Type Specimen for Homo sapiens in the Encyclopedia of Life



Homo is the genus of great apes that includes modern humans and species closely related to them. The genus is estimated to be about 2.3 to 2.4 million years old,[1][2] possibly having evolved from australopithecine ancestors, with the appearance of Homo habilis. Several species, including Australopithecus garhiAustralopithecus sediba,Australopithecus africanus and Australopithecus afarensis, have been proposed as the direct ancestor of the Homo lineage.[3][4] Each of these species have morphological features that align them with Homo, but there is no consensus on which actually gave rise to Homo.

The most salient physiological development between the earlier Australopith species and Homo is the increase incranial capacity, from about 450 cm3 (27 cu in) in A. garhi to 600 cm3 (37 cu in) in H. habilis. Within the Homogenus, cranial capacity again doubled from H. habilis through Homo ergaster or H. erectus to Homo heidelbergensis by 0.6 million years ago. The cranial capacity of H. heidelbergensis overlaps with the range found in modern humans.

Written By: EOL
continue to source article at eol.org


  1. No doubt Richard Dawkins is a deserving candidate for the honour but Linnaeus is already the type of Homo sapiens, and posting a picture of Richard on EoL does not make him a/the type instead. Richard is not eligible for lectotype selection as he was not part of Linnaeus’ type series, not being born in 1758! Nor can he be designated as a neotype sincetype is not lost (Linnaeus is buried in Uppsala Cathedral) and there is no misunderstanding about the application of the name Homo sapiens which would necessitate the designation of a neotype. This is mentioned later in the full EoL article and explained on the website of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, and the sources mentioned especially Earl Spamer’s paper which provided an excellent analysis.


    As a purely nomenclatural point and in the interests of accuracy, it would be good if the above could be clarified to avoid any misunderstanding.

    Best regards D

  2. Entirely inappropriate that R.D. or any other male be selected as the sole Type Specimen. Like many species humans display significant sexual dimorphism. In such cases, both genders should be depicted. Also, specimens in prime breeding condition are more appropriate (so I don’t qualify and neither does my mom).

    Women offer the possibility of parthogenisis]. Furthermore, a woman with a frozen sperm sample is an extant species; a man with a frozen sperm sample is extinct 🙁

    Unhappily, like the male praying mantis, the last man on earth will most likely be a meal. Whoever runs that web site needs a wake-up call. I’ll support any women (or guys) who think this is patriarchal sexism.

    P.S. I’m betting that that no other type specimen gets to be dressed up in a costume. Business suits for one, business suits for all!…or business suits for none! Liberté, égalité, fraternité!

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