Talk:Human/Archive 32

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Archive 25 Archive 30 Archive 31 Archive 32 Archive 33 Archive 34


Clarification on closure of above Section, and potential invitation to open new Section on same topic

Pearl, you can re-open this at any time if you are just careful to phrase everything in terms of what specifically you want to change about the article. This I say in the hopes that you don't feel you've been treated unfairly. Chrisrus (talk) 23:31, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Diversity in Pics

I find it very interesting how the photographs that accompany this article all are of non-whites. Is this what diversity is now? Non-white? If this sounds racist, then imagine if the above sentence read that there were no blacks in the pictures. Or hispanics, or asians, etc.

I do not post this in any attempt to be racist or antagonistic; rather, I am hoping that those in power will take a look at what I am saying here and agree that some more actual diversity is in order. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:18, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Clearly you didn't even look at all the pictures. I counted three with white subjects. Mkemper331 (talk) 16:55, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

New Evidence

New evidence from sequence of neanderthal DNA suggests that "Mitochondrial DNA and fossil evidence indicates that modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago" may be inaccurate. Needs further review. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:18, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

If you are refering to the recent finding of Neanderthal-Modern Human admixture by Svante Pääbo within the Science article [1], the evidence of admixture in the sequencing was found not on mtDNA or Y-chromosomal DNA per se, but within derived SNP's (single-nucleotide polymorphisms). The article states that Neandertals often share derived single-nucleotide polymorphism alleles with present-day humans. I haven't read the whole article, but I think that is what it is generally saying; that the SNP's are the subject of concern.
Modern human mitochondrial DNA and Y-Chromosomal DNA still come from African ancestors between 200,000 and 80,000 years ago, so the RAO model still holds. -Ano-User (talk) 15:03, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Why isn't this Category:Animals? Humans are Kingdom (biology) Animalia. Note: better to clarify "non-human animals" as such to distinguish from Homo sapiens.

Why isn't this Category:Animals? Humans are Kingdom (biology) Animalia. Note: better to clarify "non-human animals" as such to distinguish from Homo sapiens. (talk) 07:16, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

It's in Category:Humans, which is in Category:Hominina, which eventually goes up the taxonomic chain to animals. The situation is basically the same for almost all other animal articles. Have you noticed how Category:Animals is full of subcategories but comparatively very few articles? --Cybercobra (talk) 07:38, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Sexually Transferrable Diseases

I think there should be something on this topic a.o. so that people looking for info on the subject on e.g. std's can find the articles on these subjects. —Preceding unsigned comment added by SvenAERTS (talkcontribs)

These are by no means unique or special to humans. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:10, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Uniquely Human Diseases

By the way, are there any diseases which are specific to only humans? I know that many parasites are specific to one or very few species, fleas for example. So reason dictates that there could be viruses and harmful bacteria unique to just one species, so why not humans? Then, there are the diseases an animal gets from eating the wrong diet. Our dietary needs are specific and complicated, so it follows that there might be diseases of that sort that are unique to humans. And look at our unusual skeletons! You'll never convince me we aren't relatively more prone to back and knee trouble; it's a really aweful bipedal design compared to Utahraptor or Emu designs. Not to mention our complicated psychologies! Make something more complicated, and you've increased the chances of something going wrong. Anyway, If we could list or discuss uniquely human diseases in the article, I'd say it'd be a fine addition. What's the word/term for "disease that effects only one species" or "...only humans"? If we knew that we could easily Google up a list. Chrisrus (talk) 23:03, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Important diseases that are peculiar to humans might be mentioned here, especially if they played a major part in human evolution or development. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:10, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, infectious diseases that are unique to humans can have no animal reservoir. In these cases, once the disease can be eliminated through the human population (via something like vaccination efforts), then the disease simply no longer exists. That's what happened to smallpox, and it's what's going to happen soon to polio. In short, human-only diseases don't live very long, but they're almost exclusively viral. I wouldn't mind seeing a section about Smallpox, polio, or some of the herpesviridae. In keeping with Martin's suggestion, we ought to include a few retroviruses, as most of our genome may very well have come from remnants of their DNA. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:09, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Well if we are talking about diseases/pathogens that have had a major evolutionary role in humans then perhaps Mycobacterium tuberculous should be included in such a discussion. From an immune system point of view an entire of class of T cells (gamma-delta) have evolved and are present in our bodies (albeit only about ~5% of circulating lymphocytes) that specifically target M. tuberculous in the humans. TheIguana (talk) 17:13, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Although it originated as a disease that infected nonhuman primates and only made the jump to humans recently, isn't HIV a uniquely human disease? I just wanted to point this out. I don't believe this should be included in the article because HIV has in no way influenced human evolution in any meaningful way. --Armaetin (talk) 19:57, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Actually, HIV has the potential to influence human evolution in the most FUNDAMENTAL of ways - it is a retrovirus, so it inserts itself into our genome. This is believed to be the mechanism by which the majority of our DNA (things like LTR's, SINES, LINES) came into existence, and it may be the source of new genes like the one coding for the syncytin protein. Additionally, if it inserts into an existing gene, it will deactivate that gene, which is then lost from the germ line if the event occurs in a non-somatic cell. Of course, in these examples, HIV is not doing anything that any other retrovirus couldn't do. I'd love to see some discussion of them as a group. And yes, btw, you're correct - HIV is a virus that can only infect humans (hence the H, standing for "human"), though it's actually a modified form of the Simian immunodifficiancy virus (SIV). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:10, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

