Giants: Humans (Homo sapiens)

Average Length = 5.5 feet (1.7 metres)
Average Weight = 155 pounds (70 kilograms)

By any account, we humans are a remarkable species.  We have created and achieved many wondrous things, such as mathematics, science, philosophy, art, literature, and music.  But we also tend to create serious problems for ourselves and other creatures with which we share our planet.  Humans are relatively large, wide-spread, abundant and extremely long-lived mammals of the order Primate (a group which includes monkeys, apes and lemurs).  Often regarded as the most intelligent of animals, humans employ abstract reasoning, symbolic language, tools, curiosity, playfulness, and a sense of adventure to explore and modify the world around themselves.  Through use of technology, humans have colonized and subjugated most terrestrial habitats on Earth and have explored and impacted virtually every part of this planet, no matter how remote or inhospitable.  We have also begun visiting  nearby moons and planets as well.  Human culture is varied, complex and dynamic but typically divided into discrete groups based on (often very minor) perceived differences, such as sex, race, or religion.  Members of in-groups are generally valued and treated well; members of  out-groups are not, often shunned, taunted, enslaved, tortured, or killed.  Individual humans compete vigorously against one another for culturally-valued resources, leading to wide differences in wealth and power a few have a great deal while many others have little or none.   The collective culture of humans evolves far more rapidly than its biology and whether our species is sufficiently clever to solve its growing problems of overpopulation, rampant tribalism, environmental pollution, loss of biodiversity, and runaway habitat degradation remains to be seen.


ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research
Text and illustrations R. Aidan Martin
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