Homo (Latin for ‘man’) is the genus separated from the earlier hominids because of the emergence of tool use, language and culture. The genus begins about 2.3 million years ago. The characteristics of these species are bigger brain (above 1000 ml), the forehead rises straight up, the skull becomes rounder, the teeth are reduced, arms are shorter and legs are longer, and the skeleton becomes more delicate. It was Carolus Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy (the science of classification) who chose the name Homo for the genus humans are categorized in.

There is only one living species in the genus: Homo sapiens. All others are extinct (e.g. homo erectus, homo neanderthalensis). Anthropologists are still investigating the exact line of descent of the human species. The evolution of the genus Homo took place mostly in the Pleistocene (the epoch from 2,588,000 to 12,000 years BCE). The homo genus is characterised by its use of stone tools, initially crude, and becoming ever more sophisticated. So much so that in archaeology and anthropology the Pleistocene is usually referred to as the Palaeolithic, or the Stone Age.

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