- (italics) the species of bipedal primates to which modern humans belong, characterized by a brain capacity averaging 1400 cc (85 cubic in.) and by dependence upon language and the creation and utilization of complex tools.
Origin of Homo sapiens
- the specific name of modern man; the only extant species of the genus Homo. This species also includes extinct types of primitive man such as Cro-Magnon manSee also man (def. 5)
Word Origin and History for homo sapiens
1802, in William Turton's translation of Linnæus, coined in Modern Latin from Latin homo "man" (technically "male human," but in logical and scholastic writing "human being;" see homunculus) + sapiens, present participle of sapere "be wise" (see sapient). Used since in various Latin or pseudo-Latin combinations intended to emphasize some aspect of humanity, cf. Henri Bergson's Homo faber "man the tool-maker," in "L'Evolution Créatrice" (1907). Homo as a genus of the order Primates is first recorded 1797.
- The modern species of humans. Archaic forms of Homo sapiens probably evolved around 300,000 years ago or earlier in Africa, and anatomically modern fossils are known from about 100,000 years ago. All humans now living belong to the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens. The closest living relative of Homo sapiens is the chimpanzee. See more at archaic Homo sapiens Cro-Magnon Neanderthal.
The biological classification of modern humans. Homo sapiens is Latin for “the wise human” or “the clever human.” The earliest Homo sapiens was Neanderthal, who developed about 150,000 years ago. Sometimes modern humans are further classified into the subspecies of Homo sapiens neanderthalis (Neanderthals) and Homo sapiens sapiens (Cro-Magnons and present-day humans). (See Linnean classification.)