The future of human

Any ideas on the way to best include the future of humans into this article?Rolyatleahcim (formerly known as Zzzmidnight) (talk) 03:32, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

WP:CRYSTAL - UtherSRG (talk) 03:42, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Human Physical Strength in Section "Anatomy"

The statement regarding human physical strength could be considered contentious, because there are no standards laid out that define "conditioned human male" or "female orangutan". Also, I have read that the sarcomeres, the basic unit of muscular movement in animals, are the same for all species, and that differences in adeptness at certain activities are mainly due to biomechanics. Thus, an orangutan may have, for example, a stronger grip than an average man, but no orangutan would be able to lift the world record weight for the deadlift, 1003 lbs., simply because orangutans don't have the posterior chain development and anatomy that humans do. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:31, 1 June 2010 (UTC)


This article is clearly written from a human prospective. It should be changed to be more neutral. -- (talk) 15:20, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes, it should be written by Dr. Phlox. He knows the most about this interesting species. Chrisrus (talk) 15:51, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Excellent! From the POV of many life forms humans are the most dangerous and destructive species on the planet. I am not sure how inanimate objects view us. Perhaps we should ask them? Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:10, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Brilliant! But what of the POV of the many life forms that view us as the greatest thing that ever happened to the planet? Cockroaches, rats, dogs, pigeons, and ficus plants share this POV, and although some say that corn and chickens and pigs hate us, they actually appreciate the fact that we have made them among the most successful species on the planet and feel sorry for the wild fowl and boars, which are destined to starve to death or be ripped apart alive by vicious carnivores. Chrisrus (talk) 17:18, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Gradually losing Wisdom Teeth in Anatomy

Towards the end of the of the Anatomy section, it states, "Humans are gradually losing their wisdom teeth, with some individuals having them congenitally absent.[54]" There isn't any scientific evidence that there is a evolutionary trend towards this. It is like stating that there is currently evolutionary trend towards humans getting taller thus why humans are taller now. I think that statement should be removed completely. —Preceding unsigned comment added by ArmorPierce (talkcontribs) 20:22, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

The comment is sourced. You should check out the source if you doubt what is being said. Martin Hogbin (talk) 20:48, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Archived sections deleted--Should not happen

The matter has been resolved.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Who deleted several closed archived sections of this particular Discussion? Archives, by definition, are supposed to remain as historical records. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 00:10, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Could you be more specific? --Cybercobra (talk) 01:06, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
I refer you the Sections where you, MartinHogbin, and I (to name a few) disproved the notorious Pearl999. There's a reason I closed those Sections (we successfully disproved her), but there is also a reason that closed Sections have Archive Banners. They are supposed to appear as historical records. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 01:13, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
They're in Talk:Human/Archive_31 --Cybercobra (talk) 01:22, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
Thank you! I didn't realize Sections could be sent to separate Archive Pages without archiving the whole Talk Page and replacing it for further Discussion. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 01:44, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Main Article Image

An easy step towards decreasing the controversy surrounding the picture AND greatly increasing its educational value is to use a picture of a woman and man without clothes. An image of the musculature of the human body would allow the reader to observe and study the most basic (fundamental, evolutionarily defined, etc.) aspects of humans. To a debatable extent, clothes are cultural constructs, and while distracting cultural allusions are, in my opinion, unavoidable (such as: what is the ethnicity of these two imaginary naked humans i recently suggested?), the avoidance of cultural constructs can always be improved. Here, I propose that a change to a clothesless image would remove an avoidable cultural allusion from the most important part of this article. I contend that the person who seeks the definitive article on homo sapiens should see the human body...not human clothes.

