I'm trying to find a word that means something akin to "differentiate" but in a positive manner (i.e. superior to something else). The phrase "to stand out" is about the closest I can think of, but it doesn't work in the context of the sentence. Here is the sentence I am working with:
"First, we must identify the aspects of cognition that _______ humans."
I know I could use something similar to "separate/differentiate humans from other species", but I use both "humans" and "other species" in the next sentence, so I would really like to add some variety to my word choice.