One harmful consequence of creating categories where one group is unique and superior to others is that it justifies committing negative, often atrocious, acts on the members of the inferior group. Correcting divisive human categorizations (racial superiority, gender superiority) has bettered society. Scholars have often claimed that humans are unique and superior to nonhuman animals. These claims need to be reevaluated. Many have already been refuted. Animals have been shown to outperform humans in many tasks, including cognitive ones. Here we raise the question: Has the false sense of superiority been used to justify human cruelty to animals?

Author Biography

Colin A. Chapman has conducted research in Kibale National Park in Uganda for 30 years, contributed to the park’s development and protection, and devoted great effort to promoting conservation by helping rural communities. His research focuses on how the environment influences animal abundance and social organization. Given animals’ plight, he has applied his research to conservation. Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Killam Fellow and Conservation Fellow to the Wildlife Conservation Society, Chapman was advisor to National Geographic and received the Velan Award for Humanitarian Service. Website

Michael A. Huffman, Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University, publishes extensively in the fields of cultural primatology, animal self-medication, ethnobotany, pharmacology, primate host-parasite ecology, reproductive behavior and physiology, behavioral endocrinology, phylogeography, and historical primatology. He has published on over 15 primates and other mammals in Japan, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, China, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Uganda, Guinea, South Africa, and Brazil. He is deeply committed to building bridges through international collaborations and mentoring in over 35 countries. Website



Article Thread

Chapman, Colin A. and Huffman, Michael A. (2018) Why do we want to think humans are different?. Animal Sentience 23(1)