Animals are the direct product of their environment. They reactively evolve over-time based on external circumstances. The process of their evolution is slow and random.
Human-beings are the indirect product of their environment. Although the environment is the medium through which humans adapt and evolve, our choices determine our environments.
This is the fundamental difference.
We get to decide the course and intensity of our personal evolution by intelligently designing our environments. By purposefully embracing difficult environments, and by cultivating highly conscious habits, you will actualize as a human being and experience complete freedom over the direction of your life.