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“Animal” is a meaningful concept for biologists

For many, the term “animals” refers to organisms that have many things in common with humans, but lack all the kinds of characteristics that make humans a unique creature. This is the animal concept of gammas who repeatedly begin their books and articles with the phrase “Humans are the only animals that…”, and then follow up with something that is factually incorrect and scientifically irrelevant, but often harms the animals. It puts her at a disadvantage. I understand that Eva Major wants to get rid of this animalistic concept (3/26). But for me as a biologist, “animal” is a meaningful taxonomic concept: the name of a group of organisms that have more in common with each other than with members of other similar groups. Animals are fundamentally different from plants, bacteria and fungi, for example, which also show enormous differences from each other. There is a lot of interesting information to be said about the differences between these groups and their evolutionary history, which is why the word “animal” is as indispensable as the word “plant” or the word “fungus.” Man is one of millions of species that make up the animal kingdom, but in stories at this level of generality he is no more interesting or special than millions of other species. And for those who care: Humans are unique, but so are millions of other species.