From The Telegraph:
In 1864, during a charged debate on Darwin’s theory of evolution, Disraeli asked whether we are apes or angels. Over this question, the highly regarded (perhaps too highly regarded) neuroscientist V S Ramachandran sits proudly on the fence. We are both apes and angels, he suggests.
Humans, unlike other creatures, possess language, empathy, humour, plus the capacity for abstract thinking and self-awareness. But our uniqueness is based on structures that evolved for other reasons – our hearing, for example, derived from our chewing (two redundant jaw bones worming their way into the ear). Vital to what makes us special is our brain. As Ramachandran put it in his 2003 Reith Lectures: “Science tells us we are merely beasts, but we don’t feel like that. We feel like angels trapped inside the bodies of beasts, forever craving transcendence.” That, in a nutshell, is for Ramachandran the human predicament, and in The Tell-Tale Brain he sets out to crack it.