This chapter introduces the human species. It identifies traits we share with all other living things and basic principles of biology that apply to us as well as to all other life. The chapter also describes the diversity of species on Earth, similarities we share with our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, and traits that make us unique.
- 2.1: Case Study: Why Should You Study Human Biology?
- Human biology is the scientific study of the human species that includes the fascinating story of human evolution and a detailed accounting of our genetics, anatomy, physiology, and ecology. In short, human biology focuses on how we got here, how we function, and the role we play in the natural world. Importantly, this helps us to better understand human health – how to stay healthy and how diseases and injuries can be treated.
- 2.2: Shared Traits of All Living Things
- You've probably seen this famous statue created by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Rodin's skill as a sculptor is evident because the statue looks so lifelike. In fact, the statue is made of rock so its only resemblance to life is how it appears.
- 2.3: Diversity of Life
- The collage above shows a single species in each of the six kingdoms into which all of Earth's living things are commonly classified.
- 2.4: The Human Animal
- Relative to all animals, this child and monkey are practically "cousins." From genes to morphology to behavior, they are similar in many ways. That's because both of them are primates, and they share an evolutionary past.
- 2.5: Case Study Conclusion: Inhabitants and Chapter Summary
- As you may recall, Wajiha’s strep throat was caused by Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria, the species shown in the photomicrograph above. She took antibiotics to kill the S. pyogenes, but this also killed her "good" bacteria, throwing off the balance of microorganisms living inside of her, which resulted in diarrhea and a yeast infection.
Thumbnail: Taken at City Studios in Stockholm (www.stockholmsfotografen.se), September 29, 2011, with assistance from KYO (The organisation of life models) in Stockholm. Both models have consented to the license of the image. (Public Domain).