What separates humans from animals? Why are we so different from them?
All animals are different! The particular features that characterize we snoutless apes are attributable to the unique technological niche which we occupy. Here's how it came about:
You may be surprised to learn that our own most significant adaptations happen to derive from an unusually high level of innervation of the hands, along with their anatomical support systems and (to a lesser extent) vocal apparatus. (That of the hands being an extreme extension of a feature common to all primates. Along with a greater neural density than other mammals)
A feature which is ultimately attributable to that stage in the human evolutionary history in which the primary food acquisition and pre-processing functions were transferred from the traditional snout to the hands and their support systems . Also, in general, the obligate use of tools. which ultimately enabled the co-evolution of the extensive import, export and external storage of imagination.
The feature that we identify as language.
Originating in the requirements for the hunter gatherer niche and particularly this substitution of the hands for food acquisition and processing rather than the far more common snout. A trend greatly enhanced by that crucial tool, the control and use of fire.
This co-evolution of the remarkable re-modelling of the nervous system, along with that of technology laying the ground for the extensive imagination transfer and storage facility that we call language.A complete game-changer!
It is the sharing of imagination by means of language which has endowed this snout-less ape with behaviours that uniquely include the implementation of a vast array of technologies. It is also the feature which endows us with reflective consciousness. Also with the cultural spin-off which gives rise to arts and civilizations.
It is this behaviour pattern, not some nebulous metaphysical notion of "intelligence" which essentially defines our species. And what claim to superiority we might lay claim to lies, more fairly, with the symbiont technology with which we have co-evolved.
It is mostly hands and their neural and anatomical support systems that has made us what we are! As evidenced by the somato-sensory homunculus , derived from mapping the relevant areas of the brain and depicted graphically thus: