Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Homo antecessor (extinct)
Homo cepranensis (extinct)
Homo erectus (extinct)
Homo ergaster (extinct)
Homo floresiensis (extinct)
Homo georgicus (extinct)
Homo habilis (extinct)
Homo heidelbergensis (extinct)
Homo neanderthalensis (extinct)
Homo rhodesiensis (extinct)
Homo rudolfensis (extinct)
Homo sapiens Homo is the genus that includes modern humans and their close relatives. The genus is estimated to be between 1.5 and 2.5 million years old. All species except Homo sapiens are extinct; the last surviving relative, Homo neanderthalensis, died out 30,000 years ago, although recent evidence suggests that Homo floresiensis lived as recently as 12,000 years ago.
A minority of zoologists consider that the chimpanzees and bonobo (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.
The word homo is simply the Latin for "person". It is often translated as "man", although this can lead to confusion, given that the English word "man" can be generic like homo, but can also specifically refer to males. Latin for "man" in the gender-specific sense is vir, cognate with "virile" and "werewolf". The word "human" is from humanus, the adjectival form of homo.
- Homo antecessor
- Homo rhodesiensis
- Homo rudolfensis
- Homo habilis
- Homo cepranensis
- Homo ergaster
- Homo erectus
- Homo floresiensis (Flores Man — discovered 2003)
- Homo georgicus
- Homo heidelbergensis (Heidelberg Man)
- Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man)
- Homo sapiens (modern humans)
The last three have been considered to be subspecies of Homo sapiens, but analysis of mitochondrial DNA from H. neanderthalensis fossils suggests that the difference is great enough to count as a separate species.
- Serre et al. (2004) — No evidence of Neandertal mtDNA contribution to early modern humans. PLoS Biology 2:313–7.
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