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If we were to find similarities with other animals, would ants be the closest?

onesteptwostep

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#1
Not biologically, but socially speaking. Ants work together and are able to construct structures with huge organization. I don't think any other animals are capable of doing this. Why are most animals solitary? Birds on the other hand are able to travel in large numbers, but they aren't able to use tools. Wolves hunt and travel in packs, but they rarely do this in big numbers.

This leads me to think about another thing. What's the point in having a currency? If humans are animals, when did we start using this system of 'you-owe-me's up to the point where it now defines power? If animals were sentient and able to reason, they would be really weirded out on how we would trade paper bits for food. Some paper gives you more food, and so on.

/thoughtoftheday
 

Haim

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#2
We are not ants, every ant you see of the same colony have DNA in a sense they are all one creature, the same as we have cells.unlike ants we have self interest, ants have colony(just as one cell of ours don't have self interest.
We are close to monkeys, Wolfs and such.
 

Rixus

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#3
I've come to this conclusion myself, as well. Yes, humans are biologically very similar to other mammalian pack animals, and if you look closely you will see that socially we behave very similarly. But, if you take a step back, you can see One Steps point. As we developed beyond living in a small family unit, or pack, we developed a society that works together on a larger scale, whereby every person develops a speciality role and must find a place to help work the machine that is that society. And although our family and even social circle structures resemble that of pack animals, no other society or animal functions on this macro scale like we do.

In answer to the question of currency, when we realised the benefits of speciality we had to develop a means of trade. Rather than attempting a bartering system, it became necessary in every society that independently evolved to create a system of assigning value and currency for trade. Unfortunately, humans seem to have a strong desire for power which probably stems from our desire to be the alpha of the pack in order to claim the best mate for breeding, but in this organised society has progressed to a point of mass exploitation of lower classes. Unfortunately, this system is now self perpetuating and cannot be suddenly changed without the entirety of society collapsing and probably causing so much starvation as to be something akin to an extinction event. And it means we get to enjoy our comfortable lives and our technology without fear of being eaten by lions or not catching a gazelle that week. So, though I loathe having to work for a living as much as anyone, I don't see a practical alternative for humanity as a whole that is preferable.
 

Hadoblado

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#4
I think the biggest thing that differentiates us from other animals is language. Not just communication, but generative, arbitrary, and abstractable language. This is particularly relevant to the social sphere, but I think it goes beyond that.

For example, bees have something closer to language than do most animals. Through the figure eight dance, they are able to abstract distance and direction relative to the sun, but not time. Bees are sociably able to build the equivalent of cities based on this advanced communication.

Without language, animals cannot abstract beyond the here and now, which impacts the way they socialise. Wolves can communicate how to encircle a dear, but they can't communicate how to create anything even vaguely resembling a sustainable food supply. This limitation impacts on how they are able to socialise (such as traveling in larger packs).

Some apes are able to understand token economies. They have advanced communication, but not language. The most lingual non-human was a parrot, but I think that doesn't really support my point since their socialisation is very different.
 

PmjPmj

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#5
Corvids.

Those guys communicate so well they can and do hold court. They also use tools. I'm fairly certain a study was conducted on logical reasoning and, in a few instances, they matched or beat our times. That might be my memory bullshitting me, though. Either way, they're awesome at problem solving.
 

PmjPmj

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#7
yes but we're looking for similarities
They put members of their group on trial.

That's some pretty sophisticated (and very human-like) shit right there.

Also, they love brutally murdering one another. How many similarities d'ya need?

[EDIT] Ha. That was a spectacular 'whoosh' moment, eh?

Long day, man. Long day.
 

Serac

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#8
Haim is right. Ants is a bad comparison, because they cooporate for completely different reasons - namely that each male ant carries the same copy of DNA and thus all males in a colony are essentially one individual. Humans, on the other hand, are all individuals but we have managed to make a society where each person's self-interest benefits the whole soceity. I.e. it's capitalism, and currency is an efficient medium of value, which facilitates such a soceity.

Google "barter economy"
 

Procinogen

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#9
I would compare humans to (wild) apes. They live in groups, and are very good at tool usage (albeit not as complex as humans).
 

Artsu Tharaz

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#10
It's an interesting visual, picturing human society as a kind of colony. I'm unsure what the "queen" of the colony is for humans, but it's an interesting perspective. Society has its own lifeforce. The various consciousnesses (animate and inanimate) which create it give rise to a strong spirit.

So the analogy may not be wholly apt, but it allows for viewing humanity through a different framework.
 

