human evolution, theory of the origins of the human species, Homo sapiens. Modern understanding of human origins is derived largely from the findings of paleontology, anthropology, and genetics, and involves the process of natural selection (see Darwinism). Although gaps in the fossil record due to differential preservation prevent the complete specification of the line of human descent, H. sapiens share clear anatomical, genetic, and historic relationships to other primates. Of all primates, humans bear particularly close affinity to other members of a group known as hominoids, or apes, which includes orangutans, gibbons, gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans. Humans and their immediate ancestors, known as hominins, are notable among hominoids for their bipedal locomotion, slow rate of maturation, large brain size, and, at least among the more recent hominins, the development of a relatively sophisticated capacity for language, of sophisticated tool use and manufacture, and of complex social activity.
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