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What Does It Mean To Be Biologically Human

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Basic Biological Influences On Human Behavior:

What Does It Mean To Be Human?


Human beings are animals.

This is not a reference to our behavior. It is a reference tothe fact that humans are biological creatures, as much as crocodiles, cougars,and capybara. We are the product of millions of years of evolution, our physicalmake-up changing to make us fitter to survive and reproduce.

However, although humans are animals, we alsohave something that no other animal has: the most complex social structure onEarth. We gather in families, tribes, clans, nations. We have an incrediblysophisticated method of interacting — speech. We can communicate over time anddistance through printing and broadcasting. Our memories are the longest, ourinteractions the most intricate, our perception of the world simultaneously thebroadest and most detailed.

The combination of biology and society iswhat makes us what we are and do what we do. Biology guides our responses tostimuli, based on thousands of generations of ancestors surviving because oftheir responses. Our social structures dictate restrictions on and alterationsin how we carry out our biological responses.


The three main elements biology contributesto human behavior are: 1) self-preservation 2) the reason forself-preservation, reproduction and 3) a method to enhance self-preservationand reproduction, greed. I will discuss each in turn.



A zebra is not so lucky, and the pridefeasts.


Biological Diversity Is Inherent In Humanity

The Human Genome and the Human Genome Project

Humans have about 75,000 different genes. They are made of a chemical known as DNA. Each gene is composed of a string of thousands of modular chemical building molecules, called nucleotides, of which there are four different types. Genes, in turn, are connected by the thousands in bead-like fashion into 23 larger molecular structures known as chromosomes. The set of chromosomes together is known as the “genome.” In all, it consists of about 3 billion nucleotides, and every person carries two complete sets – one set received from each parent.

Genes are a type of molecular “code,” each specifying a particular biological function. From a chemical point of view, the four different types of nucleotides can occur in any order or number. The way the coding system takes advantage of this is that the particular “sequence” of nucleotides of which a gene is composed determines that gene’s function. This sequence is related to the active biological molecules, called proteins, which are specified by that code. If the DNA coding sequence of a gene is altered, it may lead the coded protein to work differently, which can lead to a variety of possible outcomes, including disease.

Comparison To Other Species

Theories in psychology, like the construction of the ego as suggested in the mirror stage by Jacques Lacan, reminds us about the possibility that self-consciouness and self-reflection may be at least in part a human construction. Various attempts have been made to identify a single behavioral characteristic that distinguishes humans from all other animals. Some anthropologists think that readily observable characteristics are based on less easily observable mental processes that might be unique among humans: The ability to think symbolically, in the abstract or logically, although several species have demonstrated some abilities in these areas. Nor is it clear at what point exactly in human evolution these traits became prevalent. They may not be restricted to the species as the extinct species of the genus are believed to also have been adept tool makers and may also have had linguistic skills.

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What Is Biological Immortality And Why Human Cells Are Not Immortal

What is the difference between immortality and biological immortality? “Immortal means you don’t die at all,” answers Thomas Bosch at the University of Kiel. No living organism that can not be destroyed by external forces has ever been found. In that sense, there are no immortal organisms.

However, some cells and organisms have, what is called, biological immortality: they are not susceptible to apoptosis, intracellular mechanisms that cause cell death. It means that if no external force causes them damage, they can continue their existence because there are no internal forces to bring them to their end.

Health And Disease In Evolutionary Perspective

Researchers Create A 3D Model That Looks And Acts Like a Real Human ...

This course explores how principles from biological anthropology can provide insight into human health and disease. This course also asks students to critically analyze prevailing medical concepts of ‘normal’ physiology and illness. We adopt a comparative approach to consider the evolutionary, physiological, and cultural bases of human health and disease by examining case studies in the following areas:

  • i) human diet and nutrition
  • ii) demography, life history, and reproduction
  • iii) pathogens, parasites, and immunity.

Dist: SCI.

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Social Environmental And Health Impacts Of Human Conflict

This course will introduce students to the impacts of genocide, war, and other forms of structural violence on population, individual, and environmental health. Students will examine these impacts primarily from public health, life history, and ecosystem perspectives. This course also asks students to think critically about opportunities for scholarly contributions to prevent and/or mitigate these impacts. Dist: SOC WCult: NW

Evolution Of Pregnancy Birth And Babies

This course examines human universals and cross-cultural variation in pregnancy, birth, and infant development. In the first section, principles of life history theory and human reproductive ecology are introduced, and students will learn how assisted birth evolved in humans. In the second section, students will analyze expectations and systems of pregnancy, birth, and infant care in a cross-cultural context. Throughout the course, students will evaluate current controversies surrounding medical models of childbirth, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping.

Dist: INT or SCI.

