What makes Homo Sapiens so special?

Since life started on earth around 4 billion years ago, there have been millions of species that existed on Earth. But have you wondered why any of them could not dominate the entire Earth like Homo Sapiens? Why any of the species except humans could not set foot on moon? Why any of the species could not develop sophisticated technologies like computer or mobile phone through which you can communicate through long distance?

You may argue that certain species have more capabilities in some respect than humans. But they are basically biological capacity. But humans with the help of technology have surpassed its biological limitations. For example-

Humans could not run as fast as Cheetah or Horse?
Boom, they invented cycles, internal combustion engine and cars and can now beat any animals in the race

Humans could not fly like birds?
Boom, they invented aeroplanes and now can even fly on space, which no other species can.

Humans could not produce light like fireflies?
Boom, they domesticated fire and invented Bulbs and now can beat any fireflies in producing light

So, humans have always strived to produce technologies to overcome its limitations. Yet, aren’t all this technologies invented just a few centuries ago, whereas Homo Sapiens have been in existence for around 3,00,000 years. So what made us so special that a single species is now dominating the world and driving all other species to extinction. Lets find out-


Early primates mostly lived an arboreal life of climbing on trees and gathering fruits. Hominins gradually started to adpot bipedalism, that is, moving on two legs. Bipedalism likely offered several advantages to early human ancestors, including the ability to cover long distances efficiently, freeing up the hands for tool use and carrying objects, and improved visibility to scan the environment for food and danger. There are many hypothesis to explain why humans adopted bipedalism such as-

Provisioning hypothesis-
The provisioning model is a hypothesis proposed by the late paleoanthropologist Owen Lovejoy, which suggests that the evolution of bipedalism in early hominins was driven by the need to transport food and other resources over long distances.
Males were responsible for provisioning the females, whereas females protected their offspring. Females would mate exclusively with the provisioning male, and other males would no longer need to fight with each other over the females. Therefore, the males’ blade-like canine teeth diminished over time. Also, the body size of males reduced, typical of monogamous species.

Savannah Model-
The savanna theory is a hypothesis that suggests that the evolution of bipedalism in early hominins was driven by the need to adapt to life in open savanna environments. According to this theory, early hominins lived in environments that were transitioning from forests to savannas, and bipedalism would have allowed them to move more efficiently and effectively in these new environments. The savanna theory is based on the idea that bipedalism would have provided several adaptations for early hominins living in savanna environments, including improved visibility to scan for food and danger, reduced heat stress, and reduced risk of predation. As Hominins began to stand upright, they were able to look over tall grasses of Savannah to watch out for resources and be alert of predators.

Bipedalism is one of the most defining characters of Hominins
(Source- Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Postural feeding hypothesis-
The postural feeding hypothesis is a theory that suggests that the evolution of bipedalism in early hominins was driven by the need to reach for food in trees and other elevated environments. According to this hypothesis, early hominins evolved bipedalism as a means of standing upright to access food that was out of reach, such as fruit in trees or insects on branches.

Thermoregulatory model-
The thermoregulatory model is a hypothesis that suggests that the evolution of bipedalism in early hominins was driven by the need to regulate body temperature. According to this theory, bipedalism would have allowed early hominins to expose more of their body surface area to the air, which would have increased the rate of heat loss and allowed them to regulate their body temperature more effectively in hot environments.

Its commonly believed that bipedalism in hominins evolved because of combination of these factors rather than any single one.

Dextrous hands and opposable thumb-

As hominins developed bipedalism, there two hands were freed to perform other tasks. Dextrous hands are a characteristic of Homo sapiens that have been critical to our evolution and success as a species. Our hands are capable of precise movements and can be used to manipulate objects in a wide range of ways. This dexterity has allowed us to develop and use tools, which has in turn allowed us to adapt to changing environments, access new food sources, and create complex societies.

Source- Newsclick

Dextrous hands are a defining characteristic of Homo sapiens and have been critical to our survival and success as a species. They allow us to manipulate objects, create and use tools, and communicate through gestures and sign language, among other things. Our ability to use our hands in these ways has allowed us to adapt to changing environments, access new food sources, and create complex societies, which has ultimately made us one of the most successful species on the planet.

Also Opposable thumbs have been critical to our evolution and success as a species. Opposable thumbs allow us to grasp and manipulate objects with precision, which has been important for our ability to create and use tools, communicate through gestures, and perform other complex tasks.

Source- Newsclick

Big and complex brain-

Well, humans have a large brain but its not the largest. An average human brain today weighs 2.98 lbs. (1,352 grams), far exceeding the brains of chimpanzees, our nearest living relatives, at 0.85 lb. (384 grams). But animals like elephants (4.5 kg) and whales (7 to 9 kg) have far more larger brain than we do.