Rook

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#11
Bonobo/chimp mix the safest and nearest answer, but Rixus has a point ... my addendum thus:

We live in large societies, yes, but variation, big organismic free for alls (Congo?) vs. regimented bureaucratic self-termed utopias (Singapore) ,,,, but large entities made from smaller ones ... much like chimps children have their place (school) younger maturers theirs (3rd level edu/low wage jobs) and adults are inserted into the resultant pack hierarchies. (I generalize but I'm sure you can ident validity)

C'mon: Neighborhoods, school meetings, small-scale democratic structures that feed the larger beast... one great society of apes such as ours is made from many many packs of varying length and strength. (You in da club? Member of library? Internet cummunities...etc.)

BUT: The Planet

This is where comparisons become undone, in the manner which we collectively utilized our planet. So ant/termite analogy can be more valid large scale (anthills, farming, construction of floats, war etc.etc.) but only in a casual manner.

Dualistic: Nearest to apes for long time still (unless we for some reason change some vital structure biologically) but, well... nuclear war, moon landings, telepathy, usage of photons and other minuscule bits... our comparison is out there among the stars if out there exists and contains life which has followed similar paths to us.

Alternatively you can just say human are chimps who have octopus heads, ant-like intercontinental pheromones, randiness akin to that of dolphins and a need to waggle their bee booties.

No one knows what the Mongolians are though.

((****Oh yes: If there were any dino's with similar sentience their usage of planet might have matched ours in some ways, but society ofc... reptilian)

(But things go many places: Crows that steal, weavers that weave, cows that help other cow escape from hay yoke, wild dogs that babysit, elephants that form matriarchies by kicking out older males(future of some apes, reality for some?) and with chimps et al similarities exponentiate.. kangaroo pouches like prams? fish that change gender... baboons are cool too, watch them play very... like us or how we wish to be in instinctual repression. )
 

Pizzabeak

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#12
Birds were more related to dinosaurs but it all still descended from the same source of fungus and RNA. Even though crows are hella smart, they're in a different niche so use different tools to survive. Plus birds prey on rodents and small mammals so it seems better. Birds evolved 150 millions years ago whereas mammals appeared 200 million years ago, almost as a response to what happened. I'd still say they're based off mice or rats. Really, it's also an ethereal hyperdimensional and spiritual idea, a meme that replicated itself into existence. Once positive appeared, negative also did as well.
 
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#13
What do you mean by sentient?

If you observe animals and try to figure out how they work, I think them being sentient is impossible to get around. But obviously it depends on your definition. They can't communicate with each other (the way humans do) and figure out a "higher moral truth" or whatever. In that regard I agree with hado. One of the biggest differences is our complex language and ability to use that to our advantage. But in terms of them being beings who have some sort of ability to perceive the world and feel, I think they are sentient. It also makes sense in that sentience is a good strategy to survive and adapt.

I mean, you can try to imagine what you imagine a instinct driven machine would behave like vs how animals behave like. For instance, I've recently watched some animals being presented by human magic tricks (youtube). Where humans are presenting a reality that's not supposed to be according to their knowledge and experience. What I see are animals acting something like "surprised". You'd think if they were instinct based they'd respond to unexpected information with fight or flight (to ensure their survival), but rather they seem to show the body language of "confused". What purpose does confusion serve? If you are presented with unexpected information, you'd think the instinct survival mechanism would be fight or flight, no? But, on the contrary, if animals have some sort of slight sentience, confusion would make sense, because they have an idea of how the world is supposed to work. Sentience would allow them to evaluate information and adapt to it.

Also, some birds are able to use tools, in fact the crows (corvidae family?) are among the most intelligent animals on earth.
 

Serac

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#14
In terms of sexual behavior – some mix of bonobo apes and chimpanzees. As a general biological organism embedded in an environment – some kind of cancerous tumor. E.g. one property of cancer cells is that they continue dividing even though there's not enough space between themselves and the adjacent cells. That's pretty much humans right there.
 

QuickTwist

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#15
Oh, was my post deleted? Interesting.
 

Hadoblado

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#16
If your post was deleted intentionally, you should have received reasoning from a mod.
Seeing as no reasoning was given, I'm assuming it's some sort of mistake. I'm not seeing any sign of a deleted post using my mod-vision.
 

Hadoblado

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#18
Ah yes, okay I had no idea there was a double thread.

Yes your post is there, I tried moving stuff to this one but it seems like there's some sort of issue, I'll try again when I'm at home on a computer that isn't made of wood.
 

QuickTwist

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#19
This is why duplicate threads are a bad idea.
 
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#20
I'm a bit surprised no one has mention the cetaceans. They have complex social structures, languages and cultures. They may lack tool usage but I think that is due to environmental constraints. I'm reminded of the two dominant 'cultures' that orcas have based on their respective food supply and the societies the have built around them.

Some ants have been shown to pass the mirror test which just blows my mind.
 

Schattenwandler

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#21

Artsu Tharaz

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#22
Hmm... societies of millions of workers serving an elite...

Sure, why not.
 
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