Temporal range: Piacenzian-Present, 2.8–0 Ma
Homo erectus adult female - head model - Smithsonian Museum of Natural History - 2012-05-17.jpg
Forensic reconstruction of an adult female Homo erectus[1]
Scientific classification e
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Homo sapiens
Linnaeus, 1758

For other species or subspecies suggested, see below.


Homo (Latin: homō, "human being") is the genus which emerged in the otherwise extinct Australopithecus genus that encompasses the extant species Homo sapiens (modern humans), plus several extinct species classified as either ancestral to or closely related to modern humans (depending on a species), most notably Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis.The genus is taken to emerge with the appearance of Homo habilis, just over two million years ago.[2] Genus Homo, together with the genus Paranthropus is probably sister to A. africanus in the genus Australopithecus, which itself had previously split from the lineage of Pan, the chimpanzees.[3][4]

Homo erectus appeared about two million years ago and, in several early migrations, it spread throughout Africa (where it is dubbed Homo ergaster) and Eurasia.It was likely the first human species to live in a hunter-gatherer society and to control fire.An adaptive and successful species, Homo erectus persisted for more than a million years, and gradually diverged into new species by around 500,000 years ago.[5]

Homo sapiens (anatomically modern humans) emerges close to 300,000 to 200,000 years ago,[6] most likely in Africa, and Homo neanderthalensis emerged at around the same time in Europe and Western Asia.H. sapiens dispersed from Africa in several waves, from possibly as early as 250,000 years ago, and certainly by 130,000 years ago, the so-called Southern Dispersal beginning about 70,000 years ago leading to the lasting colonisation of Eurasia and Oceania by 50,000 years ago.Both in Africa and Eurasia, H. sapiens met with and interbred with[7][8] archaic humans. Separate archaic (non-sapiens) human species are thought to have survived until around 40,000 years ago (Neanderthal extinction), with possible late survival of hybrid species as late as 12,000 years ago (Red Deer Cave people).

Names and taxonomy

Evolutionary tree chart emphasizing the subfamily Homininae and the tribe Hominini. After diverging from the line to Ponginae the early Homininae split into the tribes Hominini and Gorillini. The early Hominini split further, separating the line to Homo from the lineage of Pan. Currently, tribe Hominini designates the subtribes Hominina, containing genus Homo; Panina, genus Pan; and Australopithecina, with several extinct genera—the subtribes are not labelled on this chart.
A model of the evolution of the genus Homo over the last 2 million years (vertical axis). The rapid "Out of Africa" expansion of H. sapiens is indicated at the top of the diagram, with admixture indicated with Neanderthals, Denisovans, and unspecified archaic African hominins. Late survival of robust australopithecines (Paranthropus) alongside Homo until 1.2 Mya is indicated in purple.

See Homininae for an overview of taxonomy.

The Latin noun homō (genitive hominis) means "human being" or "man" in the generic sense of "human being, mankind".[9] The binomial name Homo sapiens was coined by Carl Linnaeus (1758).[10] Names for other species of the genus were introduced beginning in the second half of the 19th century (H. neanderthalensis 1864, H. erectus 1892).

Even today, the genus Homo has not been properly defined.[11][12][13] Since the early human fossil record began to slowly emerge from the earth, the boundaries and definitions of the genus Homo have been poorly defined and constantly in flux. Because there was no reason to think it would ever have any additional members, Carl Linnaeus did not even bother to define Homo when he first created it for humans in the 18th century. The discovery of Neanderthal brought the first addition.

The genus Homo was given its taxonomic name to suggest that its member species can be classified as human. And, over the decades of the 20th century, fossil finds of pre-human and early human species from late Miocene and early Pliocene times produced a rich mix for debating classifications. There is continuing debate on delineating Homo from Australopithecus—or, indeed, delineating Homo from Pan, as one body of scientists argue that the two species of chimpanzee should be classed with genus Homo rather than Pan. Even so, classifying the fossils of Homo coincides with evidence of: 1) competent human bipedalism in Homo habilis inherited from the earlier Australopithecus of more than four million years ago, as demonstrated by the Laetoli footprints; and 2) human tool culture having begun by 2.5 million years ago.

