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Humans ( Homo sapiens) are the most abundant and widespread of . They are a type of great ape who are characterized by and exceptional skills due to a large and complex . Humans are and tend to live in complex composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from and networks to political states. As such, social interactions between humans have established a wide variety of values, social norms, , and , each of which bolster human . The desire to understand and influence have motivated humanity's development of , , , , , and other fields of study.

Although some scientists equate the term humans with all members of the genus , in common usage, it generally refers to Homo sapiens, the only member. Anatomically modern humans emerged around 300,000 years ago in Africa, evolving from Homo heidelbergensis or a similar species and migrating out of Africa, gradually replacing or with local populations of . For most of history, humans were hunter-gatherers. Humans began exhibiting behavioral modernity about 160,000–60,000 years ago. The Neolithic Revolution, which began in around 13,000 years ago (and separately in a few other places), saw the emergence of and permanent . As populations became larger and denser, forms of governance developed within and between communities, and a number of have risen and fallen. Humans have continued to expand, with a global population of over 8 billion .

and the environment influence human biological variation in visible characteristics, physiology, disease susceptibility, mental abilities, body size, and life span. Though humans vary in many traits (such as genetic predispositions and physical features), any two humans are at least 99% genetically similar. Humans are sexually dimorphic: generally, males have greater body strength and females have a higher percentage. At , humans develop secondary sex characteristics. Females are capable of , usually between puberty, at around 12 years, and , around the age of 50.

Humans are , capable of consuming a wide variety of plant and animal material, and have used fire and other forms of heat to prepare and food since the time of H. erectus. Humans can survive for up to eight weeks without food and three or four days without water. Humans are generally , sleeping on average seven to nine hours per day. is dangerous, with a high risk of complications and death. Often, both the mother and the father provide care for their children, who are helpless at birth, as humans are an .

Humans have a large, highly developed and complex prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain associated with higher cognition. They are highly intelligent, capable of episodic memory, have flexible facial expressions, , and a theory of mind. The human mind is capable of , private , , volition, and forming views on . This has allowed great technological advancements and complex tool development possible through complex and the transmission of knowledge to subsequent generations. Language, , and are defining characteristics of humans. Long-distance trade routes might have led to cultural explosions and resource distribution that gave humans an advantage over other similar species.


Etymology and definition
All modern humans are classified into the Homo sapiens, coined by in his 1735 work . The generic name " " is a learned 18th-century derivation from Latin homō, which refers to humans of either sex. The word human can refer to all members of the Homo genus, although in common usage it generally just refers to Homo sapiens, the only extant species. The name " Homo sapiens" means 'wise man' or 'knowledgeable man'. There is disagreement if certain extinct members of the genus, namely , should be included as a separate species of humans or as a of H. sapiens.

Human is a of from humain, ultimately from hūmānus, the adjectival form of homō ('man' — in the sense of humankind). The native English term man can refer to the species generally (a synonym for humanity) as well as to human males. It may also refer to individuals of either sex, though this form is less common in contemporary English.

Despite the fact that the word animal is colloquially used as an antonym for human, and contrary to a common biological misconception, humans are animals. The word is often used interchangeably with human, but philosophical debate exists as to whether applies to all humans or all , and further if one can lose personhood (such as by going into a persistent vegetative state).


Evolution
Humans are apes ().
(2018). 9781118584422, John Wiley & Sons, Inc..
The lineage of apes that eventually gave rise to humans first split from gibbons (family ) and (genus Pongo), then (genus Gorilla), and finally, and (genus Pan). The last split, between the human and chimpanzee–bonobo lineages, took place around 8–4 million years ago, in the late epoch. During this split, chromosome 2 was formed from the joining of two other chromosomes, leaving humans with only 23 pairs of chromosomes, compared to 24 for the other apes. Following their split with chimpanzees and bonobos, the diversified into many species and at least two distinct genera. All but one of these lineages—representing the genus and its sole extant species Homo sapiens—are now extinct.

The genus Homo evolved from . Though from the transition are scarce, the earliest members of Homo share several key traits with Australopithecus. The earliest record of Homo is the 2.8 million-year-old specimen LD 350-1 from Ethiopia, and the earliest named species are and which evolved by 2.3 million years ago. (the African variant is sometimes called ) evolved 2 million years ago and was the first species to leave Africa and disperse across Eurasia. H. erectus also was the first to evolve a characteristically human . Homo sapiens emerged in Africa around 300,000 years ago from a species commonly designated as either H. heidelbergensis or H. rhodesiensis, the descendants of H. erectus that remained in Africa. H. sapiens migrated out of the continent, gradually replacing or interbreeding with local populations of archaic humans. Humans began exhibiting behavioral modernity about 160,000-70,000 years ago, and possibly earlier.

The "out of Africa" migration took place in at least two waves, the first around 130,000 to 100,000 years ago, the second (Southern Dispersal) around 70,000 to 50,000 years ago. H. sapiens proceeded to colonize all the continents and larger islands, arriving in 125,000 years ago, Australia around 65,000 years ago, the Americas around 15,000 years ago, and remote islands such as , , , and between the years 300 and 1280 CE.

Human evolution was not a simple linear or branched progression but involved interbreeding between related species. Genomic research has shown that hybridization between substantially diverged lineages was common in human evolution. evidence suggests that several genes of origin are present among all non sub-Saharan African populations, and Neanderthals and other hominins, such as , may have contributed up to 6% of their to present-day non sub-Saharan African humans.

