Are humans unique?
No, even animals exhibit traits that are human.
New scientist.com brought out an essay on how animals exhibit 6 unique human traits.
The information can be read at the following link.
On reading this I am reminded of the way Sanatana dharma talks about
the living beings of our universe.
There are 4 categories of living things
that are en-souled,
that the souls or jivatmas come to occupy 4 kinds of bodies.
They are stahvara, jangama, manushya and deva.
The souls are born as plants, animals, human beings and devas (demi-gods).
The soul that is within us is the same as the soul that is in a plant or animal!
It is also the same as that in a God!
It is by karma, the soul attains one of these bodies.
It is no wonder that these categories of life exhibit human / divine traits
in increasing order
in their respective forms.
The ultimate form is that of Deva,
whose form and mind / divine power are of higher order than man.
They (the gods) protect us,
just as how we are expected to protect the plant and animal kingdom
that are inferior to us.
That is perhaps why the prayer
for the well-being of plants and animals
“swasthir maanushEbhyah :
Oordhwam jigaathu bheshajam/
Sham no asthu dwi-padhE:
Sham chathush padhE
(Let there be goodness to human beings.
Let the plants which are like medicine to us grow up well.
Let the bipeds and quadrupeds be well.
Let there be our goodwill to them.
Let there be peace at all three levels of
and swah(mental levels of) all these beings)