This essay considers issues concerning language and sex that could be suggested to show distinctiveness between humans and non-humans. Primarily the focus will be from an evolutionary perspective, in which conclusions can be formed to suggest that although language has evolved, it does not necessarily determine distinctiveness, whereas the evolution of sex (more specifically gender) suggests distinctiveness in humans because of the society we live in.
Although speech is considered unique to humans, the art of communicating is apparent in all creatures. From an evolutionary concept, to evolve is to adapt to better survive in an individual’s environment. It could be suggested that humans have ...view middle of the document...
Living in modern day societies, humans require a form of communication that allows them to not only pass on information such as warnings through their social groups like Velvet monkeys, but to also be able to communicate about events that have happened in another time or place (Pinker 1994, as cited in Cooper and Kaye 2007).
Language is more aptly suited to humans’ lifestyle and the societies they live in, as they are often required to simultaneously perform various other tasks during communicating, or having to communicate with multiple individuals. Language can be seen as constructing and interpreting the lives around individuals as Cooper and Kaye (2007) illustrate with a study by Wieder (1974), on behaviour been based on an informal set of rules rather than the formal ones when institutionalized. This suggests that the evolution of language plays a part in social conduct and people’s identities; this bears distinction to that of the social roles of animals.
Animals on the other hand, as has been suggested, have successfully created their own means of communication that is uniquely suited to their existence. This could suggest that language does not necessarily make us distinctive from other animals, but that it could be a means of allowing humans at better adapting to their given environment, with reference to their social lives in particular.
From an evolutionary context, sex is required to (in most animal cases) reproduce. Humans are one of the only species of animal that use sex for pleasure, (this is excepting the case of certain kinds of monkeys). This suggests a distinction between humans and animals, despite the same been found in certain monkeys, but after all primates are the closest relation to humans in the animal world.
Studies have been done to show the differences between men and women such as performances in intelligence (Maccoby and Jacklin 1974 p.133 as cited in Holloway et al) however; from an evolutionary perspective there are few consistent differences, excepting in behaviours and attitudes, specifically in sexual behaviour. This is because males and females require a different strategy in order to continue the existence of their genes in future offspring. For males, the best chance is to mate with as many partners as possible to enable a higher possibility of offspring, whereas a female would be required to conceive, carry and care for their offspring to...