Human evolution is characterized by a number of morphological, developmental, , and changes that have taken place since the split between the last common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees. The most significant of these adaptations are obligate bipedalism, increased brain size and decreased sexual dimorphism (). The relationship between all these changes is the subject of ongoing debate.

(2023). 9780393978544, Norton. .


History
Until about 12,000 years ago, all humans lived as .
(2023). 9780128026526, Academic Press.
(2023). 9780500293355, Thames & Hudson.
The Neolithic Revolution (the invention of ) first took place in and spread through large parts of the over the following millennia.
(2023). 9781611323245, Left Coast Press. .
It also occurred independently in (about 6,000 years ago),
(2018). 9780128052471
China, Papua New Guinea, and the and regions of Africa. Access to food surplus led to the formation of permanent , the of animals and the for the first time in history. Agriculture and sedentary lifestyle led to the emergence of early .
(2023). 9781285661537 .
(2014). 9781285982991, Cenpage Learning. .
(2023). 9781893554573, Encounter Books. .

An took place in the 4th millennium BCE with the development of , particularly cities located in .

(2013). 9780195188318 .
It was in these cities that the earliest known form of writing, , appeared around 3000 BCE.
(2020). 9781119193296, Wiley.
Other major civilizations to develop around this time were and the Indus Valley Civilization. They eventually traded with each other and invented technology such as wheels, plows and sails.
(2023). 9781136219115, Routledge.
(2023). 9781405189880, Wiley-Blackwell. .
Astronomy and mathematics were also developed and the Great Pyramid of Giza was built.
(1993). 9780521403405, CUP Archive.
There is evidence of a severe drought lasting about a hundred years that may have caused the decline of these civilizations, with new ones appearing in the aftermath. came to dominate Mesopotamia while others,
(2023). 9780520202221, Univ of California Press.
such as Poverty Point cultures, Minoans and the , rose to prominence in new areas.
(1999). 9780521470308, Cambridge University Press.
The Bronze Age suddenly collapsed around 1200 BCE, resulting in the disappearance of a number of civilizations and the beginning of the Greek Dark Ages. During this period iron started replacing bronze, leading to the .
(2023). 9781441966339, Springer.

In the 5th century BCE, history started being , which provided a much clearer picture of life at the time.

(2023). 9780429763151, Taylor & Francis.
Between the 8th and 6th century BCE, Europe entered the classical antiquity age, a period when and flourished. Around this time other civilizations also came to prominence. The Maya civilization started to build cities and create . In Africa, the Kingdom of Aksum overtook the declining Kingdom of Kush and facilitated trade between India and the Mediterranean. In West Asia, the Achaemenid Empire's system of centralized governance became the precursor to many later empires, while the in India and the in China have been described as in their respective regions.

Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, Europe entered the . During this period, and the would provide centralized authority and education.

(2023). 9780195328196, Oxford University Press. .
In the Middle East, became the prominent religion and expanded into North Africa. It led to an Islamic Golden Age, inspiring achievements in , the revival of old advances in science and technology, and the formation of a distinct way of life.
(2023). 9783319247748, Springer International Publishing.
The and would eventually clash, with the Kingdom of England, the Kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire declaring a series of to regain control of the from .
(2023). 9781849837705, Simon and Schuster.
In the Americas, complex Mississippian societies would arise starting around 800 CE, while further south, the and would become the dominant powers.
(1984). 9780521318969, Cambridge University Press.
The would conquer much of in the 13th and 14th centuries.
(2023). 9781861899712, Reaktion Books.
Over this same time period, the in Africa grew to be the largest empire on the continent, stretching from to . Oceania would see the rise of the Tuʻi Tonga Empire which expanded across many islands in the South Pacific.

The early modern period in Europe and the Near East (c.1450–1800) began with the final defeat of the Byzantine Empire, and the .

(1994). 9789004391659, Brill.
Meanwhile, Japan entered the , the rose in China and the ruled much of India. Europe underwent the , starting in the 15th century,
(2023). 9781317886464 .
and the Age of Discovery began with the exploring and of new regions.
(2023). 9781136479687 .
This includes the expanding to become the and the colonization of the Americas. This expansion led to the Atlantic slave trade and the genocide of Native American peoples.
(2023). 9780230297784, Palgrave Macmillan UK.
This period also marked the Scientific Revolution, with great advances in , , and .

The late modern period (1800–present) saw the Technological and Industrial Revolution bring such discoveries as imaging technology, major innovations in transport and energy development. The underwent great change, going from a small group of colonies to one of the global superpowers.

(2023). 9780199723430, Oxford University Press. .
The raged through Europe in the early 1800s, Spain lost most of its colonies in the , while Europeans continued expansion into Africa—where European control went from 10% to almost 90% in less than 50 years—and Oceania. A tenuous balance of power among European nations collapsed in 1914 with the outbreak of the First World War, one of the deadliest conflicts in history.
(2023). 9780713999426, Allen Lane. .
In the 1930s, led to the rise of regimes and a Second World War, involving almost all of the world's countries.
(1989). 9780300153552, Yale UP. .
Following its conclusion in 1945, the between the and the United States saw a struggle for global influence, including a nuclear arms race and a . The current sees the world becoming increasingly and interconnected.


