shine-shine was onto something there. Footprints suggests that humans are not the most intelligent, not the only tool makers, don't have the biggest brain, are not the most social, etc. This is entirely true. However, humans have the best balance among these attributes over all of the different species in existance.

Imagine a house. Qualities that make a good house are qualities such as the sturdiness of the house, the architecture, the ground the house is on, and the surrounding neighborhood. I'm sure there could be more, but for these purposes those listed are enough.

A house that holds one of these qualities is hardly a good house. A sturdy, but ugly, house in a terrible section of town with dead plants comprising the 'garden' is not my idea of a picture perfect house. Neither is a house that only lacks one aspect. Take a house that is sturdy, beautiful neighborhood, beautiful architecture, but a garbage dump for a yard. Hardly a nice place.

This analysis can be applied to the topic at hand. A species that has only one aspect that Footprints has noted is hardly an 'advanced' species. Many of the aspects can be found in humans. We are intelligent, make tools, communicate, and the like. Granted, we are not the most intelligent, nor the only ones that communicate, but we can do both, and much more.

Another thing, there is much discussion about bacteria being more advanced than humans because it can live in many different environments. Carthag mentions that a single species of bacteria cannot live in varying environments. Humans, on the other hand, can. This is simple to see, the equator versus Antarctica. There are people on both. Granted, the people on Antarctica are living in houses with heaters and are delivered supplies and such, but I believe that a test of an 'advanced' species. Being able to manipulate one's surroundings to better suit them. If thrown into an 'inhospitable' area, an 'advanced' species should be able to survive.

One last comment. About Footprints' "humans can cut an onion, but an onion can hardly cut us" statement. We can kill other animals quite easily, yes. I think the important aspect is not that we can kill, but that we can control. The domestication of animals is humans controlling and training animals, not to better the animals, but to better the humans. How many animals have trained humans (besides cats training their owners)?