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Anthropology And The Forensic Sciences

Forensic anthropology is the application of the science of anthropology and its subfields, including Biological Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology , and Archeology, in a legal setting. Traditionally the forensic anthropologist will assist law enforcement agencies in the retrieval and identification of unidentified human remains. This course will introduce the student to various anthropological sub-disciplines used in the fields of forensics, including: search for clandestine burials excavation and retrieval of human remains identification of human remains handling of evidence interaction with law enforcement agencies presentation of data, results and evidence review of forensic and anthropological case studies and guest lectures.

Dist: SCI

What Are Human Beings Perspectives From Science And Scripture

Master of Biological Anthropology

What does it mean to be human? This is not the sort of question that occupies much of our thinkingat least not at an explicit, conscious level. Coffee shop conversations rarely turn to such speculative questions. Nevertheless, we carry out much of our lives with implicit answers to this question. Budget discussionswhether in Washington, D.C., or in our familiesoften parade different views of what it means to be human. Feed the Soul or Feed the Hungry?this was the headline for a report on budget negotiations in a city council,1 but could just as easily summarize a congregations struggle to allocate its mission dollars. Either way, it divulges certain assumptions about humanity. Slogans sometimes capture deeply held views: I think, therefore I am. Shes only human. Some toss around the language of unalienable rights and equality, demonstrating that they have strong views about human beings. The criteria by which we measure success or encourage happiness or contemplate health care decisionsthese are all grounded in our commitments regarding what it means to be human. We may not think much about what it means to be human, but our thoughts and actions regularly put into play our default assumptions and beliefs about what this entails.

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How Does Human Cell Aging Work

Why exactly are normal human cells innately mortal – why our bodies age? First of all, are structures at the end of the chromosomes called the “telomeres.” In humans, chromosomes irreversibly lose some part of their telomeres every time a human cell divides. Essentially, it starts from the moment our cells differentiate from the form of the stem cells and keeps happening as we grow and age. Cells keep losing telomers until they reach the point where cells can no longer divide: in scientific terms, enter synesthesia.

Sometimes, cells also lose the ability to divide due to irreparable “mistakes” that happen during replication. There are many more mechanisms leading to synesthesia or apoptosis. In any case, the endpoint is called Hayflick limit: the number of times a human cell population will divide before cell division can no longer occur due to DNA damage or lack of telomeres.

What Does It Mean To Be Human

Post Date: 01/05/2004Human Dignity

Editors Note: The following article is adapted from Teresa Iglesias, The Dignity of the Individual: Issues of Bioethics and Law. Pleroma Press, Dublin, 2001, pp. 6972.

One of the most fundamental questions that is increasingly facing bioethicists and society alike is the question, “What does it mean to be human?” “In what consists the act of being human?” “Is my humanity a ‘bodily’ humanity?” In every area of philosophical concern we are always thrown back to these basic questions.

I hold that every human being is a human person, and every human person is a human being. I also hold that the existence of a human being, say my own existence, began when my bodily existence began, that is when I was conceived.

So let me draw your attention to three fundamental aspects of the human being to which we have to pay attention in order to see them in relation to the kind of beings we are: the human being is bodily, organic, physical, the human being is also an integrated-unity-of-life, a living being, a living whole, a one, an individual and the human being is a being with a temporal continuity, a being with a history, a being in time.

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The Water In You: Water And The Human Body

Think of what you need to survive, really just survive. Food? Water? Air? Facebook? Naturally, I’m going to concentrate on water here. Water is of major importance to all living things in some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water.

According to Mitchell and others , the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.

Each day humans must consume a certain amount of water to survive. Of course, this varies according to age and gender, and also by where someone lives. Generally, an adult male needs about 3 liters per day while an adult female needs about 2.2 liters per day. All of the water a person needs does not have to come from drinking liquids, as some of this water is contained in the food we eat.

Water serves a number of essential functions to keep us all going

  • A vital nutrient to the life of every cell, acts first as a building material.
  • It regulates our internal body temperature by sweating and respiration
  • The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream
  • It assists in flushing waste mainly through urination
  • acts as a shock absorber for brain, spinal cord, and fetus
  • forms saliva
  • lubricates joints

Should Fertilization And/or Syngamy Form Part Of The Biological Definition Of Human Embryo

Biohazards / Advances in biological science raise troubling questions ...

A number of the emerging technologies summarized in Table do not involve the contribution of chromosomal DNA by both a sperm and an oocyte or the completion of syngamy . However, some of these techniques, if conducted using human materials, might have the potential to produce a live human birth. Given this, it would be expected that a human embryo would be created during the developmental processes initiated using these techniques. The inclusion of fertilization and syngamy as necessary elements in a definition of human embryo, would eliminate emerging technologies that have the potential to produce a new human being. Therefore, an absolute requirement for fertilization and/or syngamy may not be appropriate for the biological definition of a human embryo.