Habitat and population
Early human settlements were dependent on proximity to and—depending on the lifestyle—other used for , such as populations of animal prey for and for growing crops and grazing livestock.
(2023). 9781499463293 .
Modern humans, however, have a great capacity for altering their habitats by means of technology, , , construction, and . Human settlements continue to be to natural disasters, especially those placed in hazardous locations and with low quality of construction. Grouping and deliberate habitat alteration is often done with the goals of providing protection, accumulating comforts or material wealth, expanding the available food, improving , increasing knowledge or enhancing the exchange of resources.
(2023). 9781135015596, Routledge. .

Humans are one of the most species, despite having a low or narrow tolerance for many of the earth's extreme environments.

(2023). 9780199748075, Oxford University Press. .
Through advanced tools, humans have been able to extend their tolerance to a wide variety of temperatures, , and altitudes. As a result, humans are a cosmopolitan species found in almost all regions of the world, including tropical rainforest, , extremely cold , and heavily polluted cities; in comparison, most other species are confined to a few geographical areas by their limited adaptability. The is not, however, uniformly distributed on the 's surface, because the population density varies from one region to another, and large stretches of surface are almost completely uninhabited, like and vast swathes of the ocean. Most humans (61%) live in Asia; the remainder live in the Americas (14%), Africa (14%), Europe (11%), and Oceania (0.5%).

Within the last century, humans have explored challenging environments such as Antarctica, the , and . Human habitation within these hostile environments is restrictive and expensive, typically limited in duration, and restricted to , , or industrial expeditions. Humans have briefly visited the Moon and made their presence felt on other through human-made robotic spacecraft. Since the early 20th century, there has been continuous human presence in Antarctica through research stations and, since 2000, in space through habitation on the International Space Station.

Estimates of the population at the time agriculture emerged in around 10,000 BC have ranged between 1 million and 15 million.

(2023). 9782760515888 .
(1975). 9780822101666, Dickenson Pub. Co.
Around 50–60 million people lived in the combined eastern and western in the 4th century AD. , first recorded in the 6th century AD, reduced the population by 50%, with the killing 75–200 million people in and alone. Human population was believed to have reached one billion in 1800. It has since then increased exponentially, reaching two billion in 1930 and three billion in 1960, four in 1975, five in 1987 and six billion in 1999. It passed seven billion in 2011 and passed eight billion in November 2022. It took over two million years of and for the human population to reach one and only 207 years more to grow to 7 billion. The combined biomass of the carbon of all the humans on Earth in 2018 was estimated at 60 million tons, about 10 times larger than that of all non-domesticated mammals.

In 2018, 4.2 billion humans (55%) lived in urban areas, up from 751 million in 1950. The most urbanized regions are Northern America (82%), Latin America (81%), Europe (74%) and Oceania (68%), with Africa and Asia having nearly 90% of the world's 3.4 billion rural population. Problems for humans living in cities include various forms of pollution and crime, especially in inner city and suburban . Humans have had a dramatic effect on the environment. They are , being rarely preyed upon by other species. Human population growth, industrialization, land development, and combustion of have led to environmental destruction and that significantly contributes to the ongoing of other forms of life.

  • They are the main contributor to global , which may accelerate the Holocene extinction.


Biology

Anatomy and physiology
Most aspects of human physiology are closely homologous to corresponding aspects of animal physiology. The human body consists of the , the , the arms, the , and the head. An adult human body consists of about 100 trillion (1014) cells. The most commonly defined in humans are the nervous, the cardiovascular, the digestive, the , the immune, the integumentary, the , the musculoskeletal, the reproductive, the respiratory, and the .
(2023). 9781404233621, Rosen Pub. Group's PowerKids Press. .
The of humans is: . Humans have proportionately shorter and much smaller than other primates. They are the only primates to have short, relatively flush . Humans have characteristically crowded teeth, with gaps from lost teeth usually closing up quickly in young individuals. Humans are gradually losing their , with some individuals having them congenitally absent.
(1976). 9780714816760 .

Humans share with chimpanzees a tail, appendix, flexible shoulder joints, grasping fingers and .

(2023). 9780202366562, Transaction Publishers.
Apart from bipedalism and brain size, humans differ from chimpanzees mostly in , and digesting proteins. While humans have a density of comparable to other apes, it is predominantly , most of which is so short and wispy as to be practically invisible. Humans have about 2 million spread over their entire bodies, many more than chimpanzees, whose sweat glands are scarce and are mainly located on the palm of the hand and on the soles of the feet.

It is estimated that the worldwide average male is about , while the worldwide average height for adult human females is about . Shrinkage of stature may begin in middle age in some individuals but tends to be typical in the extremely . Throughout history, human populations have universally become taller, probably as a consequence of better nutrition, healthcare, and living conditions. The average of an adult human is for females and for males. Like many other conditions, body weight and body type are influenced by both genetic susceptibility and environment and varies greatly among individuals.

(2023). 9781597454001, Humana Press. .

Humans have a far faster and more accurate than other animals. Humans are also among the best long-distance runners in the animal kingdom, but slower over short distances. Humans' thinner body hair and more productive sweat glands help avoid while running for long distances.


Genetics
Like most animals, humans are a and species. Each has two sets of 23 , each set received from one parent; have only one set of chromosomes, which is a mixture of the two parental sets. Among the 23 pairs of chromosomes, there are 22 pairs of and one pair of sex chromosomes. Like other mammals, humans have an XY sex-determination system, so that females have the sex chromosomes XX and males have XY.
(1980). 9781468401097, Springer US.
and environment influence human biological variation in visible characteristics, physiology, disease susceptibility and mental abilities. The exact influence of genes and environment on certain traits is not well understood.

