The Paragon Of Animals In Matt Ridley's The Agile Gene

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In the chapter “The Paragon of Animals” in the book The Agile Gene, Matt Ridley tries to understand whether humans on the same level as other animals. Although he presents evidence for both sides of the argument, I think he has more evidence supporting that humans and other primates are no different. Much of the argument for humans being superior to other animals can be refuted by Jane Goodall’s findings. In 1960, Goodall began watching chimps and noticed how similar they behaved to humans. In her writings, she anthropomorphized the wild animals. Opponents of this argument say that humans are unique because we can learn and preserve culture by passing information throughout generations. However, Goodall found that chimps teach their young how to crack nuts using wooden hammers, and she noticed how this “culture” unique to the chimps. Furthermore, the chimps were seen learning to use tools to make everyday tasks easier. They would use stalks of grass to unearth termites, and Ridley later mentions that baboons have been found capable of abstract reasoning by performing computer discrimination tests. Intelligence seemed to be the main…show more content…
Humans share almost 99% of their DNA with chimpanzees. In fact, Ridley points out, chimpanzee DNA is closer to human DNA than it is to gorillas. Furthermore, a gene called the Hox gene has been found across various animal species. This gene sets out the plans for the body during development by turning on, or turning off, certain genes in specific parts of the body. This commonality alone should be able to convince us that we are no different than any other animal that lives on this earth. We think we are unique, but as Ridley mentions many times, “being unique” is not rare at all because every species is unique. Trunks are unique to elephants as venom is to snakes as intelligence and comprehension are to
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