The native English term
can refer to the species generally (a synonym for
), and couldformerly refer to specific individuals of either sex. The latter use is now obsolete.
Generic uses of the term "man"are declining, in favor of reserving it for referring specifically to adult males. The word is from Proto-Germanic
, from a Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root
.The species binomial
was coined by Carl Linnaeus in his 18th century work
, and hehimself is the lectotype specimen.
The generic name
is a learned 18th century derivation from Latin
"man", ultimately "earthly being" (Old Latin
, a cognate to Old English
"man", from PIE
,meaning 'earth' or 'ground').
means "wise" or "sapient".
Further information: Anthropology, Homo (genus), and Timeline of human evolutionScientific study of human evolution studies the development of the genus
, reconstructing the evolutionarydivergence of the human lineage from other hominins (shared ancestors of humans and chimpanzees), hominids(great apes) and primates. "Modern humans" are defined as belonging to the species
, specifically tothe single extant subspecies
Homo sapiens sapiens
Evidence from molecular biology
Family tree showing the extant hominoids: humans (genus
), chimpanzeesand bonobos (genus
), gorillas (genus
), orangutans (genus
), andgibbons (four genera of the family Hylobatidae:
). All except gibbons are
The closest living relatives of humans aregorillas and chimpanzees.
With thesequencing of both the Human andChimpanzee genome, current estimates of similarity between human and chimpanzeeDNA sequences range between 95% and99%.
By using the techniquecalled a molecular clock which estimates thetime required for the number of divergentmutations to accumulate between twolineages, the approximate date for the splitbetween lineages can be calculated. The gibbons (
) and orangutans ( genus
) were the first groupsto split from the line leading to the humans, then gorillas (genus
) followed by the chimpanzees and bonobos(genus
). The splitting date between human and Chimpanzee lineages is placed around 4-8 million years agoduring the late Miocene epoch.