It is useful to locate ourselves on the "family tree" or classification chart used by biologists to show relationships among our planet's species. Human beings belong to the large mammalian Order of Primates, which has many members, living and extinct, and includes lemurs, monkeys, apes, and humans. Within that Order, humans belong to the Family of Hominidae--or Hominids--which includes all two-legged, man-like species, extinct or living. Within the Hominid family are a number of extinct erect walking apes, ourselves and our immediate ancestors.

We are members of the Genus Homo ("Man"), and our species name is Homo sapiens--"wise man." Sometimes we are further classified as a subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens. All living humans are members of this subspecies and, although regional populations exhibit some obvious differences from one another, all of us are quite closely related.


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