According to Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Homo sapiens is the species to which all human beings living on earth today belong. The species evolved in Africa some 200,000 years ago at a time when its living environment experienced a drastic climate change. Just like other forms of early man living at the time, Homo sapiens were hunters and gatherers and acquired behaviors that helped them survive.
The species is the only living one that belongs to the genus Homo and is a primate of the Hominidae family, the Bradshaw Foundation states. Modern man shares a common ancestor with the chimpanzee, but the two evolved into distinct forms some five million years ago, with the former becoming Australopithecines and ultimately evolving into the genus Homo. The chimpanzee is modern man’s closest living relative.
Modern man exhibits anatomical differences from his predecessors, SNMNH adds. For starters, he has a lighter skeletal structure. Also, modern humans have a massive brain, although the exact size varies from population to population and depends on gender. Their skulls are also significantly evolved. The average brain size of Homo sapiens is roughly 1,300 cubic centimeters. The jaws of modern man are less developed and have smaller teeth.