Humans are not the most naturally-protected animals – a vulnerability that has forced us to develop natural survival skills.
The Human Animal
Physiologically, humans most closely resemble the pig. Some cannibal tribes describe human meat as “long pig”, and much of the practising of new surgical techniques or the testing of military weapons takes places on pigs. Also like us, pigs are very clever animals. Pigs eat their own young from time to time, so as we currently eat them, if were pigs cleverer than us, it’s certain they’d eat us, particularly as humans are nothing like as strong, hardy or tough as pigs, which can eat most things, and live happily enough in pretty bad conditions.
We owe our position in the food chain to our superior intelligence, even though we lack physiological advantages like strength, claws, protective fat and skin; and have mediocre avoiding capabilities: like running speed, eye sight, hearing, smell, agility and so on.
So although many other species are physically superior to humans, our intelligence, and particular physical attributes like independently moving thumbs which enable us to make things using our hands, gave us the edge which allowed us to survive to become this planet’s dominant species.
So in order to survive, we have no choice but to use our intelligence – our biggest and best survival aid.
But our intelligence also creates big problems for us, when we find ourselves in a survival situation. Unlike many other animals, we have self-awareness and know that we will die. However we rarely think about this reality until it’s staring us in the face. The huge surge of fear this causes, can be seriously distract us from what we actually ought to be doing in those moments.
Our enormous brains also require a lot more energy, so we need far more calories than most other species, and is why we need to cook much of the food we eat to make its nourishment easier for our bodies to absorb. Coupled with our general lack of protection, this makes us particularly vulnerable to cold and heat. The basic requirements for living out of doors and surviving. are protection from the elements – clothing and shelter; and water. We can survive for several days depending on temperature, without food.