On the Most Beautiful Species

Embed from Getty Images

Sunrise, sunsets, rock formations, the star-filled sky, a brilliant moon, a blooming meadow is a valley surrounded by mountains, and much more … Natural beauty is all around us.

Beauty within the living world is easy to find – rainforests, coral reefs, grasslands, deserts, marshes, under the water’s surface, in a cave, around the house, in the soil, many more places – let alone in the microscopic world.

Because beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, some find their ultimate beauty in flowers ranging from exotic orchids to a wide variety of houseplants. Others find the ultimate biological beauty in the wild animals of Africa, in the colorful fishes in the warm ocean waters, or in our domestic pets. Bloggers as Bulldog, Cathy, Cindy, Nia, Robin, Suzanne, and many more wonderfully capture this beauty.

Yet, at least to me, the most beautiful species is hidden among us – masked in selfishness, horror, ego, and deceit – thus I present three reasons supporting my surprise nomination of the most beautiful biological species – Homo sapiens – humans.

Embed from Getty Images

Do you think the markings on every peregrine falcon are exactly the same?

Variation within a species is an important aspect of evolutionary success. Look at the spectrum of variations with some external human traits as skin color, hair color, – let alone ranges of straight to curly plus the hairstyle of individual choice – Add eye color, height, body shape, lips, then toss in personalities and abilities – there’s something for everybody, thus humans display beauty in so many ways!

Most, if not all, organisms have variations. the beautiful cheetahs don’t have many variations, thus one of the reasons they are in biological trouble. One may think all the leaves on a certain type of tree are the some, but they aren’t. One may think all the spots on the underbelly of a specific bird are the same and in the exact same pattern, position, and number – but they probably aren’t. Variation within a species is important, and the range within humans is extraordinary.

Embed from Getty Images

The second aspect of the most beautiful species is the human brain, which allows a great range of communication, individuality, creativity, problem solving, culture, learning, and more. While we can easily criticize the choice many make from the result of having the most complex neural masses in the biological community, humans demonstrates the greatest range of creativity – and much of it relates to human ability to problem solve.

Think about the questions and decisions one encounters every day. Consider all the material items we contact every minute of every day in every year – and all these manufactured products have a story centered around problem solving.

Think about all the ways we communicate – facial expressions, mathematical, written, visual, musical, and oral – let alone in so many languages. Look at all the styles in the visual arts – after all, the visual arts are communicating, thus touching us in different ways.

The arts with all its styles and media are a story in itself. The painting world alone is huge. Toss in music, literature, pottery, sculptures, jewelry, photography, and many others – no wonder I proclaim the arts as the ultimate expression of human creativity.

In order to accomplish what we can, humans must be capable of learning – and the capacity for the human brain to learn is overwhelming – then alone the ability to apply the learning to a problem solving and/or creative situation. Human learning is a story in itself, yet as a species, I wonder if there are limits to learning besides the self-imposed and the impaired.

Although some human behavior is instinctive, human learn behaviors (good and bad), and have the ability to learn new ones (good and bad) – and each of us are a collection of behaviors that gives us our own individuality. Thus, one of the challenges of being human is the ability to deal with so many personalities.

Embed from Getty Images

There is no question that today’s world has it share of human-created issues that are based in culture – but culture is the last reason for humans being the most beautiful biological species. Culture is a set of shared, learned behaviors, and beliefs that are passed on from one generation to the next. (Thanks BSCS) (A culture post from the aFa archives)  There are many aspects to culture: dress, dance, food, language, art, religion, behaviors, holidays – well, only to name a few.

While leading a training session in Boston years ago, I encountered a participant who embraced her heritage with her clothes. The colors, the patterns, and the design were so stunning, each day I looked forward in anticipation to seeing her attire. What beauty! Whether from someone sharing photos from their travels or daily surroundings, I see similar beauty through images on blogs as with the lady in Boston.

Given the variations within the humans species, the human brain, and human culture, there is no doubt that humans are the most beautiful species on this planet. Yes, it depends how one defines beauty – let alone their perspective. Yes, variation within a species is common throughout the biological world. Yes, other organisms communicate, problem solve, and have societies – but no other organism does it to the level of humans … and yes, we have a tendency to deny our own good because of the negatives in today’s world.

Advertisements

41 thoughts on “On the Most Beautiful Species

  1. Wonderfully reflective and thoughtful post, Frank. We are indeed a beautiful species. So complex and full of thoughts and emotion. Too bad we can also be so ugly. Or at least our behaviors. But I like to think the beauty outweighs the ugly.

    Like

  2. Yes indeed we are a beautiful species! Humanity is an awesome example of the myriad variations of life and living – and choices! But are we ‘the most beautiful’? Is it a competition? I think all life is beautiful – even the bits that I don’t understand and aren’t drawn to can suddenly amaze me when something unique or unknown about them is made clear to me – does that make sense?

