Colin A. Chapman and Michael A. Huffman, Why do we want to think humans are different?


Our commentators come from many fields and disciplines and express highly divergent views, illustrating broad interest in the question. From the breadth of comments, we have identified two recurring themes, which we focus on here. The first is a preponderance of cautionary remarks about evaluating the differences between humans and nonhuman animals. The second concerns whether considering animals as worthy of moral consideration is one of many useful tools for conservationists trying to prevent extinction, habitat destruction, and climate change.

Author Biography

Colin A. Chapman’s research focuses on how the environment influences animal abundance and social organization. Given their plight, he has applied his research to conservation. He has conducted research in Kibale National Park in Uganda for 30 years, contributed to the park’s development and protection, and has devoted great effort to promoting conservation by helping the rural communities. Website

Michael A. Huffman, a tenured faculty member at the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University, Japan, 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. Website