Indented line Is this a joke? If not, you're missing the glaringly obvious point that clothes and cultural constructs are two of the many things that set humans apart from other animals. An image of musculature would be appropriate for this article, but to replace the current picture with it would be intolerably prosaic, not to mention the huge underlying assumption that musculature is the defining characteristic of humans. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:12, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

I dislike this article's main image of the two Thais. I find it would be better to place a more "modern" couple. Think of an industrial American business man and woman.. the height of human progress! These farmers are living in the past!!

Am I prejudice? Probably! ;P But as beings capable of abstract reasoning, art, math, sciences, etc.. let's put something that represents are defining characteristics at their peak.. not as serfs!

Mat Wilson (talk) 02:35, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

The image should be representative of typical humans. The current picture fits that purpose very well. Balfa (talk) 06:37, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm tempted to remove the racist rant simply to maintain the courtesy of discussion here. Whatever the merits or flaws with the current lead image, the fact the pictured subjects are Thai (rather than great and glorious "modern American business men" is not a flaw. The perfectly modern Thai farmers pictured are at least as capable of abstract reasoning, etc. as is any other modern human. Xenophobia, progressivist ideology, and cultural bias is simply ugly, and has no place on the article, nor really even here on the talk page. LotLE×talk 08:10, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Ah, let's leave it be, if only as a reminder that human folly knows no bounds. I was left scratching my head, wondering whether Thai businesspersons or American farmers would have been acceptable but the combination somehow wasn't. I also wondered at the strange reality of "modern" humans "capable of abstract reasoning" but apparently incapable of understanding that if farmers are "living in the past", we're all due to starve very soon. (Also, some of these "modern" humans seem woefully incapable of proofreading their own talk-page posts, but that's neither here nor there.) Rivertorch (talk) 15:19, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Actually.. yes, my previous comment was somewhat racist. Thailand has business people too! I just prefer the industrial style over any sort of farmers (whether they're Thais or any nationality). But that's probably because I ain't a farmer and I like industrial cities with skyscrapers and all that. Then again, Balfa said: "representative of typical humans".. and it is true, still, a large portion of the race is not industrialized and still doing traditional farming methods and not yet rich enough for more machine power due to abusive governments that stifle man's mind. I did not mean to express that Thais were inferior in anyway! And indeed, I should have proofread before I posted, like Rivertouch said. I am not racist and I agree 100% with user, "Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters" that Thais are just as fully capable and have same type of brains as Americans. By "modern", I mean anything within the past 100 years and specifically from the past 50 years on up in terms of technological progress... like machines, computers, steel building, et. al.. I also hate progressivist ideology and the new racism: multi-culturalism. Cheers! Mat Wilson (talk) 22:57, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

This article is about a species that is about 200,000 years old. During at most 150 years of that existence, humans lived in the large, industrialized cities that Mat Wilson mentions. Choosing such a narrow and unrepresentative depiction would be something like insisting the article Canis must be represented by an image of Soviet space dogs. In contrast, the current image represents (approximately) a level of technology and style of social and economic activity that humans have engaged in for at least a large part of our history (still probably only 20,000 years, but at least that is 80x as long). LotLE×talk 23:09, 24 December 2009 (UTC)
Actually, Homo sapiens diverged from its ancestor Homo rhodesiensis in about 600,000 BC. The 200,000 BC (or years ago) mark that you refer to pertains to the surviving Variety (or Subspecies) Homo sapiens sapiens, but there were other now-extinct varieties (or subspecies) of H. sapiens. This is furthermore not to be confused with the fact that the Genus Homo is over 2,000,000 years old, as it started with Homo habilis. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 20:32, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, this is very true!! I just recall (maybe it wasn't this article) of the main image being the Pioneer plaque and I really liked that because of it's simplicity and nakedness. Again, nothing more than personal preference.. I am being arrogant in this case! ;) If I don't like it though, I'm free to write my own webpage on my own server. ;) And the Pioneer plaque is great for aliens!! So.. we can end this discussion. The image is fine for Wikipedia! Mat Wilson (talk) 05:33, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