From the late-19th to mid-20th centuries, a number of new taxonomic names including new generic names were proposed for early human fossils; most have since been merged with Homo in recognition that Homo erectus was a single and singular species with a large geographic spread of early migrations. Many such names are now dubbed as "synonyms" with Homo, including Pithecanthropus,[14] Protanthropus,[15] Sinanthropus,[16] Cyphanthropus,[17] Africanthropus,[18] Telanthropus,[19] Atlanthropus,[20] and Tchadanthropus.[21]

Classifying the genus Homo into species and subspecies is subject to incomplete information and remains poorly done. This has led to using common names ("Neanderthal" and "Denisovan") in even scientific papers to avoid trinomial names or the ambiguity of classifying groups as incertae sedis (uncertain placement)—for example, H. neanderthalensis vs. H. sapiens neanderthalensis, or H. georgicus vs. H. erectus georgicus.[22] Some recently extinct species in the genus Homo are only recently discovered and do not as yet have consensus binomial names (see Denisova hominin and Red Deer Cave people).[23] Since the beginning of the Holocene, it is likely that Homo sapiens (anatomically modern humans) has been the only extant species of Homo.

John Edward Gray (1825) was an early advocate of classifying taxa by designating tribes and families.[24] Wood and Richmond (2000) proposed that Hominini ("hominins") be designated as a tribe that comprised all species of early humans and pre-humans ancestral to humans back to after the chimpanzee-human last common ancestor; and that Hominina be designated a subtribe of Hominini to include only the genus Homo—that is, not including the earlier upright walking hominins of the Pliocene such as Australopithecus, Orrorin tugenensis, Ardipithecus, or Sahelanthropus.[25] Designations alternative to Hominina existed, or were offered: Australopithecinae (Gregory & Hellman 1939) and Preanthropinae (Cela-Conde & Altaba 2002);[26][27][28] and later, Cela-Conde and Ayala (2003) proposed that the four genera Australopithecus, Ardipithecus, Praeanthropus, and Sahelanthropus be grouped with Homo within Hominina.[not in citation given][29]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Homo
Alemannisch: Homo
العربية: هومو (جنس)
armãneashti: Homo
asturianu: Homo
azərbaycanca: İnsan (cins)
български: Хора
bosanski: Homo (rod)
brezhoneg: Homo
català: Homo
čeština: Člověk
Cymraeg: Homo
Deutsch: Homo
Ελληνικά: Homo
español: Homo
Esperanto: Homo (genro)
euskara: Homo
français: Homo
Gaeilge: Homo
galego: Homo
한국어: 사람속
हिन्दी: होमो
hrvatski: Homo (rod)
Bahasa Indonesia: Homo (genus)
interlingua: Homo (taxon)
ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ/inuktitut: ᐃᓄᒃ
íslenska: Frummaður
italiano: Homo
עברית: אדם (סוג)
Kiswahili: Homo
Kreyòl ayisyen: Lòm
Latina: Homo (genus)
latviešu: Cilvēki
lietuvių: Žmonės
македонски: Човек (род)
മലയാളം: ഹോമോ
Bahasa Melayu: Homo
Nederlands: Homo (geslacht)
日本語: ヒト属
norsk nynorsk: Homo
occitan: Homo
پنجابی: مانس
Plattdüütsch: Homo
polski: Homo
português: Homo
română: Homo
русиньскый: Чоловік
русский: Люди (род)
Simple English: Homo
slovenčina: Človek (Homo)
српски / srpski: Човек (род)
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Homo
suomi: Ihmiset
svenska: Människor
Tagalog: Homo
ไทย: โฮโม
Türkçe: Homo
українська: Людина (рід)
Tiếng Việt: Chi Người
Winaray: Homo (genus)
吴语: 人属
Yorùbá: Homo
粵語: 人屬
Zazaki: Homo
中文: 人属