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Cnidarians: Colonies Of Clones

Cnidarians present us another “immortality” form, posing a question whether a genetic copy which continues living can be considered the same organism or not. Cnidarians are corals, zoanthids, sea fans, siphonophores, and other organisms that form colonies by budding. Lots of them, essentially, start with just one individual embryo and create colonies by repeatedly cloning themselves, making copies of the basic unit or zooid – all with the same genetic set. Many anemonies and coral reefs do so. Now an intriguing part: if a branch of a coral of broken off, it can start its own colony in a different place. Even if the “first” coral dies, the separated part continues to live on, carrying the same genetic set – virtually, maintaining the life of the initial individual.

Should The Biological Definition Of Human Embryo Include A Developmental Time Point

It has been previously argued that the potential for continued development should be a key consideration for any definition of embryo . The discussion presented in this paper fully supports this view. However, it is questionable whether it is possible to define human embryo without making some reference to a developmental point in time.

Another approach to the development of a biological definition of human embryo may be one that does include a reference to a specific developmental time point, but in the context of the potential for continued development. The term human embryo is not applicable before the completion of fertilization of a human oocyte by a human sperm , because this is when the new genome of the new individual is created. Prior to syngamy the maternally and paternally inherited genomes exist as two separate genomes.

A definition of human embryo based on syngamy excludes reproductive technologies that do not involve the fertilization of a human oocyte by a human sperm. Although some of these technologies might result in live births if applied to the human, it is clear from animal studies that others would not. From a biological perspective, setting the definitive time point at syngamy would include entities that have no potential to form a live human individual. It may be more appropriate to assess the potential of such entities to develop to, or beyond the appearance of, the primitive streak.

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Aspects Of Human Biology: Nutrition

Nutrition is a broad term covering the study of nutrients in food, how the body uses nutrients, and the relationship between diet, health and disease. The six nutrients the human body needs for energy, to maintain tissue and to regulate bodily processes are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, water, vitamins and minerals. Dietary patterns, risk factors for disease such as inflammatory markers and DNA-methylation and dietary strategies for weight loss are of interest to people working in the field of nutrition.

We Cant Turn To Science For An Answer

Bioethics: What does it mean to be âhuman?â?

What does it mean to be human? Or, putting the point a bit more precisely, what are we saying about others when we describe them as human? Answering this question is not as straightforward as it might appear. Minimally, to be human is to be one of us, but this begs the question of the class of creatures to which us refers.

Cant we turn to science for an answer? Not really. Some paleoanthropologists identify the category of the human with the species , others equate it with the whole genus , some restrict it to the subspecies , and a few take it to encompass the entire hominin lineage. These differences of opinion are not due to a scarcity of evidence. They are due to the absence of any conception of what sort of evidence can settle the question of which group or groups of primates should be counted as human. Biologists arent equipped to tell us whether an organism is a human organism because human is a folk category rather a scientific one.

If this sounds strange to you, it is probably because you are already committed to one or another conception of the human . However, claims like an animal is human only if it is a member of the species are stipulated rather than discovered. In deciding that all and only are humans, one is expressing a preference about where the boundary separating humans from non-humans should be drawn, rather than discovering where such a boundary lays.

If science cant give us an account of the human, why not turn to the folk for an answer?

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Bad News For Irish Wolfhounds

An illustrative example of the aging caused by the telomere loss is the difference in longevity between giant and regular size dogs, for instance, Irish Wolfhounds and primitive breeds like Huskies. It is known that giant breeds have a significantly shorter lifespan. Scientists attribute it to the exaggerated rate of cell division during their extremely accelerated spurt of growth during their first several months of life. Puppies are born small. In giant breeds, they have the same number of months to grow to a much larger size. If we simplify, they “spend” too many telomers during the first year of life to reach the giant size.

The Biological Definition Of Human Embryo

After consideration of the issues raised in the preceding discussion, the following biological definition of human embryo is proposed.

A human embryo is a discrete entity that has arisen from either: and has not yet reached 8 weeks of development since the first mitotic division.

  • the first mitotic division when fertilization of a human oocyte by a human sperm is complete or

  • any other process that initiates organized development of a biological entity with a human nuclear genome or altered human nuclear genome that has the potential to develop up to, or beyond, the stage at which the primitive streak appears,

This definition attempts to combine the aspects of observed stages of development, developmental potential and origin of the DNA contributing to the new individual. It is recognized that this definition creates the possibility of an anomaly whereby an entity which arose from completion of fertilization of a human oocyte by a human sperm and, for whatever reason, lacked the potential for future development would be considered as an embryo, whereas an identical entity that was artificially created would not have the status of an embryo. However, completion of fertilization of a human oocyte by a human sperm is sufficient to define an entity as a human embryo regardless of any potential, or lack thereof, for future development.

Having arrived at the biological definition of a human embryo, it is instructive to apply it to the emerging technologies previously discussed .

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