Homo – Humans

We, humans, and our closest relatives – at least 8 species, all of which have gone extinct

Upright posture, walking on two legs, large brain and small canines – all have made the whole difference.

Our genus is 1.5–2.5 million years old. Except for us, contemporary humans, every other species has gone extinct. Traditional estimates place the extinction of Eurasia’s Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) at about 30,000 years ago. Still, new evidence reveals that the Flores man (Homo floresiensis) of Indonesia may have existed as recently as 12,000 years ago.

Homo sapiens, arguably the most successful species ever, resulted in the extinction of many species, starting with animals such as the Smilodon (saber-toothed tiger), Giant ground sloth, and wooly mammoth, because of their newfound ability to use projectile weapons. This inadvertently led to the extinction of other homo species, such as the Neanderthals, who could not sustain the intraspecific competition and died out.

Compared to other primates, human babies require a longer development period to reach various milestones, such as walking or self-feeding. This prolonged period of dependency necessitates increased parental care and attention, leading to the development of complex family structures and social dynamics, contributing to greater cooperation, protection, and sharing of resources within the group.