Difference between Humans and Animals

Published on June 30, 2016

We normally recognize ourselves as different from animals, and this is because there are a lot of substantial differences between us. Scientifically though, we humans fall under the Kingdom Animalia, which makes us one of them. Which now leads to the question ‘what are the ways that we humans can confidently say that we are different from animals?’



Humans vs Animals
Humans communicating through language (complex system of communication)

Scientifically, humans are part of the animal kingdom known as homo sapiens. This means that we share a few characteristics that every other animal has. Under the many classifications of the animal kingdom, humans are classified as mammals. This means we possess a neocortex (a region of the brain), hair, and mammary glands. From here, we are separated from many classes and types of animals. Moreover, we humans just sit beside chimps and gorillas under the family of great apes. But what really separates us from apes is that we humans are the only extant species of genus ‘homo’, meaning human being.

The same with other animals, humans are highly social beings that often live in large colonies. They are bipeds that move on their two rear limbs. Humans, as you may all know, have sense organs and a nervous system and require feeding to survive. In addition, they are the only known species to domesticate other animals and engage in agriculture. Compared to all other animals, humans are highly intelligent and are known for their inventive abilities and advanced techniques with technology.


Elephants communicating by touching each other’s trunks

Animals are organisms composed of cells that contain a nucleus and other organelles (subunit within a cell) enclosed within membranes. This now separates the animal kingdom from bacteria and most protists which are non-eukaryotic and not multicellular. Just like humans, animals are motile and move independently and spontaneously, but for some, only at some point in their lives. This again would now separate animals from plants and algea. One distinguishing characteristic of animals is that they are heterotrophs, meaning they must feed to survive, either by ingesting other organisms or their products.

From the Latin word ‘animalis’, which means having breath, having soul, or living being, you can already tell that humans are part of the animal kingdom. Although humans may be part of the animal kingdom, the term ‘animal’ however is often used only to indicate non-human members. In terms of their reproduction, nearly all animals undergo some form of sexual reproduction.

Humans vs Animals

What are the differences between humans and animals?

Starting with the most obvious, humans have much higher intelligence than animals and have much more advanced communications. From the many species of animals, humans belong to only Homo Sapiens. Also, while most animals move on fours or by crawling, humans generally move on twos. In terms of their diet (since both are heterotrophs), animals tend to be either herbivores or carnivores, and humans omnivores.

Moving on, while some animals may also show signs of emotions, only humans are able to express them fully. While some animals are able to express emotions, it’s just in a limited way. Finally, with their high intelligence, humans have a wide variety of ideas that have generated laws, social relationships, and technologies.

Comparison Chart

Highly intelligentLimited Intelligence
BipedsMulti-pedal, Flight, Slither, Swim
OmnivoreMostly herbivore or carnivore
Advanced communicationLimited communication
Are not endangeredEndangered
Changed and developed their environmentSimply survives in their environment
The power of reasoningNot able to reason
Eukaryotic and multicellularEukaryotic and multicellular


Watch this fun and interesting video about the relationship of humans and animals throughout history.