While no humans—not even monozygotic twins—are genetically identical, two humans on average will have a genetic similarity of 99.5%-99.9%. This makes them more homogeneous than other great apes, including chimpanzees. This small variation in human DNA compared to many other species suggests a population bottleneck during the (around 100,000 years ago), in which the human population was reduced to a small number of breeding pairs. The forces of natural selection have continued to operate on human populations, with evidence that certain regions of the display directional selection in the past 15,000 years.

The was first sequenced in 2001 and by 2020 hundreds of thousands of genomes had been sequenced. In 2012 the International HapMap Project had compared the genomes of 1,184 individuals from 11 populations and identified 1.6 million single nucleotide polymorphisms. African populations harbor the highest number of private genetic variants. While many of the common variants found in populations outside of Africa are also found on the African continent, there are still large numbers that are private to these regions, especially and . By 2010 estimates, humans have approximately 22,000 genes. By comparing , which is inherited only from the mother, geneticists have concluded that the last female common ancestor whose is found in all modern humans, the so-called mitochondrial Eve, must have lived around 90,000 to 200,000 years ago.


Life cycle
Most human reproduction takes place by internal fertilization via sexual intercourse, but can also occur through assisted reproductive technology procedures.
(2023). 9780470658451, John Wiley & Sons. .
The average period is 38 weeks, but a normal pregnancy can vary by up to 37 days. Embryonic development in the human covers the first eight weeks of development; at the beginning of the ninth week the embryo is termed a .
(2023). 9780781762373 .
Humans are able to or perform a caesarean section if the child needs to be born earlier for medical reasons. In developed countries, are typically in weight and in height at birth. However, low birth weight is common in developing countries, and contributes to the high levels of in these regions.

Compared with other species, human childbirth is dangerous, with a much higher risk of complications and death. The size of the fetus's head is more closely matched to the than other primates. The reason for this is not completely understood, but it contributes to a painful labor that can last 24 hours or more. The chances of a successful labor increased significantly during the 20th century in wealthier countries with the advent of new medical technologies. In contrast, pregnancy and natural childbirth remain hazardous ordeals in developing regions of the world, with maternal death rates approximately 100 times greater than in developed countries.

Both the mother and the father provide care for human offspring, in contrast to other primates, where parental care is mostly done by the mother.

(2023). 9780199586967, Oxford University Press. .
, humans continue to grow for some years, typically reaching at 15 to 17 years of age.
(2023). 9780495600374, . .
(2023). 9781284125016, Jones & Bartlett Learning. .
(2023). 9781483364759, SAGE Publications. .
The human life span has been split into various stages ranging from three to twelve. Common stages include , , , and . The lengths of these stages have varied across cultures and time periods but is typified by an unusually rapid growth spurt during adolescence. Human females undergo and become at around the age of 50. It has been proposed that menopause increases a woman's overall reproductive success by allowing her to invest more time and resources in her existing offspring, and in turn their children (the grandmother hypothesis), rather than by continuing to bear children into old age.
(1997). 9780465031276, Basic Books.

The life span of an individual depends on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices. For various reasons, including biological/genetic causes, women live on average about four years longer than men. , the global average life expectancy at birth of a girl is estimated to be 74.9 years compared to 70.4 for a boy. There are significant geographical variations in human life expectancy, mostly correlated with economic development—for example, life expectancy at birth in Hong Kong is 87.6 years for girls and 81.8 for boys, while in the Central African Republic, it is 55.0 years for girls and 50.6 for boys.

(2023). 9789211264395 .
The developed world is generally aging, with the median age around 40 years. In the , the median age is between 15 and 20 years. While one in five Europeans is 60 years of age or older, only one in twenty Africans is 60 years of age or older. In 2012, the United Nations estimated that there were 316,600 living (humans of age 100 or older) worldwide.
+ ! colspan="5"Human life stages
boy and girlBoy and girl before () male and female man and woman man and woman


Diet
, , preparing a meal]]Humans are , capable of consuming a wide variety of plant and animal material. Human groups have adopted a range of diets from purely to primarily . In some cases, dietary restrictions in humans can lead to deficiency diseases; however, stable human groups have adapted to many dietary patterns through both genetic specialization and cultural conventions to use nutritionally balanced food sources. The human diet is prominently reflected in human culture and has led to the development of .

Until the development of agriculture approximately 10,000 years ago, Homo sapiens employed a hunter-gatherer method as their sole means of food collection. This involved combining stationary food sources (such as fruits, grains, tubers, and mushrooms, insect larvae and aquatic mollusks) with wild game, which must be hunted and captured in order to be consumed. It has been proposed that humans have used fire to prepare and food since the time of . Around ten thousand years ago, humans developed agriculture, which substantially altered their diet. This change in diet may also have altered human biology; with the spread of providing a new and rich source of food, leading to the evolution of the ability to digest in some adults. The types of food consumed, and how they are prepared, have varied widely by time, location, and culture.

In general, humans can survive for up to eight weeks without food, depending on stored body fat. Survival without water is usually limited to three or four days, with a maximum of one week. In 2020 it is estimated 9 million humans die every year from causes directly or indirectly related to . Childhood malnutrition is also common and contributes to the . However, global food distribution is not even, and among some human populations has increased rapidly, leading to health complications and increased mortality in some developed and a few developing countries. Worldwide, over one billion people are obese, while in the United States 35% of people are obese, leading to this being described as an "obesity epidemic." Obesity is caused by consuming more than are expended, so excessive weight gain is usually caused by an energy-dense diet.


