Modern humans taxonomically referred to as Homo sapiens sapiens (lit. "wise wise man"), are a sapient species originating from Earth. A part of the primate family, they are the only extant species of a formerly diverse genus of multiple species once classified as human.
History[edit | edit source]
Prehistory[edit | edit source]
Modern humanity, Homo sapiens, is believed to have appeared in Earth's fossil record between approximately 100,000 and 200,000 years ago (an older branch of Homo sapiens known as Homo sapiens idaltu was believed to have lived as far back as 160,000 BCE). While the exact origin of humanity is a hotly contested paleontological debate, one theory is that the first humans evolved from a genus of upright ape-like hominids called Australopithecus (likely Australopithecus afarensis).
Homo sapiens is not the only species of human to have evolved on Earth, but they have either displaced or outlasted all other branches of the genus Homo, all species of which were once collectively known as "humanity". In prehistoric times, there was significant contact between anatomically modern humans and other members of the genus, both cultural and genetic, coexisting with species such as Homo erectus, neanderthalensis and floresiensis, and, based on residual genetic evidence, interbreeding with other species (1-4% of the DNA in European and East Asian humans is Neanderthal, while Melanesian people have 4% of Denisovan blood, a species which shares a common ancestor with the Neanderthals).