Aliens might read this, so go with that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:12, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

See response just above! ;) Mat Wilson (talk) 05:32, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

This image is proof that there are sad power hungry political correct individuals who limit this most primitive picture as the example of human progression. If anything, the photo should show one of the Moon astronauts, to show us in the greatest light. What is this bullcrap anyways? Why not just put a person in a cave as the picture so we can please the cry babies who see everything good as racist and evil. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Haselnuss (talkcontribs) 06:11, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree the current image seems very arbitrarily chosen and unrepresentative. Back to the Pioneer plaque I say. FunkMonk (talk) 02:27, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
Did you participate in the months-long discussion resulting in consensus to use the Akha image? The point of the Akha image is that it is arbitrarily chosen. Rivertorch (talk) 06:06, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
I participated in a discussion prior to that where it was agreed the Pioneer plaque was the most appropriate one. Hadn't seen the newer discussion. FunkMonk (talk) 04:26, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
Well...if you have lots of time on your hands, you might start with Talk:Human/Archive_28, then continue with Talk:Human/Archive_29 and Talk:Human/Archive_30. It's not exactly a gripping read, but I think it provides a good illustration of how opinions can shift and fresh consensus emerge over time. It worked that way for me, anyway. Rivertorch (talk) 07:47, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
Add the moon landing photo... it represents us at our highest achievement
And I've removed it as it's a picture of a spacesuit, not a human. --NeilN talk to me 04:01, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
And who do you suppose is in that suit? Alf? Ok fine, I'll get something more appealing to you ladies —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:52, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
And the current image shows mostly linen. If we're ruling out covered skin, that doesn't seem to support the present photograph. I don't have a preference, myself, I'm just pointing this out. --Saerain (talk) 09:01, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
That the moon landing constitutes humans' "highest achievement" is subjective. Even if it were not subjective, NeilN is correct: the picture is not suitable for the lead image here because it doesn't show humans (let alone typical or random humans). At its core, this article is on a species and should be analogous to other species' articles. Obviously, due to the unique characteristics of humans, the article goes way beyond that core, but it does need to start out that way. Thus, we have a lead image that is roughly comparable to the one found in other articles on species. An image of astronauts might well be appropriate further along in the article, though. If you and Haselnuss are genuinely interested in finding a new lead image in line with WP policies, including WP:Consensus, please take a look back through the last three archive pages and see how the decision to use the current lead image came about. (Incidentally, referring to fellow editors as "ladies" is usually not the most effective method for prolonging assumptions of good faith towards oneself. Your choice, but consider your apparent objective, which would require consensus to achieve.) Rivertorch (talk) 07:47, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

FWIW, I have not changed my opinion, that I've had for a couple years through dozens of discussions, that the Pioneer plaque image is an excellent choice of lead image. I still think it is a bit better than the one we currently have. However, I most emphatically do not accept any racist, or even progressivist, claptrap about the best image being one that is of a human in a more technological context, nor still less a whiter human for the sake of bigotry.

I have no need or desire to rehash the Pioneer image discussion. Two many electrons have already been killed, and the current Akha image is perfectly good in itself. Assuming a photograph of actual humans is used, it really should look a lot like the Akha image in several respects:

  • It should show humans in a typical environment, that represents our ecological lifestyle over tens of thousands of years, and as much as possible avoid features or activities that are specific to very recent times. Anything depicting technology of the last couple decades is pretty much out.
  • It should show a male and female. Optionally, it might show a child as well.
  • It could be either clothed or naked figures, but neither seems obviously preferable to me. Humans have worn clothes of some sort for many tens of thousands of years. Ideally (as is true of the Akha image), the clothing should not be too culturally or activity stylized. No style of dress is without cultural markers, but the clothing should not be a costume or uniform.
  • It should show roughly the fully body plan of humans in "natural" positions. Something representing extreme capabilities, such as an athletic achievement or a contortionist would be misleading. Standing or kneeling would give a better overview of body structure than sitting, curled up, or laying.
  • It should not have any humans who are independently recognizable or notable as individuals. This isn't an article about some particular human(s) we admire (or hate), but about the species generally.

