.

          Do you have any examples?

          • fendabenda

            The Cat, that’s your name, but you have never seen a cat playing with a rat or a mouse just for fun, until it dies from that?

          • Flippant

            Also footage of chimps r*ping frogs. I’m pretty sure that that is nothing short of “torture” for the frogs.

        • segues

          Have you ever seen film footage of an Orca tossing a seal pup about, sometimes for an hour, before it finally dies and the Orca consumes it? Orcas will pair up, too, and toss the living seal pup between them until it finally dies. That’s torture. It isn’t done to kill the seal. Orcas kill seals and seal pups very efficiently. The tossing behavior is brutal, prolonged, and unnecessary to the hunt. It looks like nothing short of purposeful torture.

          • segues

            …and sometimes the Orca will not even bother to consume the now dead seal. The entire activity has no obvious purpose.

    • Art Vandelay

      Not even going to sugar coat it or properly word it. If all humans didn’t eat meat we’d be a world of weak pussies with brains significantly smaller than we have now. You don’t eat meat, get over yourself. I don’t push meat eating on you.

      • Flippant


        Absolutely correct, Art. Lol we owe pre-historic man a debt of gratitude for their meat-eating decisions.

        Furthermore, just like some religious-folk that try to hold peeps down and inject their religion into them – one part rules, one part guilt, and one part contagious so they will spread it to others – vegetarian do-gooders try to force THEIR choices onto others too. It’s annoying as all hell. Smh.

        • The Cat

          Pre-historic man also enganged in a number of activities that if you as a modern day man carried out would end with you spending the rest of your life in solitary confinement.

          You think you’re finding these inconsistencies in the argument for animal rights when in reality every mind numbingly dumb thing you have to say has been asked not only a million times before but has a logical answer.

          You’ve clearly got access to the internet so why not spend 30 minutes finding out the truth. I’ll point you in the right direction, what’s the worst that can happen?

          • Art Vandelay

            Even broccoli screams when you rip it from the ground

          • fendabenda

            Art, I thought it was mandrake that screams, not broccoli… but what do I know? :(

          • Flippant

            Pre-historic man also enganged in a number of activities that…

            Yet again, Cat, you totally miss the point (which was about brain development). Just out of curiosity, are you like 13yrs old or something? Or just one of those adults that can’t even read a comic book without moving their lips?

            You think you’re finding these inconsistencies in the argument for animal rights…

            Do you think you scouring the interwebs for every misdemeanor against animals, to add to your arsenal, in your quest to save the animal kingdom, changes anything? At risk of repeating myself – one, two, ten atrocities doesn’t make it standard practice.

            every mind numbingly dumb thing you have to say

            Pot, meet Kettle. No doubt you’ve met before, so introductions aren’t really necessary.

            You’ve clearly got access to the internet so why not spend 30 minutes finding out the truth.

            Lol smh. Now herein lies your problems, Cat. I live in the real world, on a large chunk of land with alot of animals, who do often die.. I don’t need the Internet to find “the truth.”

            Now, you yourself can look at the internet and choose not to eat animal meat; and not consume milk, cream, yoghurt, cheese or any other dairy products; and don’t eat eggs; and no leather shoes, handbags, clothes etc.. you stick to your diet of fruit and vegetables, grains and lentils. But if I want a fat-arse juicy steak then I’ll go ahead and have one – guilt-free.

            A little advice, I wouldn’t base mankind off the internet, and if you actually had a life you would know that.. f*ckin’ hermit. :)

          • dizit

            So, Cat, you don’t eat meat. I assume you avoid eggs, dairy products, honey, and leather goods. Do you also choose only personal products, shampoo, conditioner, etc. which contains, or has contained in the past, animal by-products? Do you have a pet (animal companion)? Do you feed dogs or cats an all vegetable/grain/fruit diet? Or do you believe, as I have run across in the past, that keeping animals as pets (companions) is also and/or treating them subserviently? Do you want all pets released so they can live free?
            I have other questions, but they could start a fire-storm and that’s not my purpose. I only want to know how far you go with this.

  • Proud To Be Hominid

    Great list. The bonus item really got me – it’s really the best thing we have going for us. Some of the comments here show that not all humans have the capacity for logical thought, but hey, fingers crossed that we’re still evolving into something with more reason.

  • Iraqi Christian

    The people think of wealth and power as the greatest fate,
    But in this world a spell of health is the best state.
    What men call sovereignty is a worldly strife and constant war;

    Worship of God is the highest throne, the happiest of all estates.

