The meaning of a dating relationship


Since Linnaeus’s time, a large fossil record has been discovered. This record contains numerous extinct species that are much more closely related to humans than to today’s apes and that were presumably more similar to H. sapiens behaviorally as well. Following the ancestors of modern human beings into the distant past raises the question of what is meant by the word human . H. sapiens is human by definition, whereas apes are not. But what of the extinct members of the human tribe (Hominini), who were clearly not H. sapiens but were nonetheless very much like them? There is no definitive answer to this question. Although human evolution can be said to involve all those species more closely related to H. sapiens than to the apes, the adjective human is usually applied only to H. sapiens and other members of the genus Homo (., H. erectus , H. habilis ). Behaviorally, only H. sapiens can be said to be “fully human,” but even the definition of H. sapiens is a matter of active debate. Some paleoanthropologists extend the span of this species far back into time to include many anatomically distinctive fossils that others prefer to allocate to several different extinct species. In contrast, a majority of paleoanthropologists, wishing to bring the study of hominins into line with that of other mammals, prefer to assign to H. sapiens only those fossil forms that fall within the anatomic spectrum of the species as it exists today. In this sense, H. sapiens is very recent, having originated in Africa more than 315,000 years ago (315 kya).


The meaning of a dating relationship

The meaning of a dating relationship



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