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Classifying human vs. animal characteristics

Listed below are several characteristics that are used to classify animals in general and humans in particular:

a) production of milk for the young (reproductive, physiological)
b) high cognitive ability, to reason, to fashion tools (neurological)
c) inability to generate carbohydrates by means of photosynthesis (metabolic)
d) possessing bilateral symmetry (morphological)
e) upright, semi-upright posture (morphological)

Which of these characteristics is most fundamental (most basic)? Which is most specialized (most defining)? What groups of organisms are eliminated from Genus Homo by each characteristic? Keeping in mind this is a Christian perspective.

The Problem

a) Ordering the characteristics from the most fundamental down to the least. List them vertically in the message box with the most fundamental at the top and the most defining at the bottom. Then after each characteristic, b) from the list below, select three large groups of organisms--the largest groups you can discover--that are excluded from relationship to humans by that character. (ex: production of milk: birds (one of three large groups, there may be more, that are excluded by this character). Once any group (any group!) is excluded by the characteristic on a line, you may not use that group on a subsequent line. (That is, on the next line you're limited to groups all of which are included in the character on the line above.)

Groups of Organisms

bats monkeys Euglena

lemurs sponges amphibians

dolphins Ginkgo biloba jellyfish

reptiles birds beavers

echinoderms tarsiers photosynthetic bacteria

Make certain that for each characteristic, they are naming large (as large as possible!!) groups that are excluded by that character. (At each level you'll find that your groups get smaller!)

Solution Preview

a) production of milk for the young (reproductive, physiological)
Characteristic of all mammals

b) high cognitive ability, to reason, to fashion tools (neurological)
Specific to humans

c) inability to generate carbohydrates by means of photosynthesis (metabolic)
Characteristic of all animals

d) possessing bilateral symmetry (morphological)
Characteristic of all animals

e) upright, semi-upright posture (morphological)
Specific to ...

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