    • Name

      Who says there aren’t religious animals? It’s far-fetched, but there isn’t a single person on this Earth who can say for certain that there aren’t any.

      • Flippant

        *laffn* =)

        • fendabenda

          Praying Mantis? :D

          • Flippant

            Lol clever, Fenda! :D

  • crackedreader

    cracked much?

    • inconspicuousdetective

      like your face will be after that car crash you’re gonna be in. it’s gonna take alot of penny wishes, but i’ve got a whole lot of pennies. so scram.

  • oouchan

    Great topic…no matter how many times we would like to think we are “engineered” or removed from animals, we have proof that we are closer, much closer that one would think. Amazing what science can do.

    Good list.

  • ListFan

    This is a fantastically thought-provoking list. My new favourite :)

  • Jake Cartmann

    I like this list. It shows that we are indeed special and unique, but not for the reasons people might think. I had no idea how close to us some animals are! This is up there with my favorite lists.

    • Homo Sapien

      The bonus item really made me proud to be human.

  • Nicosia

    Animals definitely mourn a loss like we do. I had two cats- Yoshi was about four, and the younger one named Bosco, was just over a year. A neighbor accidentally hit Bosco with a car and killed him. Yoshi sat beside me the entire time I was burying him. When I was done, and stepped back from the grave, I saw a very moving thing. Yoshi got up and started nuzzling and rolling on the grave, just as he does when he greets or expresses love to someone. He did this for several minutes, and I sat by and petted him. He followed me back to the house, and didn’t eat much or play for a few days. It broke my heart to lose Bosco, but to see Yoshi mourn his friend had me in tears…

    Several months ago, a stray had kittens in my attic and rejected two of them at about 12 days old. My daughter and I used an eyedropper to feed them until they were big enough to eat on their own. We kept one of them and although Yoshi acts like the curmudgeonly old man when Floyd wants to play and attacks him, I can tell that most of the time, he really likes having the company of another cat.

  • pat rice

    i have to disagree with the author on a couple points. first off, nobody can use my tool better than i do. i’m the best i ever had. secondly, the only time my dog smells better than me is when he gets back from his grooming at petsmart. and even then at least i dont have to wear a stupid bandana for 3 hours afterward

    • Arsnl

      Oh no. Don’t worry. No one’s going to argue that you’re not the greatest tool.

  • Zair

    I love this list great change from some of the recent lists we have been getting :)

  • Marjorie

    There are a couple of people posting here trying to disprove the bonus bit at the end, but otherwise a great list. We are more similar that some people would like to believe to many animals, but that doesn’t mean in any way that we are somehow not unique and amazing.

  • Sbtier

    I have a strong feeling I’ve read this list somewhere else.

  • This is an excellent educational list, but there is something intrinsically & philosophically sad about the title “10 Human Attributes Found In Animals” because it already starts off on the wrong foot (or paw or fin or whatever).

    Perhaps a better title might have been “10 Attributes Humans and Animals Have in Common.” Referring to them as “human attributes” already starts out with a certain arrogance.

    • Squalid

      I think the point of it, though, was to show that these attributes which are traditionally thought of as exclusive to humans are also shared with animals, and are not really ours alone at all. “10 Attributes that Humans and Animals Both Have” could go on forever.

  • Metalwrath

    Another item could be “waging war”, found in Chimps and of course ants/termites/wasps…
    Also, territorial disputes between solitary animals, and packs, could perhaps be considered as a form of war…

  • vanowensbody

    Do animals share with humans the attribute of being trolls?

    Excellent list Kate.

    • Flippant

      There’s three billy goats (gruff) who could answer that! :D

  • Arsnl, the plural of octopus is a long standing peeve of mine too. What seperates us from many animals is our ability to tell greek and latin apart. Our ability to talk about octopodes then serves as a key to determine whether we are humans or Mr Hankey clones.

  • Samantha

    Don’t forget sea otters, who regularly use tools to access the juicy meat from clams, mussels, etc. One sea otter was nicknamed “Pepsi” because she carried around a Pepsi can for this purpose.

  • Metis

    All but #7 (Humour) was old news for me. I blame that on our rather good education system and my parents.

  • yankeedoodle

    A key difference between humans and animals is the ability to say “no”. All animals act/react by using instinct for survival. They don’t have the ability to refuse when their survival instincts kick in. We humans have the ability to say “no” even when our instincts scream “yes”. That’s because humans have the ability to make decisions whereas animals simply don’t.
    Learned behavior by animals is also instinctive, almost like a reflex.

