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Our opposable thumb

Our opposable thumb

Stereoscopic vision, depth perception, certain emotions and other perceptions, and the ability to stretch our thumbs farther than most other species, the ability to build and destroy things, and many other traits individually or in combination separate us from other species, not necessarily all species though.  Other animals with opposable thumbs include gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, and other variants of apes; certain frogs, koalas, pandas, possums and opossums, and many birds have an opposable digit of some sort.  Many dinosaurs had opposable digits as well.  Granted, most of these are primates, as are we.  I wonder if rationalization is something unique to humans.  The ability to ponder may be as well.”

Humans are not the only species with an opposable thumb.  We are not the species with the largest brain.  We are not the only species to communicate or walk bipedal.  So what does make Homo sapiens unique? Perhaps it has something to do with our imagination, our ability to ponder “what if?” and our stubborn persistence.  Long ago I realized that I depend very strongly on my ability to imagine.  Confronted by a challenging situation I imagine choices unfolding into the future.  “Will this work?” I let my imagination run and a scenario plays out allowing me to decide “yes, I think this will work” or “no, I don’t think this will work.”  I wonder, is imagination the real strength of Homo sapiens?  It certainly helps when deciding a direction of action if we can picture a scenario in our head and imagine future outcome, assuming our assumptions are correct.

Now let’s take it one step further, what about belief in the absence of knowing?  What does it mean that we can act even in the absence of logical argument?  True story.

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