I don't think anyone will find anything better in these terms. But if there is a suggestion, make it about these encyclopedic goals, not about bigotry and unencyclopedic purposes. LotLE×talk 09:47, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

I support the use of the current Akha image for primarily for the reasons given by Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters but I think you are being a little hard on the original poster here by accusing him of racism etc. He does not mention race in his suggestion just that we have an 'industrial American business man and woman'. In other words he is just suggesting that we have a picture representing humans from what is probably the dominant culture in the world today. This seems entirely logical to me. The problem is that we could not find a free-use image that met the requirements stated above. If Mat could find a suitable image that we could use there is no reason why it should not be given proper consideration.
I still find it hard to believe that some people want to replace the current realistic image with a poor quality line drawing. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:14, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
Now that's a real picture we have! A human at work. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Haselnuss (talkcontribs) 02:24, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
Either the Pioneer plaque (as mentioned above) or the Human_anatomy.jpg image can be used, discard the thai farmers image. This, as Thai represent only a very small portion of the human population. In addition (to have the article be a little more international), the different types of races can be shown in an image added somewhere else in the article. Btw I prefer to have the image showing people accompanied with the race names (eg Causasian, Bantu, ...) rather than "black", "white", ... Finally, we'll need to add more info about the spreading of the population (eg by means of a genographic project image) and finally, we should also mention that the races are again evoluating increasinly rapidly apart from each other. Ref= Jonathan Pritchard, John Hawks, Gregory Cochran, Robert Moyzis, Eric Wang

KVDP (talk) 09:27, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

The entire notion of races is unscientific and should not be lent credence by emphasizing "racial" differences in the article. As the draft FAQ answers quite nicely, there are other axes of difference besides race that are arguably more significant anyway. --Cybercobra (talk) 23:05, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Is it possible to get a few images showing the different cultures of the world? Or perhaps one main image that shows both males and females of different cultures. It's either got to be multi-cultural or non-cultural at all. And something to consider is that humans know what a human looks like. Probably, the most plausible non-cultural and least controversial solution would be the Pioneer plaque. llehsadam×talk 22:39 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Except that the Pioneer plaque is not a human at all but a bad quality line drawing with bits missing. All we need is an 'example' of some real humans, which we have. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:01, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Several images would reduce the size to insufficient detail and would require determining what the "different cultures" of the world are and which ones to include, which is impossible to do neutrally. There's no such thing as a non-cultural human. --Cybercobra (talk) 23:05, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Also, we can never hope to show all races and cultures in an unbiased way in one picture. All we need is a good example of humans. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:28, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

I like the setup of the image, but I would prefer one where the clothing isn't so loose so that you can see the body shape. As for the race, it doesn't really matter as long as you don't purposely choose the lightest or darkest skinned person. The race of the people in the photo is nicely middle-of-the-road. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:54, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

The current image is a rather pathetic and bureaucratic attempt at portraying modern humanity, who reside more in cities on average than in rural areas. I think the World War 2 page had a nice compromise with their collage of images, and anything would be better than this ludicrous representation of human-kind. When I first saw the image I wasn't sure if I accidentally wandered onto a National Geographic spread on the Third World. I don't mean it to be crass, but the subjects of the photo don't seem to even know, nor care about the picture, or the fact that they are now being used to describe a race of billions of individuals on the worlds most popular encyclopedia.

Let's face it: the only reason this picture is here is because nobody wants to be deal with the inevitable charge of racism for using a much more suitable photo of a white or European person. The virgin cultural sensibilities of the Wiki'ing community apparently were too much even for a depiction of white people laser-engraved onto aluminum plaques.

It really has nothing to do with skin-color or ethnic background at all; modern humanity is not rural in any sense of the word, and agriculture while still essential, is not near as close to the forefront of human enterprise as business is.

