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Compared to other living organisms on Earth, humans have a highly developed brain capable of abstract reasoning,language, and introspection. This mental capability, combined with an erect body carriage that frees their upper limbs for manipulating objects, has allowed humans to make far greater use of toolsthan any other species. DNA evidence indicates that modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago, and they now inhabit almost every continent, with a total population of over 6.6billion as of 2007.
Like most primates, humans are social by nature; however, humans are particularly adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, andorganization. Humans create complex social structures composed of cooperating and competing groups, ranging in scale from small families and partnerships to species-wide political, scientific andeconomic unions. Social interactions between humans have also established an extremely wide variety of traditions, rituals, ethics, values, social norms, and laws which form the basis of human society.Humans also have a marked appreciation for beauty and aesthetics which, combined with the human desire for self-expression, has led to cultural innovations such as art, literature and music.Humans are also noted for their desire to understand and influence the world around them, seeking to explain and manipulate natural phenomena through science, philosophy, mythology and religion. Thisnatural curiosity has led to the development of advanced tools and skills; humans are the only known species to build fires, cook their food, clothe themselves, and use numerous other technologies.