Biological variation
There is biological variation in the human species—with traits such as , , , , , , and , and , and skin color varying across the globe. The typical height of an adult human is between , although this varies significantly depending on sex, , and family bloodlines. Body size is partly determined by genes and is also significantly influenced by environmental factors such as diet, exercise, and .

There is evidence that populations have adapted genetically to various external factors. The genes that allow adult humans to digest lactose are present in high frequencies in populations that have long histories of cattle domestication and are more dependent on . Sickle cell anemia, which may provide increased resistance to , is frequent in populations where is endemic. Populations that have for a very long time inhabited specific climates tend to have developed specific that are beneficial for those environments—short stature and stocky build in cold regions, tall and lanky in hot regions, and with high lung capacities or other adaptations at high altitudes. Some populations have evolved highly unique adaptations to very specific environmental conditions, such as those advantageous to ocean-dwelling lifestyles and in the .

Human hair ranges in color from to to to , which is the most frequent. Hair color depends on the amount of , with concentrations fading with increased age, leading to or even white hair. Skin color can range from to , or even nearly white or colorless in cases of . It tends to vary and generally correlates with the level of ultraviolet radiation in a particular geographic area, with darker skin mostly around the equator. Skin darkening may have evolved as protection against ultraviolet solar radiation. Light skin pigmentation protects against depletion of , which requires to make. Human skin also has a capacity to darken (tan) in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation., a , a , and an , drawing by an unknown artist after a mural of the tomb of ]]

There is relatively little variation between human geographical populations, and most of the variation that occurs is at the individual level. Much of human variation is continuous, often with no clear points of demarcation. Genetic data shows that no matter how population groups are defined, two people from the same population group are almost as different from each other as two people from any two different population groups. Dark-skinned populations that are found in Africa, Australia, and South Asia are not closely related to each other.

Genetic research has demonstrated that human populations native to the African continent are the most genetically diverse and genetic diversity decreases with migratory distance from Africa, possibly the result of bottlenecks during human migration. These non-African populations acquired new genetic inputs from local admixture with archaic populations and have much greater variation from and than is found in Africa, though Neanderthal admixture into African populations may be underestimated. Furthermore, recent studies have found that populations in sub-Saharan Africa, and particularly , have ancestral genetic variation which predates modern humans and has been lost in most non-African populations. Some of this ancestry is thought to originate from admixture with an unknown archaic hominin that diverged before the split of Neanderthals and modern humans.

Humans are a species, meaning they are divided into male and female .

(2023). 9781429232524, Macmillan. .
(2010). 9780521879484, Cambridge University Press. .
(2019). 9781108499859, Cambridge University Press. .
The greatest degree of genetic variation exists between males and females. While the nucleotide genetic variation of individuals of the same sex across global populations is no greater than 0.1%–0.5%, the genetic difference between and is between 1% and 2%. Males on average are 15% heavier and taller than females. On average, men have about 40–50% more upper body strength and 20–30% more lower body strength than women at the same weight, due to higher amounts of muscle and larger muscle fibers. Women generally have a higher percentage than men.
(2023). 9783319701776, Springer International Publishing.
Women have lighter skin than men of the same population; this has been explained by a higher need for vitamin D in females during pregnancy and . As there are chromosomal differences between females and males, some X and Y chromosome-related conditions and only affect either men or women. After allowing for body weight and volume, the male voice is usually an deeper than the female voice. Women have a longer life span in almost every population around the world.


Psychology
The , the focal point of the central nervous system in humans, controls the peripheral nervous system. In addition to controlling "lower," involuntary, or primarily autonomic activities such as respiration and , it is also the locus of "higher" order functioning such as , , and . These constitute the , and, along with their consequences, are studied in the field of .

Humans have a larger and more developed prefrontal cortex than other primates, the region of the brain associated with higher . This has led humans to proclaim themselves to be more than any other known species. Objectively defining intelligence is difficult, with other animals adapting senses and excelling in areas that humans are unable to.

There are some traits that, although not strictly unique, do set humans apart from other animals. Humans may be the only animals who have episodic memory and who can engage in "mental time travel". Even compared with other social animals, humans have an unusually high degree of flexibility in their facial expressions. Humans are the only animals known to cry emotional tears. Humans are one of the few animals able to self-recognize in and there is also debate over to what extent humans are the only animals with a theory of mind.


Sleep and dreaming
Humans are generally . The average sleep requirement is between seven and nine hours per day for an adult and nine to ten hours per day for a child; elderly people usually sleep for six to seven hours. Having less sleep than this is common among humans, even though sleep deprivation can have negative health effects. A sustained restriction of adult sleep to four hours per day has been shown to correlate with changes in physiology and mental state, including reduced memory, fatigue, aggression, and bodily discomfort.

During sleep humans dream, where they experience sensory images and sounds. Dreaming is stimulated by the and mostly occurs during the REM phase of sleep. The length of a dream can vary, from a few seconds up to 30 minutes. Humans have three to five dreams per night, and some may have up to seven; however most dreams are immediately or quickly forgotten. They are more likely to remember the dream if awakened during the REM phase. The events in dreams are generally outside the control of the dreamer, with the exception of , where the dreamer is . Dreams can at times make a thought occur or give a sense of inspiration.


