To begin with, it is worth to not that some of the most important things learned in this class include the illness behavior of human beings. I discovered that other animals do not exhibit the same kind of behavior as humans when threatened with a disease or injury. Non-human primates remove disease-causing microorganisms from their bodies physically and enhance immunity by being exposed to small samples of pathogens. However, their response is not orchestrated cognitively and thus, attributed to evolution and adaptation. On the other hand, human beings are aware and very conscious of being sick, a behavior that has undergone evolution. They are able to initiate changes in behavior that are aimed at restoring health. Healing behavior is associated with intended assisting of people in distress and consists of interpretive behaviors that express need, suffering, and distress on the part of the patient as well as compassionate acts and sympathy from the healer. The healers may go as far as risking their own lives to assist the patients but may become weary at some point. This adaptability to illnesses in humans seems to be associated with the evolution of human beings and continues to enable them to adapt to their changing environment.
I also learned that due to evolution, human children are born at a more immature stage than other animals or earlier human beings. Therefore, it requires a lot of nourishment from the mother, especially, to nurture such a newborn and they have devised mechanisms such as intensified food sharing with closely related males such as the father. When the food resources become ‘injured’ or ill the mother results in getting an alternative male, asking help from other females or can also help in the healing of the initial food resource. By helping to heal the resource, it is of benefit to her, the child and also the man and the benefits trickle down to other group members leading to interdependency. Therefore, helping to heal others may be of benefit to oneself in the long run because one ill member of the group usually affects other people.
Another important thing from this class is that growth and becoming adults in human beings is very different from other animals. In non-human primates, growth is continuous and no categories of labor among different age groups as it is in human beings. Unlike human beings who in one way or another inter-depend on each other, each animal works independently, no sharing food and loss of ability to feed themselves leads to death. Another difference is that the non-human primates are not aware of mortality and do not realize that growing old is a deposition to death but human beings are able to give meaning to the biological changes in the body in relation to death. Menopause is also known to be unique in human beings because most of the other animals reproduce until death and normally die within a normal interval of inter-births. However, some researches have also indicated menopause in other primates but it is not conclusively clear because the age at which it occurs is distinct in each of them.
In conclusion, most of these differences that human beings have from other animals are because of evolution as explained by Charles Darwin. Natural selection is thought to have occurred in humans and is based on variation and inheritance. Variations to enhance survival and natural selection occur by random mutations which are passed on to generations.