So maybe its not the size that makes human brain special. Some scientists argue that humans have largest brain in proportion to their body weight. But this is also not true. Ants have the largest brain in proportion to their body of 1:7. Humans and rodents have a brain weight to body proportion of 1:40.

So what makes our brain so special? When it comes to brains, size isn’t everything. The human brain is much smaller than that of an elephant or whale. But there are far more neurons in a human’s cerebral cortex than in the cortex of any other animal. Cerebral cortex is a critical part of the brain that is responsible for a number of important functions, including sensory processing, movement control, language, problem solving, memory, emotion, and conscious awareness. Humans have around 86 billion neurons in brain, out of which around 16 billion neuron lies in the cerebral cortex. This is more than any living creature on earth.

Humans have the most number of neurons in their cerebral cortex
(Source- quantamagazine.org)

Control of Fire-

Humans are the only living species on earth who knows how to make and manage a fire. Basically, we are the fire species. The control of fire by early humans was a critical technology enabling the evolution of humans. Fire provided a source of warmth and lighting, protection from predators, a way to create more advanced hunting tools, and a method for cooking food. The ability to control fire had a major impact on human survival and gave our ancestors a major advantage over other species.

Domestication of fire
(Source – ancient-origins.net)

The exact date of when humans first discovered and controlled fire is uncertain, but it is estimated to have occurred between 1 million and 2 million years ago. It is likely that early humans first discovered fire as a result of natural fires caused by lightning strikes or volcanic eruptions, and then learned to control it and use it for their own purposes.

Once humans had discovered and controlled fire, they could cook food, which allowed them to eat a wider variety of food, including meat, and to digest food more easily. This, in turn, allowed for a more diverse diet and more efficient use of energy, which allowed for the evolution of larger brains.

Fire also played a role in social and cultural development, as early humans gathered around fires for warmth, light, and social interaction. It is likely that the control of fire was an important factor in the development of early human societies and cultures.


Brain is a costly organ. The Homo sapiens brain uses 20% of the body’s oxygen at rest despite making up only 2% of the body’s weight. To gather this much energy from raw food, humans would have to eat more than 9 hours eating. That would not have been practically feasible. The invention of cooking solved this problem.

Cooking made us consume more energy in less time
(Source- Journal of internal medicine)

Humans are the only animals that cook their food. Cooking had profound evolutionary effect because it increased food efficiency, which allowed human ancestors to spend less time foraging, chewing, and digesting. Hominins developed a smaller, more efficient digestive tract, which freed up energy to enable larger brain growth.

Speech box or larynx-

The development of the speech box, also known as the larynx, is a key factor in the evolution of human speech. The larynx is the part of the human voice box that contains the vocal cords, and it allows us to produce speech by controlling the vibration of these cords as air is expelled from the lungs.

The evolution of the human larynx is thought to have been a key factor in the development of speech, as it allowed early humans to produce a wider range of sounds and to control their speech more accurately. This, in turn, allowed for the development of complex language and the ability to communicate more effectively.

The exact timeline for the evolution of the human larynx is uncertain, but it is thought to have occurred between 1.8 million and 400,000 years ago, as early humans evolved from early hominins to modern Homo sapiens. It is likely that the development of the larynx was a gradual process that was influenced by a number of factors, including changes in the anatomy of the throat and neck, and the need for improved communication.

Overall, the evolution of the human larynx, or speech box, was a critical factor in the development of human speech and language, and it allowed early humans to communicate more effectively and to develop complex language. This, in turn, allowed for the development of human societies and cultures and helped to set us apart from other species.

Use of tools-

The use of tools is one of the defining characteristics of human evolution, and it has played a critical role in the development of our species.

Early humans first began to use simple tools, such as sticks and stones, around 2.6 million years ago. Over time, they developed increasingly sophisticated tools and weapons, including stone axes, knives, and spears, which allowed them to access a wider range of food sources and habitats.

Use of tools have always been defining characteristics of Hominins
(Source- insightsonindia.com)

The use of tools also allowed early humans to overcome many of the physical limitations of their anatomy, such as their relatively weak jaws and teeth, by allowing them to process food in new ways. This allowed early humans to diversify their diet and take advantage of new food sources, which was critical for their survival and reproduction.

In addition, the use of tools allowed early humans to express their creativity and ingenuity, and it played a critical role in the development of human culture and society. The ability to create and use tools was a key factor in the development of early human societies, and it has allowed humans to achieve remarkable technological advancements throughout our history.