Consciousness and thought
Human consciousness, at its simplest, is or of internal or external existence. Despite centuries of analyses, definitions, explanations and debates by philosophers and scientists, consciousness remains puzzling and controversial, being "at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives".
(2023). 9780470751459, Wiley.
The only widely agreed notion about the topic is the intuition that it exists.
(2023). 9780199264797, Oxford University Press.
Opinions differ about what exactly needs to be studied and explained as consciousness. Some philosophers divide consciousness into phenomenal consciousness, which is sensory experience itself, and access consciousness, which can be used for reasoning or directly controlling actions. It is sometimes synonymous with 'the mind', and at other times, an aspect of it. Historically it is associated with , private , and volition.
(2023). 9780618057078, Houghton Mifflin. .
It now often includes some kind of , , or . It may be 'awareness', or '', or . There might be different levels or orders of consciousness, or different kinds of consciousness, or just one kind with different features.

The process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses is known as cognition. The human brain the external world through the , and each individual human is influenced greatly by his or her experiences, leading to views of and the passage of time.

(2023). 9783030036331, Springer International Publishing.
The nature of thought is central to psychology and related fields. Cognitive psychology studies , the underlying behavior. Largely focusing on the development of the human mind through the life span, developmental psychology seeks to understand how people come to perceive, understand, and act within the world and how these processes change as they age.
(2023). 9781138846951, Routledge.
This may focus on intellectual, cognitive, neural, social, or moral development. have developed intelligence tests and the concept of intelligence quotient in order to assess the relative intelligence of human beings and study its distribution among population.
(2004). 9780126574104


Motivation and emotion
Human motivation is not yet wholly understood. From a psychological perspective, Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a well-established theory that can be defined as the process of satisfying certain needs in ascending order of complexity. From a more general, philosophical perspective, human motivation can be defined as a commitment to, or withdrawal from, various goals requiring the application of human ability. Furthermore, and are both factors, as are any perceived links between incentives and preferences. Volition may also be involved, in which case willpower is also a factor. Ideally, both motivation and volition ensure the selection, striving for, and realization of goals in an optimal manner, a function beginning in childhood and continuing throughout a lifetime in a process known as .
(2018). 9783319650937, Springer, Cham.

Emotions are states associated with the nervous system

(1994). 9780195089448, Oxford University Press.
brought on by changes variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioral responses, and a degree of or .
(2023). 9781429237192, Worth Publishers. .
They are often intertwined with mood, , personality, , , and motivation. Emotion has a significant influence on human behavior and their ability to learn. Acting on extreme or uncontrolled emotions can lead to social disorder and crime, with studies showing criminals may have a lower emotional intelligence than normal.

Emotional experiences perceived as , such as , interest or , contrast with those perceived as , like , , , and despair. , or the state of being happy, is a human emotional condition. The definition of happiness is a common philosophical topic. Some define it as experiencing the of positive emotional affects, while avoiding the negative ones. Others see it as an appraisal of life satisfaction or quality of life.

(2023). 9781478722595, Outskirts Press.
Recent research suggests that being happy might involve experiencing some negative emotions when humans feel they are warranted.


Sexuality and love
For humans, sexuality involves , , physical, emotional, , or feelings and behaviors.
(2023). 9781284081541, Jones & Bartlett Publishers. .
(2023). 9780789026712, Taylor & Francis. .
Because it is a broad term, which has varied with historical contexts over time, it lacks a precise definition. The biological and physical aspects of sexuality largely concern the human reproductive functions, including the human sexual response cycle. Sexuality also affects and is affected by cultural, political, legal, philosophical, , , and religious aspects of life. Sexual desire, or , is a basic mental state present at the beginning of sexual behavior. Studies show that men desire sex more than women and more often.

Humans can fall anywhere along a continuous scale of sexual orientation, although most humans are . While behavior occurs in some other animals, only humans and have so far been found to exhibit exclusive preference for same-sex relationships. Most evidence supports nonsocial, biological causes of sexual orientation, as cultures that are very tolerant of homosexuality do not have significantly higher rates of it.

(2023). 9780199752966, Oxford University Press. .
(2023). 9780199838820, Oxford University Press. .
Research in and suggests that other aspects of human sexuality are biologically influenced as well.
(2023). 9780465008025, Basic Books. .

Love most commonly refers to a feeling of strong attraction or emotional attachment. It can be impersonal (the love of an object, ideal, or strong political or spiritual connection) or interpersonal (love between humans).

(2023). 9780060958282, Harper Perennial.
When in love , , and other chemicals stimulate the brain's , leading to side effects such as increased , loss of appetite and , and an .


Culture
Humanity's unprecedented set of intellectual skills were a key factor in the species' eventual technological advancement and concomitant domination of the biosphere.
(2023). 9780316484893, Hachette Books.
Disregarding extinct hominids, humans are the only animals known to teach generalizable information, innately deploy recursive to generate and communicate complex concepts, engage in the "" required for competent tool design, or cook food in the wild. Teaching and learning preserves the cultural and ethnographic identity of human societies. Other traits and behaviors that are mostly unique to humans include starting fires, structuring and .


Language
While many species communicate, is unique to humans, a defining feature of humanity, and a cultural universal. Unlike the limited systems of other animals, human language is open—an infinite number of meanings can be produced by combining a limited number of symbols. Human language also has the capacity of displacement, using words to represent things and happenings that are not presently or locally occurring but reside in the shared imagination of interlocutors.

Language differs from other forms of communication in that it is modality independent; the same meanings can be conveyed through different media, audibly in , visually by or writing, and through tactile media such as .

