Biology Question #4278

Rick James, a 58 year old male from palm springs asks on May 31, 2008,

I'm just curious why we humans are the only species on this planet that have to manufacturer clothing to protect us from the elements, use fire to cook our food, feel the need to create things that are of no true practical use other than entertainment, explore beyond our planet or even speculate the meaning or the workings of the universe, etc... if we are truly naturally evolved on this planet, wouldn't we have evolved in a way that would preclude us having to find artificial means to survive?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on June 2, 2008

Evolutionary biologist Elie Dolgin contributed to this answer. Many animals use tools, and all animals modify their environment. Chimps use sticks to fish termites. Termites build mounds to house their colonies. Worms dig holes through soil. Beavers build dams and alter water currents. Hermit crabs use other animal's shells to protect themselves from the elements. These are just a few small examples. There are thousands more. Many animals do things just for the enjoyment of it. For instance, spinner dolphins jump out of the water and spin for fun. Dogs chase balls, or their tails. Humans just do a lot more of all this stuff. We are not doing anything "artificial" any more than any other animal is. Everything humans do is "natural" for the kind of animal we are.

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