    • FeatheryFellow

      We can say “no” to things our instincts say “yes” to, but chimpanzees do the same thing too. A lower chimp will refuse food, even if starving, if a higher chimp is nearby and declines its request to eat, because of the social structure they learn to respect as they grow up.

      Learned behaviour and instincts are by definition two different things. Instincts are innate (wired into genetics) and do not need to be learned. Your last sentence does not make sense, but I think you’re trying to say that everything non-human animals do is purely instinctive and not learnt. I think a lot of animal trainers and dog owners would disagree with you.

  • SwampRob

    Very thought-provoking list! Well done!

  • Vicki

    How do they determine that magpies are self aware by looking at themselves in the mirror, when magpies like shiny things, and a mirror is a shiny thing? What’s to say that the magpie wasn’t just checking out another shiny thing?

    Crows have worried me for years. I’ve noticed that thanks to their love of chips and other junk food left on the pavements and roads by lazy people, that they are growing in size. They are not afraid of cars or people, and will walk about instead of flying away when approached by a vehicle. Now I read that they are very intelligent. I fear in a few generation people will have to submit to their Crow overlords ;)

    • Mirror Guy

      What they do is draw a mark on the crow’s face when it’s drugged asleep, and when it wakes up they put a mirror in front of it. Most animals think the reflection is another animal, but the crow will realise the reflection is itself and will notice the mark and claw at it to try to get it off. If it didn’t realise it was just a reflection it wouldn’t claw at its own face, but the face of the reflection in the mirror.

      I haven’t explained it very well, but here’s a link you can look at:

  • edwonder

    Ignoring the “person” using the intentionally offensive screen name involving the double 9, I think the list is flawed in forgetting that man, himself is an animal. The author even begins her list by saying “As humans, we are not the fastest or the strongest animal.” One might just as well have posted a list of 10 table attributes found in trees.

    • Arbor Master

      I can’t understand what you are saying here. Is it because the list title omitted the word “Other” before “Animals” whereas the intro text makes it clear that humans are an animal? I’m not sure, your tree quip seems to imply you mean something else.

    • edwanker99

      *in Joseph Merrick voice* Urrggghaarghhhh Iiiiiiii am not an annnnimallll!!!1!!one!!!

  • Cardinal-Richelieu
    • edwanker99

      LoL! Funny pic, Rich! =)

      Hmmm.. I think entry No. 10 was supposed to be “Curiosity” but a freak typo occured and it turned out as “Culture.” :P

  • Lajith

    One thing that makes Humans different from animals is invention. Crows closely comes to inventions when they are found to bend wires to make a hook to take food or open locks.

    • Read On My Brethren

      Do hunting spears count as inventions? Or hammers and anvils? Or absorbent material to soak up water with?

      They were invented by chimps. Humans have more complex inventions, definitely, but we aren’t the only ones to invent things. The examples in number 6 are all pretty cool if you look them up further.

      • Arsnl

        No man. Only freakin Iphones count. You’d have to invent a new IPhone for your species to mean anything. Sorry. Those are the rules.

  • NamestFan

    Learnt a lot. Lots of interesting little facts in there. Good job.

  • Sad Ben

    I wish Listverse would do something about consistent trolls. I really learnt a whole bunch from this list, and heaps of other lists that I like, and some of the comments are interesting too, but there are always a bunch of angry and insecure guys insulting everyone else, being sexist, racist, etc. and it really detracts from the site. If anything, it means the site isn’t suitable for children, which is a pity in itself. No way should a ten year old wanting to learn something have the kinds of things written here inflicted upon them.

    • Flobbadob

      I agree. It’s kind of sad how out of control the trolls have gotten recently. And there’s no way I’d let my kids on this site, despite it otherwise superb content, because of some of the atrocious comments I’ve read from trolls. There needs to be a comment editor who can delete things that are abusive or inappropriate.

      • Arsnl

        Yes. I do think we should clean up our act. Your kids should surf LV freely. And i’d love to see your face when they’ll ask: “Dad, what’s a r*pe axe? Cuz i saw it on a LV list.”
        Or who knows. Pick up some cool ideas from Ryan Thomas, cuz only one RT isn’t enough.

  • mom424

    Very excellent list.