(2023). 9781137587466, Palgrave Macmillan UK.
Language is central to the communication between humans, and to the sense of identity that unites nations, cultures and ethnic groups. There are approximately six thousand different languages currently in use, including sign languages, and many thousands more that are .
(1996). 9780816033881, Facts on File.


The arts
Human arts can take many forms including , and . Visual art can range from and to , interaction design and .
(2023). 9780983386759, Sergey's HTML5 & CSS3. .
Literary arts can include , and ; while the performing arts generally involve , and . Humans often combine the different forms (for example, music videos). Other entities that have been described as having artistic qualities include , video games and . As well as providing entertainment and transferring knowledge, the arts are also used for political purposes. tablet of the Gilgamesh epic in Akkadian]]

is a defining characteristic of humans and there is evidence for a relationship between creativity and language. The earliest evidence of art was shell engravings made by Homo erectus 300,000 years before modern humans evolved. Art attributed to H. sapiens existed at least 75,000 years ago, with jewellery and drawings found in caves in South Africa. There are various hypotheses as to why humans have to the arts. These include allowing them to better problem solve issues, providing a means to control or influence other humans, encouraging cooperation and contribution within a society or increasing the chance of attracting a potential mate. The use of imagination developed through art, combined with logic may have given early humans an evolutionary advantage.

Evidence of humans engaging in musical activities predates cave art and so far music has been practiced by virtually all known human cultures. There exists a wide variety of and ; with humans' musical abilities being related to other abilities, including complex social human behaviours. It has been shown that human brains respond to music by becoming synchronized with the rhythm and beat, a process called entrainment. Dance is also a form of human expression found in all cultures and may have evolved as a way to help early humans communicate. Listening to music and observing dance stimulates the orbitofrontal cortex and other pleasure sensing areas of the brain.

Unlike speaking, reading and writing does not come naturally to humans and must be taught. Still, has been present before the invention of words and language, with 30,000-year-old paintings on walls inside some caves portraying a series of dramatic scenes. One of the oldest surviving works of literature is the Epic of Gilgamesh, first engraved on ancient tablets about 4,000 years ago.

(2023). 9780192835895, Oxford University Press.
Beyond simply passing down knowledge, the use and sharing of imaginative through stories might have helped develop humans' capabilities for communication and increased the likelihood of securing a mate. Storytelling may also be used as a way to provide the audience with moral lessons and encourage cooperation.


Tools and technologies
Stone tools were used by proto-humans at least 2.5 million years ago. The use and manufacture of tools has been put forward as the ability that defines humans more than anything else and has historically been seen as an important evolutionary step. The technology became much more sophisticated about 1.8 million years ago, with the controlled use of fire beginning around 1 million years ago. The wheel and wheeled vehicles appeared simultaneously in several regions some time in the fourth millennium BC. The development of more complex tools and technologies allowed land to be and animals to be , thus proving essential in the development of —what is known as the Neolithic Revolution.

China developed , the , , the and other important inventions.

(2023). 9780521186926, Cambridge University Press. .
The continued improvements in allowed of copper, bronze, iron and eventually , which is used in , and many other products. This coincided with the Industrial Revolution, where the invention of automated machines brought major changes to humans' lifestyles. Modern technology is observed as progressing exponentially, with major innovations in the 20th century including: electricity, , , internal combustion engines, the , , , , , contraceptive pills, , the , , scientific , , , and the .


Religion and spirituality
Religion is generally defined as a system concerning the , or , and practices, , institutions and associated with such belief. Some religions also have a . The evolution and the history of the first religions have recently become areas of active scientific investigation. While the exact time when humans first became religious remains unknown, research shows credible evidence of religious behaviour from around the Middle Paleolithic era (45-200 thousand years ago). It may have evolved to play a role in helping enforce and encourage cooperation between humans.

There is no accepted academic definition of what constitutes religion. Religion has taken on many forms that vary by culture and individual perspective in alignment with the geographic, social, and linguistic diversity of the planet. Religion can include a belief in life after death (commonly involving belief in an ), the origin of life, the nature of the (religious cosmology) and its (), and what is or immoral. A common source for answers to these questions are beliefs in transcendent divine beings such as or a singular , although not all religions are .

Although the exact level of religiosity can be hard to measure, a majority of humans profess some variety of religious or spiritual belief. In 2015 the plurality were followed by , and . As of 2015, about 16%, or slightly under 1.2 billion humans, were , including those with no religious beliefs or no identity with any religion.


Science and philosophy
An aspect unique to humans is their ability to transmit knowledge from one generation to the next and to continually build on this information to develop tools, and other advances to pass on further. This accumulated knowledge can be tested to answer questions or make predictions about how the universe functions and has been very successful in advancing human ascendancy. has been described as the first scientist, and preceded the rise of scientific thought through the Hellenistic period.
(2023). 9783642189043 .
Other early advances in science came from the Han Dynasty in China and during the Islamic Golden Age.
(2023). 052105799X . 052105799X
The scientific revolution, near the end of the , led to the emergence of .
(2023). 9781137079046, Palgrave Macmillan. .

A chain of events and influences led to the development of the scientific method, a process of observation and experimentation that is used to differentiate science from . An understanding of is unique to humans, although other species of animals have some numerical cognition.

(2023). 9781107011168, Cambridge University Press.
All of science can be divided into three major branches, the (e.g., and ), which are concerned with , the (e.g., engineering, medicine), which are focused on practical applications, and the empirical sciences, which are based on empirical observation and are in turn divided into (e.g., , , ) and (e.g., , economics, sociology).