Overall, the use of tools is one of the defining characteristics of human evolution, and it has played a critical role in shaping our species and the world we live in.


Most humans believe in God, Nation and Money. But these are nothing but a fiction of our imagination. A Nation exists only because humans believe it exists. Similarly, money is nothing but a piece of paper, but since humans give value to a piece of paper, it becomes a dollar or a rupee. Similarly, God exists because many theist humans believes so. But these are essentially a product of our human imagination. A bird don’t know which nation’s borders it is crossing while flying. Similarly, you cannot feed a hungry dog by providing her money. Nor you can make a chimpanzee believe in Quran or Bible.

But these fictions and imaginations makes us co-operate better in a larger group. Although bees and ants can co-operate in a huge level also, but they cannot co-operate as flexibly as humans. Flexible cooperation has allowed humans to work together in complex and dynamic ways, adapting to changing circumstances and finding new solutions to problems. This ability has been critical to our survival and adaptation as a species, and it has allowed us to overcome obstacles and thrive in a wide range of environments.

Agricultural revolution and domestication of animals-

The Agricultural Revolution was a major turning point in human history that took place around 10,000 years ago. It marked the transition from hunting and gathering to the domestication of plants and animals and the development of agricultural societies.

Agriculture Revolution and animal domestication
(Source- egyptfwd.org)

The Agricultural Revolution began in different parts of the world at different times, but it had far-reaching effects on human society and the environment. With the domestication of plants and animals, humans were able to secure a more stable and reliable food supply, which allowed for the growth of permanent settlements and the development of complex societies.

Domestication of animals played a key role in the Agricultural Revolution. By taming and breeding wild animals, humans were able to create new breeds of animals that were more suited to their needs and purposes. For example, they bred horses for riding, cows for milk, and sheep for wool.

The domestication of animals allowed for the development of new technologies, such as plows and carts, which made agriculture more efficient and productive. It also allowed for the creation of new forms of social organization, such as pastoralism and herding, which allowed humans to take advantage of the new opportunities provided by agriculture.

Overall, the Agricultural Revolution and the domestication of animals were critical events in human history, as they transformed human societies and laid the foundation for the development of civilization. They also had a profound impact on the environment, as large-scale agriculture led to widespread deforestation and the creation of new landscapes and ecosystems.

Scientific Revolution-

The Scientific Revolution is a period of intense scientific activity and discovery starting from 16th century and continuing till today. This period saw a major shift in the way scientists thought about and approached natural phenomena, leading to the development of modern science as we know it today.

During the Scientific Revolution, scientists and philosophers such as Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and Francis Bacon, among others, made significant advancements in fields such as physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, and mathematics. They emphasized the importance of empirical observation and experimentation, and established the scientific method as a means of acquiring new knowledge about the world.

One of the most significant achievements of the Scientific Revolution was the development of the heliocentric model of the universe, which placed the Sun at the center of the universe and the Earth and other planets revolving around it. This challenged the previously accepted geocentric model, which placed the Earth at the center of the universe.

The Scientific Revolution also had a profound impact on other areas of knowledge, including medicine, where new anatomical and physiological discoveries were made, and technology, where new inventions and innovations were developed. Some of the notable inventions were Telescope, microscope, steam engine, printing press, evolution concept, Bulb, Germ theory of disease, computers, mobile phones, internet etc.

Source- Thoughtco

In short, the Scientific Revolution was a critical turning point in human history, as it marked a shift from traditional, religious-based explanations of natural phenomena to a more scientific, rational, and secular understanding of the world. It paved the way for the Enlightenment and the modern world, and it continues to shape the way we think about science, technology, and the universe.

So what does our future hold?

Meet Sophia, the first Robot Citizen

So by analysing all this points, we certainly can deduce how humans came to dominate the entire globe. But will it continue to dominate in the future also? The development of AI (Artificial intelligence) paves the way for creating more efficient non-organic ‘beings’, which can think and feel like humans, learn from its mistakes and improve itself through Machine Learning (ML). And they would also be free from human disadvantage like exhaustion and boredom. Or would we see cyborg roaming in the streets with enhanced capabilities of both humans and machines. It remains to be seen.


6 thoughts on “What makes Homo Sapiens so special?

      1. I believe our Creator created all life forms Kailash, but only graced mankind with an eternal soul.
        As a biologist, it wasn’t until after extensive research that I realized the fallacy, as evidenced in the completely objective fossil record, that the evolution of new life forms, not different forms within Phyla, is the subtle result of man’s pride unwilling to accept there is Someone greater than himself.


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