    It does appear that we’ve some argument in the comments about the definition of culture. The author appears to equate habit with culture; I don’t believe the examples provided prove culture. Now the gangs of dolphins behaving like thugs of the sea – that might prove culture. Not a nice one…..but bathing in the hot spa? That is a nice habit, and frees up calories that would otherwise be used to keep the ape warm. The rain dance? I’m assuming it dislodges parasites so when the rain comes they get washed away; again a beneficial habit to spread.

    Still an excellent job; wonderfully illustrates that what separates us from the animals is, in fact, just a matter of degree.

    • Paniscus

      I don’t know about the others, but for the rain dance it is certainly not for dislodging parasites. They have some of the lowest levels of external parasites of any mammals due to their obsessive grooming. It serves no beneficial purpose in purely biological terms. If you’re interested, here’s a brief research paper that explains it in detail:

      The trouble is, culture is poorly defined, so of course there will be disagreements. A lot of modern definitions explicitly state that something only counts as culture if it pertains to humans, but habits that are taught and passed on on a large scale seem to make up what basic culture is. Rain dances certainly fit into a few of the definitions given here:

      • mom424

        Very cool, thanks for the info.

    • Just A Broad

      Just because something is useful doesn’t mean it’s not culture. Different methods of farming that are used by different populations are considered aspects of culture, even though they are useful to the people who use them. As long as something isn’t basic instinct and innate, and is done by localised population groups rather than by the entire population, then doesn’t it count as culture or proto-culture?

      • fendabenda

        Actually, the word “culture” itself comes from the word “agriculture” originally. So you would be correct, as far as farming goes. Nowadays “culture” seems to mean the farming of knowledge or skill, not “agri cultura” (farming of the land) like it used to.

  • bob22015

    Shouldn’t the title be “Ten animal traits found in humans”?

  • jayfun

    You forgot nose-picking.

  • Lu

    Was kind of hoping to see compassion on this list. Rats show compassion to their fellows.

  • Cucho

    Really great list. I had no idea of some of these things! More lists like this, please!

  • TruthSeeker

    I learnt a lot about lots of different animals here. And what a nice ending!

  • Romano

    I was going to say that compassion should have been included, but then I read some of the comments here and realized the idea of human compassion would have been disproved. Still, great list.

  • ConstableDubs

    Animals have communication, not language. That’s first year anthropology stuff. Anthropology and Linguistics define Language as a communication system having syntax and grammar. Animal communication has neither, and animals documented as using grammar have been conditioned by humans, and required human urging, either by body language, food rewards, etc. That’s why a large number of chimp language studies were thrown out in the 70s and 80s.

  • jb

    I just want to make it clear, I am NOT an animal, I am Human! (ok,except when I had too many beers, then I go apeshi*t like a chimpanzee that had too many caterpillar excretions!) But other than that, very human.

  • NeesahD22

    Stupid effin list. Like duh. All these are obvious. So obvious is f*ucking dumb. Massive fail.

  • Sapient

    This is an awesome list. I knew some of these before, but it’s great to have them all together so you can see how the many human-exclusive attributes are anything but. The logical truth part was a nice finish.

  • Interesting

  • xaaykung

    In my opinion, non-humans are far superior than human beings. And people who think differently are just not looking deep enough.And they usually have never reached a level of consciousness that true animal lovers have.

  • maboy

    There’s a spelling error at no.7 title

    • benjamin

      It’s not a typo, it’s British English. It’s used throughout the entire list. Outside the USA, this is the spelling the English speaking world uses.

  • oregonmade
  • Patty

    We think to highly of ourselves. We are not superior to animals. But I did enjoy this list.

  • dale

    Humans never get the credit they deserve. We are better than every animal in so many ways

  • Joy

    Chanting for animals means to kaawen to the fact that animals have buddha nature and should be respected. I don’t mean that a person needs to become a vegetarian in order to respect animals. Some people do think that you do need to become a vegetarian in order to respect animals. But im not going there. One of the big reasons why i started this is because there are over 10,000 animals who are on the endangered list. I have chanted for animals that I use to have and i know that there are a lot of nichiren believers who have animals and they chant for their animals. I came across a nichiren believer who chants for animals who are strays and at the same time takes care of some strays in the back of their house, they also take the strays to the veterinarian and makes sure they get the care they need. I was truly inspired by this person. and again, their a Nichiren believer. Im sure that there are other Nichiren believers who are like this person. I find experiences like that very inspiring.