Willing tenants: Ella Dreyfus and her models

What distinguishes the human from other animal species? This question has long tested the ingenuity of speculative minds in the Western tradition. The obvious answers – speech, tool use, the ability to control fire, bipedalism – have been contested and challenged with a range of more quirky suggestions, such as blushing, or the ability to run backwards. Another response is to turn the question in on itself: what makes humans distinct is the very idea that they are so, that they are somehow set apart from all other species.

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