Philosophy is a field of study where humans seek to understand fundamental truths about themselves and the world in which they live. Philosophical inquiry has been a major feature in the development of humans' intellectual history. It has been described as the "no man's land" between definitive scientific knowledge and dogmatic religious teachings. Philosophy relies on reason and evidence, unlike religion, but does not require the empirical observations and experiments provided by science. Major fields of philosophy include , , logic, and (which includes and ).


Society
Society is the system of organizations and institutions arising from interaction between humans. Humans are highly social and tend to live in large complex social groups. They can be divided into different groups according to their income, wealth, power, and other factors. The structure of social stratification and the degree of differs, especially between modern and traditional societies. Human groups range from the size of to nations. The first form of human social organization is thought to have resembled .
(2023). 9780374533229, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


Gender
Human societies typically exhibit and that distinguish between and characteristics and prescribe the range of acceptable behaviours and attitudes for their members based on their .
(2023). 9781410605245, Psychology Press.
The most common categorisation is a of and .
(2023). 9781483384276
Many societies recognise a ,
(2023). 9781942130529, Princeton University Press. .
or less commonly a fourth or fifth.
(1994). 9780942299823, Zone (MIT).
In some other societies, non-binary is used as an umbrella term for a range of gender identities that are not solely male or female.

Gender roles are often associated with a division of , practices, , , , , privileges, , and power, with men enjoying more rights and privileges than women in most societies, both today and in the past. As a social construct, gender roles are not fixed and vary historically within a society. Challenges to predominant gender norms have recurred in many societies.

(2023). 9780763756413, Jones & Bartlett Publishers. .
Little is known about gender roles in the earliest human societies. Early modern humans probably had a range of gender roles similar to that of modern cultures from at least the Upper Paleolithic, while the were less sexually dimorphic and there is evidence that the behavioural difference between males and females was minimal.
(2020). 9781119535805, Wiley.


Kinship
All human societies organize, recognize and classify types of social relationships based on relations between parents, children and other descendants (), and relations through (affinity). There is also a third type applied to or (). These culturally defined relationships are referred to as kinship. In many societies, it is one of the most important social organizing principles and plays a role in transmitting status and . All societies have rules of , according to which marriage between certain kinds of kin relations are prohibited, and some also have rules of preferential marriage with certain kin relations.


Ethnicity
Human ethnic groups are a social category that identifies together as a group based on shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. These can be a common set of traditions, , , , , , , , or social treatment within their residing area.
(2023). 9780199893157, Oxford University Press. .
Ethnicity is separate from the concept of race, which is based on physical characteristics, although both are socially constructed. Assigning ethnicity to a certain population is complicated, as even within common ethnic designations there can be a diverse range of subgroups, and the makeup of these ethnic groups can change over time at both the collective and individual level. Also, there is no generally accepted definition of what constitutes an ethnic group. Ethnic groupings can play a powerful role in the and solidarity of ethnopolitical units. This has been closely tied to the rise of the as the predominant form of political organization in the 19th and 20th centuries.
(2023). 9781412901017, SAGE.


Government and politics
As farming populations gathered in larger and denser communities, interactions between these different groups increased. This led to the development of governance within and between the communities.
(2023). 9780520244764, University of California Press. .
Humans have evolved the ability to change affiliation with various social groups relatively easily, including previously strong political alliances, if doing so is seen as providing personal advantages. This cognitive flexibility allows individual humans to change their political ideologies, with those with higher flexibility less likely to support authoritarian and nationalistic stances.

Governments create and that affect the citizens that they govern. There have been many forms of government throughout human history, each having various means of obtaining power and the ability to exert diverse controls on the population. As of 2017, more than half of all national governments are , with 13% being and 28% containing elements of both. Many countries have formed international political organizations and alliances, the largest being the with 193 member states.


Trade and economics
Trade, the voluntary exchange of goods and services, is seen as a characteristic that differentiates humans from other animals and has been cited as a practice that gave Homo sapiens a major advantage over other hominids. Evidence suggests early H. sapiens made use of long-distance trade routes to exchange goods and ideas, leading to cultural explosions and providing additional food sources when hunting was sparse, while such trade networks did not exist for the now extinct Neanderthals. Early trade likely involved materials for creating tools like . The first truly international trade routes were around the through the Roman and medieval periods.

Early human were more likely to be based around instead of a system. Early consisted of ; the oldest being in the form of cattle and the most widely used being . Money has since evolved into governmental issued , and . Human study of economics is a that looks at how societies distribute scarce resources among different people. There are massive inequalities in the division of among humans; the eight richest humans are worth the same monetary value as the poorest half of all the human population.


Conflict
Humans commit violence on other humans at a rate comparable to other primates, but have an increased preference for killing adults, infanticide being more common among other primates. It is predicted that 2% of early H. sapiens would be , rising to 12% during the medieval period, before dropping to below 2% in modern times. There is great variation in violence between human populations with rates of homicide in societies that have and strong cultural attitudes against violence at about 0.01%.

The willingness of humans to kill other members of their species en masse through organized conflict (i.e., war) has long been the subject of debate. One school of thought holds that war evolved as a means to eliminate competitors, and has always been an innate human characteristic. Another suggests that war is a relatively recent phenomenon and has appeared due to changing social conditions. While not settled, current evidence indicates warlike predispositions only became common about 10,000 years ago, and in many places much more recently than that. War has had a high cost on human life; it is estimated that during the 20th century, between 167 million and 188 million people died as a result of war.


See also
  • List of human evolution fossils


Notes

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