Following a remark here, which I commented on in this thread, and which The Great Simpleton made a further comment on, I decided to make a list of things which have been said to make us human. This is not exactly a lifetime's research, more like a few minutes' Googling, but it is interesting to discover how much of a cliché it has become. Anyway, here is a preliminary list:
Keeping up with the Jones's; being nice; the Neanderthal genome; spite; anything you want, especially if it's 'spiritual'; cooking; killing those who aren't like us; not being a machine; mind-reading; tiny bits of DNA; Self-awareness and free moral agency, speech and symbolic cognition, our nimble thumbs, conscience and the capacity to imagine; lots of things; putting up with lefty twaddle and sloppy thinking (from the original thread, courtesy The Great Simpleton); cooking again; a gene expressed in the hipocampus; making art; the social skills of infants; junk DNA; to err (passim).
Any comments or additions would be much welcomed.