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March 15, 2023 17 mins

In medieval times, humans were confident they knew how the universe was ordered.  One fourteenth century illustration – known as the Great Chain of Being –  depicts God at the top of the heap, sitting amongst the clouds. Below him is a tier of humans. Below them, is a lowly tier of animals swimming, flying, or grazing.  And below them, plants and minerals. 


But nowadays, we’re often humbled by evidence that our dominion over non-humans isn’t as self-evident as we once thought. And that doesn’t even account for the possibility of intelligent life beyond the stars.  


In today’s episode, we’re bringing you three stories that question the differences between humans and their animal counterparts. 


It's the third episode of Breaking the Binaries, a series about the intersections that blend, blur, or break society’s binary codes. 

These stories were produced in collaboration with All the Best mentors for the Science Gallery’s new show, an immersive exhibition about breaking binaries which is open now. 


Reporting by Gemma Grant, Christopher Harley, and Ann Khorany 

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