It’s easy to take for granted the fact that humans are mammals. If a primate is a mammal, and man is descended from primates, then it follows that man is also a mammal. But what does a mammal do? How do people relate to mammals? Why do we think humans are different from other mammals and even other primates? These are all questions that can come to mind. To do this, we must study all the features of mammals, primates and humans.
Features of mammals
All mammals are vertebrates from the Mammalia class, whose name means the animal that feeds its young. This applies to female mammals that have mammary glands to carry milk. All mammals also have the three bones of the middle ear, a region of the neocortex in the brain, and hair or fur. These features distinguish mammals from other vertebrates, which are reptiles and birds, although they all belong to the clade of amniotes, which means that the young are hatched inside the amniotic sac and without the larval stage. The largest orders of mammals are Rodentia (rodents), Chiroptera (bats), Eulipotyphla (shrews, moles, hedgehogs, etc.), followed by primates, Artiodactyla (cetaceans and ungulates) and Carnivora.
On the other hand, there are some mammals that are unusual enough to question the characteristics that classify them as such. The platypus, for example, is an egg-laying mammal, and marsupials are also mammals. Most other mammals give birth to live young, but the platypus lays eggs. In addition, although it has fur and the female feeds its young with milk, it sweats with milk instead of excreting it through nipples or nipples, and it is one of the few mammals that produce venom.
The marsupial does not belong to the group of mammals that are more closely related to placental mammals. Instead, it belongs to the mammalian infraclass Marsupialia or Metatheria, which means that it carries its young inside a pouch, which also contains several nipples with which to feed them milk.
Features of primates
The order of primates includes all land mammals. Euterian refers to the Therian mammals, which can be placental or marsupials. It is believed that the first primates lived in trees. Later, some descendants evolved to walk and live on land. All primates have large brains, intelligence, dexterous arms, shoulder girdle, collarbones, and forward-facing eyes with clarity and color vision. Many primates, but not all, have fully or “real” opposed toes. But while non-human primates hold hands on all four limbs, only humans hold their hands only on their hands.
What makes humans a mammal?
Education teaches humans that humans are a species of primate and related to other primates. A primate is a mammal from the order of primates, which includes humans, monkeys, monkeys, chimpanzees, lemurs, tarsiers, and lorises. It is believed that humans had a common ancestor with chimpanzees and diverged 8-6 million years ago.
Like other mammals, a human female carries babies in an amniotic sac, provides food through the placenta, gives birth to live babies and feeds them with milk. Like other primates, humans have dexterous fingers, opposed thumbs, a large brain, intelligence, collarbone, shoulder girdle, and forward-facing eyes with clear vision and color vision.
In terms of the brain, what humans have in common with other mammals is that they have a neocortex, which is a region used for higher-order functions such as sensory perception, language, coordination, and spatial reasoning. The neocortex is part of the frontal lobe. In fact, the mammalian brain is divided into three different regions and is often referred to as the triune brain, which arose from the evolution of vertebrates.
There is a reptilian complex that includes the brain stem and base of the brain and controls the most primitive, automatic reactions between fight, flight, freezing, or deer. Then there is the limbic system, also called the mammalian or paleomammalian cerebral cortex, which controls hormones, smell, emotions, behavior, and long-term memory. Finally, the neocortex.
What makes people unique?
A person from a mammal, except for a person, is not distinguished by a species. In fact, modern humans are only genetically different from chimpanzees and 1.6 percent from gorillas. For comparison, let’s say that a person is 92 percent genetically similar to a mouse. Humans, bonobos, chimpanzees, and African apes are 3.1% genetically different from Asian apes, including the orangutan.
There is also genetic diversity between people in a given population, as well as between different human races. There are three main characteristics that collectively distinguish us from non-human mammals: our babies are helpless at birth, our skin has much less variety of microorganisms, and our brains have different proportions. So, while genetic differences may seem subtle, they and other differences actually matter a lot.
The brain is most important. In humans, the neocortex is called the human brain because it is different from the brains of other mammals. The human neocortex is the largest in relation to the rest of the brain compared to the brain of non-human mammals, allowing for more complex functions, higher thinking, creativity, self-awareness and fine motor control.
We learn from an early age that humans are mammals, but we don’t know all the reasons why. The characteristics that make humans look like other mammals are important because it is widely believed that humans are completely different from non-human animals due to the fact that they are at the top of the food chain and create civilizations. All mammals have a lot in common. Man is a unique creature, but still a mammal.
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