In my first book:
I outline why humans came to see themselves as fundamentally different to all of the other species of animals that have inhabited the Earth. I also explain why all of the attempts which have traditionally been made to create a rational barrier which elevates the human species to a position of superiority fail. In other words, humans have been grasping around for an attribute which 'elevates' them above the rest of the animals which inhabit the Earth - an attribute which engenders human uniqueness - but all of these traditional attempts have been misplaced.
You will be aware of many of the attributes that supposedly 'elevate' humans to a position of superiority - possession of a soul, tool use, language, emotions, rationality, morality, consciousness, self-awareness, culture, and so on. We are now living through an epoch in which it is slowly being realised that none of these attributes 'elevate' humans to a position of superiority. These attributes are possessed by many other non-human animals which inhabit the Earth; they cannot in themselves elevate the human species to a position of superiority.
A sign of this growing realisation is The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness (July 2012). In the declaration leading cognitive neuroscientists state that it is unequivocal that non-human animals are conscious and possess the cognitive ability to assess situations based on prior experience, and then act accordingly:
I am glad that we are now entering the stage of planetary evolution in which we cease to see ourselves as being surrounded by 'inferior' animals with lesser attributes, and start to fully accept that there are no unique 'superior-making' attributes which humans possess and that all other animals lack.
This stage of planetary evolution is one in which necessary exploitation slowly gets replaced with care and compassion. It is also a time in which humans start to realise exactly why they have a special place on the Earth. The human species will come to fully embrace its role as the saviour of the life, in all of its current manifestations, that currently exists on the Earth.