- Homo (genus)
name = "Homo"
image_width = 200px
image_caption = Skull of "
phylum = Chordata
genus = "Homo"
genus_authority = Linnaeus, 1758
subdivision = "
See text for extinct species.
"Homo" is the
genusthat includes modern humans and their close relatives. The genus is estimated to be about 2.5 million years old, evolving from Australopithecineancestors with the appearance of " Homo habilis". Appearance of "Homo" coincides with the first evidence of stone tools (the Oldowanindustry), and thus by definition with the beginning of the Lower Paleolithic.
All species except "
Homo sapiens" (modern humans) are extinct. " Homo neanderthalensis", traditionally considered the last surviving relative, died out 24,000 years ago while a recent discovery suggests that another species, " Homo floresiensis," may have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago.
A minority of zoologists consider that the two species of
chimpanzees (usually treated in the genus "Pan"), and maybe the gorillas (usually treated in the genus "Gorilla") should also be included in the genus based on genetic similarities. Most scientists argue that chimpanzees and gorillas have too many anatomical differences between themselves and humans to be part of "Homo". Given the large number of morphological similarities exhibited, "Homo" is closely related to several extinct hominin genera, most notably " Kenyanthropus", " Paranthropus" and " Australopithecus". As of|2007, no taxonis universally accepted as the origin of the radiation of "Homo".
The word "homo" is
Latinfor "man", in the original sense of "human being", or "person". The word " human" itself is from Latin "humanus", an adjective cognate to "homo", both thought to derive from a Proto-Indo-European word reconstructed as"PIE|*dhǵhem-" "earth" [ [http://www.bartleby.com/61/roots/IE104.html dhghem] The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.] . Cf. Hebrew "adam", meaning "human", cognate to "adamah", meaning "ground". (And cf. Latin "humus", meaning "soil".)
Species status of "Homo rudolfensis", "H. ergaster", "H. georgicus", "H. antecessor", "H. cepranensis", "H. rhodesiensis" and "H. floresiensis" remains under debate. "H. heidelbergensis" and "H. neanderthalensis" are closely related to each other and have been considered to be
subspeciesof "H. sapiens", but analysis of mitochondrial DNAfrom "Homo neanderthalensis" fossils shows that "H. neanderthalensis" is more closely related to chimpanzees than "H. sapiens" is, thereby suggesting that "H. sapiens" is the more derived of the two.cite web|url=http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn10275-neanderthal-dna-illuminates-split-with-humans.html |title=Neanderthal DNA illuminates split with humans|accessdate=2006-12-21 |date=2006-10-11|publisher=NewScientist.com]
*cite journal|author=Serre "et al."|year=2004|title=No evidence of Neandertal mtDNA contribution to early modern humans|journal=PLoS Biology|volume=2|issue=3|pages=313–7|pmid=15024415|doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0020057
* [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/species.html Hominid species]
* [http://www.fmnh.helsinki.fi/users/haaramo/Metazoa/Deuterostoma/Chordata/Synapsida/Eutheria/Primates/Hominoidea/Hominidae.htm Mikko's Phylogeny archive]
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