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Thread: Are we homo faber or homo sapiens?

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  1. #1
    Aerospace engineer turned writer Laer Carroll's Avatar
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    Are we homo faber or homo sapiens?

    I read an article a couple of months ago that made an assertion relevant to a story I'm writing now. I wonder what the anthropologists and anthro-savvy in this forum make of it, and what terminology they'd use in discussing the assertion.

    It referenced The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris. In his book he said that humans evolved into existence because we use tools so extensively. Not only do they shape the world, but they shape us by evolving us better able to make and use tools.

    So instead of growing fur we take it from other animals, or make substitutes for fur. Since some kinds of clothing (bikinis, desert robes, parkas, spacesuits) can be exchanged for other kinds we don't need fur. Which leads to other aspects of humanity. It makes us sensualists and so makes us have sex more. (Morris talked a lot about sex, and I could never understand why or his arguments about why.)

    At any rate the recent article said we should be classified homo faber rather than homo sapiens. It suggested that visiting aliens might not think we were sapient, being little more than beavers with hands. Our cities might seem to them more like ant hills, the result of instinctive instead of thinking behavior. And thus they'd be justified in exterminating or enslaving us.

    So what? Faber or sapiens? Both or neither? And what is the accepted anthro terms for humans and their ancestors and siblings? Do you agree with the terminology?
    Last edited by Laer Carroll; 11-15-2017 at 09:57 PM.

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