Homo  

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"Homo homini lupus".

As "Darwinism" became widely accepted in the 1870s, good-natured caricatures of him with an ape or monkey body symbolised evolution.
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As "Darwinism" became widely accepted in the 1870s, good-natured caricatures of him with an ape or monkey body symbolised evolution.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Homo is the genus that includes modern humans and species closely related to them. The genus is estimated to be about 2.3 to 2.4 million years old, evolving from australopithecine ancestors with the appearance of Homo habilis. Specifically, H. habilis is assumed to be the direct descendant of Australopithecus garhi which lived about 2.5 million years ago. The most salient physiological development between the two species is the increase in cranial capacity, from about Template:Convert in A. garhi to Template:Convert in H. habilis. Within the Homo genus, cranial capacity again doubled from H. habilis to H. heidelbergensis by 0.6 million years ago. The cranial capacity of H. heidelbergensis overlaps with the range found in modern humans.

The advent of Homo coincides with the first evidence of stone tools (the Oldowan industry), and thus by definition with the beginning of the Lower Paleolithic. The emergence of Homo also coincides roughly with the onset of Quaternary glaciation, the beginning of the current ice age.

All species of the genus except Homo sapiens (modern humans) are extinct. Homo neanderthalensis, traditionally considered the last surviving relative, died out about 24,000 years ago, while a recent discovery suggests that another species, Homo floresiensis, discovered in 2003, may have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. The discovery of Denisova hominin, announced in March 2010, may reveal it to be yet another species in the genus.

Naming

In biological sciences, particularly anthropology and paleontology, the common name for all members of the genus Homo is "human".

The word homo is Latin, in the original sense of "human being", or "man" (in the gender-neutral sense). The word "human" itself is from Latin humanus, an adjective cognate to homo, both thought to derive from a Proto-Indo-European word for "earth" reconstructed as *dhǵhem-.

The binominal name Homo sapiens is due to Linnaeus (1758). Names for other species are coined beginning in the second half of the 19th century (H. neanderthalensis 1864, H. erectus 1892).

Species

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 subspecies of H. sapiens. Recently, nuclear DNA from a Neanderthal specimen from Vindija Cave has been sequenced as well, using two different methods that yield similar results regarding Neanderthal and H. sapiens lineages, with both analyses suggesting a date for the split between 460,000 and 700,000 years ago, though a population split of around 370,000 years is inferred. The nuclear DNA results indicate that about 30% of derived alleles in H. sapiens are also in the Neanderthal lineage. This high frequency may suggest some gene flow between ancestral humans and Neanderthal populations.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Homo" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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