Comprehensive Look At Our Humanity


March 15, 2011

The New York Times'Science section for March 15, 2011 offers readers a variety of articles on the human condition and how we became human.  Starting with cells, these articles explore human evolution and our relationships with other living things, including our pets. Examine these stories at

"From Single Cells, A Vast Kingdom Atose" sets the stage. "The beginning of animals is one of the more mysterious episodes in the history of life, and intermediate species are extinct.." The article "No Face, But Plants Like Life Too: explores the vegetable kingdom.

In "Supremacy of a Social Network" the authors of this special section consider "The ability to cooperate, to make individuals subordinate their strong sense of self-interest to the needs of the group, lies at the root of human achievement." This artyicle discusses papers published recently in Science focusing on our ancestors' behavioral adaptation of working cooperatively with unrelated individuals. Other apes species recognize relatives and are antagonistic to nonrelatives but humans are unique in working together across relationship boundaries. This is based on research by Bernard Chapais and Kim Hill with contemporary hunter gatherer societies.  See Science for March 11, 2011.