    Like

    • Pauline,
      Yes …. all life is unquestionably beautiful. Even the most unattractive looking creature as a myriad of biological beauties. Hence, you caught my point … that is my use of beautiful is not in the sense of a competition, but a point of wonder or a standard. Although he’s not the only, but Bulldog’s comment is quite intriguing.

      Like

  3. You made me think of the many years I taught preschool children, Frank. Year after year I’d be just blown away at how individual three and four year olds already were in their very special development. I worked with multiple ethnic and family cultures and these little people barely starting out in the world were like no one else. I am fascinated with the way that we are all different and yet at the same time connected by the things we also share. This is a powerful post. Beautiful!

    Like

    • Debra,
      “All different, yet all the same” is a powerful phrase in itself. Can you imagine a list about that very topic! Could easily be a book. Thanks for sharing your experience with preschool children … and I imagine that many of your observations are true for that age group in the poorer. underdeveloped regions of the world.

      Like

  4. Great post Frank and thank s for the mention… the human race can also be a strange one.. with a hate that is seldom seen amid nature within a specie… yet with a smile and a greeting one can connect across boundaries that nature has trouble doing… Great post my friend great post…

    Like

    • Bulldog,
      Glad to plug you and the others who excel in what you do.

      I was anxious to see you comment because of your experience in the wild … and you didn’t disappoint because your words captured the theme in this post.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, yes, homo sapiens… the most beautiful species yet the most dangerous at the same time. Hopefully one day we will learn to use this beautiful brain of ours for the good and only for that.
    Happy Thursday, my dear Frank! 🙂

    Like

  6. I suppose it becomes a decision of whether to use our beautiful minds for good or evil. I’m often amazed at the lengths criminals will go to in order to outwit, steal, hack. If that same energy had been applied to a problem in society, it wouldn’t take long to solve.

    Like

  7. Thank you for the shout-out, Frank. 🙂 I agree that humans are beautiful, but not sure I agree they are the most beautiful only in that I see beauty practically everywhere, and think we humans are just a small part of the whole. Maybe it’s similar to trying isolate something from a plant the way the scientists do, only to find that the whole plant delivers the benefits, and the one thing on its own doesn’t work. I’ve been reading books by naturalists from time to time, and am fascinated by the wondering they do in regards to animal communication. Some believe that they communicate more than we think they do, and we don’t know that because we don’t understand them. When I listen to the birds chattering in the morning, I sometimes wonder if they’re gossiping or passing on the latest bird news.

    Yes, we humans are beautiful. But we can be arrogant in our thinking and presumptions, and ugly in our actions. Still…what an amazing species we are. Great, thought-provoking post, Frank. 🙂

    Like

    • Robin,
      No question … humans are not only part of the whole, and no question about human arrogance … and no question that the negative side of humanity works against our beauty. No question about the intricacy in nature, and about the unbelievable adaptations all the organisms have. Great stuff to ponder, so thanks for sharing.

      Like

  8. Beautiful post. It just hit me why I find some actions of humans so disappointing. With all the potential for beauty, some squander the opportunity with denial. I think your message is one of looking at the positive and overlooking detriments to that view. Nice job.

    Like

  9. Thanks for your affirmation of the human race. Your reasons are convincing, and you’ve won me over from my previous allegiance to tigers and housecats as far more worthy of praise.

    Like

  10. Wonderful post, Frank! I can’t imagine a world without variation and diversity. They allow different definitions of beauty to exist – how boring it would be with just one definition. A fellow blogger was discussing the Golden Ratio recently, and how it pertains to beauty. I’ve always found it fascinating as well as fractals in nature. The ratio is actually based on the proportion’s ease in transmitting information to the brain – the ease creates pleasure within the brain, which then equates to beauty in the eye of the beholder. It’s all scientifically proven, including it’s use in art and architecture. It’s really interesting stuff, but I’m glad to know people can be seen as beautiful without fitting perfectly into those proportions as well.

    Like

    • Mouse,
      Do you recall the Where’s Matt videos? To me, they support your point about smiles, which cross all language barriers. Meanwhile, I wanted to stimulating thinking, and it seems the post did that.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love differences, in a creative world, in a creative way but when used evilly (evil minds can utilize creativity, too) I am saddened.
    I’m working such long hours, I hope I don’t sound like a creative blitherer.

    Like

  12. Great post, Frank. I love people watching for the reasons you point out so eloquently. There is beauty in everyone, whether or not they choose to let it shine– there lies a great divider. ( enjoyed this piece, very much)

    Like

  13. I so agree with you Frank. From the tiniest newborn baby to the most elderly person on earth, there is a beauty which is unfathomable. The fact that we humans are able to acknowledge the beauty of other species, is wonderful in itself. 🙂

    Like

  14. this may have been mentioned, but i don’t read all the comments, especially not here – would take all day. cheetahs have no variations of their spots? they’re all identical?

    Like

    • Rich,
      A great question. From what I can tell, it seems there is variation in the spots – yet the cheetah lacks genetic variation as a whole. Studies exist on this topic.

      Like

Comment with respect.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s