Things that all humans know

What are some things that all humans know but no other species does? For the sake of argument, we don’t have to include humans with various medical disabilities, such as being in a coma.

For instance, we all know how to swallow. But so do a lot of other animals.

What is common knowledge unique to humans?

That’s it, probably, but it is a lot.

That we are going to die.
(Assuming you mean adult humans.)

Good point. Sure, let’s say humans who are past puberty.

That’s a tough one because it’s been shown that some animals have language as well. We could say written language, but not everyone is literate.

Eating crap is something that should be done in private
Where beef comes from
That the world is larger than the distance that we can walk
That thumbs are special

Maybe “all” is stretching it, but I bet we’re the only species that understands how babies start.

How to dance. Some animals will instinctively move to the music, but they don’t make up dance moves. they don’t “Know How.”

Same with singing. Animals will copy what they hear, but they don’t write songs or try out new combinations of notes.

How to put on clothes.

How about consciously blinking? Or can cats do that?

Is the feeling of embarassment unique to humans? Or once again, do cats do that?

It’s also not true. Whale language. Other species exhibit similar behavior as well.

I’ve said it on the board before, but there is truly little that sets humans apart from the rest of the animals. Take tool use for example. We are far better at it, but it is far from unique. Human hubris makes us want to think that things like tool use and language are unique, but they simply are not. We need to be a little more humble.

Shoot, knowledge of death has also been observed.

Believe me, I’m not trying to threadshit, but this is a very tough question. I can’t think of a single damn thing that ALL humans know that no other species does. I’m wracking my brain and I’m coming up with nothing. Everything I can think of has either animals knowing it in some form (language, tool use, problem solving, etc.) or not all humans knowing it (higher level math, what the moon is, etc.)

I asked this question on thew board before and it appears that only humans play catch. In other words only humans cooperatively throw objects TO each other with the intention of having the other party catch it, and the other party has the ability to catch.

Art, created by conscious thought.

Chimps slinging paint at a canvas or an elephant smearing paint with its trunk don’t cut it. Only humans can pick up a pencil or a paintbrush and produce a picture that is recognizable by others. Only humans can compose music, poetry or prose.

Now THAT’S a good one.

It’s not threadshitting at all, it’s a legitimately tough question.

Humans are not the only species to use weapons, but are we the only ones to fashion them? Can all humans do this to a least a rudimentary level?

Can all humans do that? I suspect we can all draw to a certain extent.

How to use fire?

Other species run away, or possibly try and extinguish it, but we’re the only ones I can think of that know it’s useful.

I dunno about the language thing: the ability to use a language grammatically is something that has not been convincingly shown in other species. The linked article about whalesong is pretty preliminary stuff and contains no information about the meaning of any whale syntax or indeed whether there’s any meaning there. It’s perfectly possible that whalesong contains no clear message communicated via syntax.

Can a whale say, for example, “The food in this spot is better today than it was yesterday, but I still wish there were some mackerel around here”?

Steven Pinker, in The Language Instinct, has a lovely passage describing the uniqueness of the elephant’s trunk. He says there’s nothing else in nature quite like that trunk–and that if elephants were biologists, they might claim that possession of such a trunk was of central ethical importance. He argues that in the same way, our ability to use language is unique in nature, and that making such a claim is no more remarkable than making such a claim about elephant trunks.

I tend toward his point of view on the matter.

And that’s a VERY good one. I’m kicking myself for not thinking of that earlier. Art is debatable, but fire is probably the one single activity that does set our species apart.

There’s some kind of prairie dog that can say “Hey, here comes the human in the blue shirt”, Hey, here comes the human in the red shirt", and “Hey, here comes the human in the blue shirt, but today he’s wearing the red shirt.”

But I’m sure that they can’t discuss more abstract ideas. That could very well be uniquely human.

I tend away from that view. It is again, the height of hubris to think that just because we can’t speak whale that they can’t confer thoughts and desires the same way we do. It sounds like Mr. Pinker is saying that human language is unique, and since no other species speak human language, they don’t communicate well at all.

I highly disagree with that.

Can any other species interlace its fingers?