Human being 1
Human being, a culture-bearing primate classified in the genus Homo,
especially the species H. sapiens. Human beings are anatomically similar
and related to the great apes but are distinguished by a more highly
developed brain and a resultant capacity for articulate speech and
abstract reasoning. In addition, human beings display a marked erectness
of body carriage that frees the hands for use as manipulative members.
Some of these characteristics, however, are not entirely unique to humans.
The gap in cognition, as in anatomy, between humans and the
great apes (orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos) is much less
than was once thought, as they have been shown to possess a variety of
advanced cognitive abilities formerly believed to be restricted to humans.
Traditionally, humans were considered the sole recent representatives of
the family Hominidae, but recent findings indicate that chimpanzees and
bonobos are more closely related to humans than are gorillas and
orangutans and that the last common ancestor between
the chimpanzee and human lines lived sometime between seven million
and six million years ago. Therefore, all great apes are now gathered with
humans into Hominidae, and within that family humans and their extinct
ancestors are considered to make up the tribe Hominini. See also Homo
sapiens; human evolution.
The term man has traditionally referred to humans in general, or
humankind. The idea of man is treated in a number of articles. For a
philosophical treatment of the subject, see philosophical anthropology. For
the physical anthropology of human ancestry, see human evolution. For an
human culture, see art; cuisine; dance; government; literature; music; sport.
For other related articles, see collective
behaviour; death; emotion; family; human behaviour; human
rights; intelligence; kinship; language; learning theory; mind, philosophy
of; motivation; perception; personality; population; sexual behaviour,
human; social structure; Stone Age; technology; thought.