Adult human female (left) and male (right)
|Common Name||Modern Human|
Modern Humans (Homo sapiens), are the only extant members of the hominin clade, a branch of great apes characterized by erect posture and bipedal locomotion; manual dexterity and increased tool use; and a general trend toward larger, more complex brains and societies. Early hominids, such as the australopithecines who had more apelike brains and skulls, are less often thought of or referred to as "human" than hominids of the genus Homo some of whom used fire, much of Eurasia, and gave rise to anatomically modern Homo sapiens in Africa about 200,000 years ago where they began to exhibit evidence of behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago and migrated out in successive waves to occupy all but the smallest, driest, and coldest lands. In the last 100 years, this has extended to permanently manned bases in Antarctica, on offshore platforms, and orbiting the Earth. The spread of humans and their large and increasing population has had a destructive impact on large areas of the environment and millions of native species worldwide. Advantages that explain this evolutionary success include a relatively larger brain with a particularly well-developed neocortex, prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes, which enable high levels of abstract reasoning, language, problem solving, sociality, and culture through social learning. Humans use tools to a much higher degree than any other animal, and are the only extant species known to build fires, cook their food and wear clothing.