I think we should commission a community effort to create a suitable image from scratch using multiple subject of differing ethnicities. This image just doesn't cut it at all. F33bs (talk) 01:32, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

Correction: the current image makes no "attempt at portraying modern humanity"; it simply depicts two humans. And they're just as human as any city-dwelling "white or European person". I smell socks. Rivertorch (talk) 07:56, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
What about socks? I didn't say they weren't human, nor did I say they were any less human for being rural. I said it's not a suitable image to describe humanity in its present condition, which is the point of an encyclopedia. I think a collage would be best, including nice images of humans of different cultures. (talk) 22:15, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Actually, that collage idea is worth its salt. If you can put one together in PhotoShop or something and then post it to this Talk Page first, then by all means do that, and you'll probably get to copy it from here to the Article. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:02, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Is it even NECESSARY to have an image there, we do know what humans look like... Black Cat Claws (talk) 18:08, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

The picture is still generating flak I see. David D. (Talk) 06:57, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

If you have to choose a race, I'd choose either East Asian (because they are the most common) or West African (because they were first). My first choice is a collage, like they do in the article about mammals. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:11, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

The Species of the human is not H. sapien, that is the scientific name. The human species is sapien, this page is incorrect and should be fixed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Omegtar (talkcontribs) 05:09, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

The lead image is poor in its representation of humans for one big reason, it is sexist, placing the male ahead of the female. This worldview is not supported by archeological research and is only of more modern origin. It does a disservice to the millions of women who still fight to get the place they belong to back to them. Please SERIOUSLY consider replacing this image. One more thing if you are at it. Many years ago I saw a great picture in the National Geographic magazine, in the center was a portrait of a Kalahari bushman and around him diverging from his face in concentric circles like a flower (different skin tones) were people of different origin, asians, caucasian, native americans, eskimo, etc. It is amazing to see this image as it is in an instant clear how all the other diverge from this bushman's facial features. Given that the lead image is generating some flack as to why this or that race on the image, why not consider a shot of a couple from Kalahari. It may just work with everyone its own magic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:21, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

What do you mean by ahead? They appear to be basically right next to each other. He is slightly closer to the camera than she is, but only slightly so. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 20:37, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

I was not impressed with the article's all-too-common yet inane stance that human beings are the only ones who are sentient. It's really ridiculous for our literature to continue with that belief. People come in [all species][2] of organism. They communicate (have language), have emotions and relationships with each other and with the rest of Nature, and can feel things this article asserts only humans are capable of, like happiness and humor. It just misses the point entirely to start picking apart this vital awareness with arguments about the [lack of a brain organ in an amoeba][3] or whatever. The fact is, [all species are people][4] of a different kind than than the human species. The sooner humanity recognizes this [obvious][5] fact of life on Earth, the sooner we can get on with [our evolution as a species][6] and cooperate with the other honorable denizens with whom we share our biosphere to reach new heights in all areas of [expression and understanding][7]. wakeupkid 06:35, 7 April 2010 (UTC)JMF, Portland, Oregon —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jadenef (talkcontribs)

Do you really think bacteria could remotely be considered people? (You said all species.) You are right that humans are not entirely alone, as their are exactly 2 genera with the neurological capability to understand syntax (true language): humans and bottle-nose dolphins (Homo and Tursiops, respectively). The Genus Homo has just 1 surviving species, Homo sapiens, ever since the extinction of Homo floresiensis in 12,000 BC. The Genus Tursiops has 2 surviving species as far as I could find, Tursiops truncatus and Tursiops aduncus. Although their lack of hands has thus far prevented them from becoming civilized, we should give them credit for their neurological capability, but only them among non-humanoids on Earth.
I learned this about the neurological capability of bottle-noses in Biology 329 Tropical Marine.
In any case, Jadenef, you really should consider before writing that this and other species Articles are about biology, an honest-to-God natural science, not idealistic/emotional/whatever-word-I-should-use-here material about equality across taxa. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 21:07, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Why is it that so many people have a political axe to grind here? So many people (who I presume to be right-winged) accuse the article of being liberally biased because the picture depicts rural Thai humans instead of industrialized Americans. Then a more recent comment that objects to placing the female of the picture slightly behind the male of the picture? We don't need a politically correct picture that represents humanity at its height. The article is on modern humans as a species, and modern humans have existed long before America, Thailand, gender equality, and even the concept of race. We just need a picture of two "typical" and "random" humans, eg. no one famous or pathologically unusual. --Armaetin (talk) 20:19, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Exactly. We just need an image of typical humans, which is exactly what we have. Martin Hogbin (talk) 21:37, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
And to Jadenef, who notes that other nonhuman animals might be sentient. Maybe they are sentient, but we don't have scientific evidence for it. Until some solid research verifying animal consciousness or self-awareness is completed, it should not be claimed that other animals are sentient. --Armaetin (talk) 20:23, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Pictures of life cycle


I find it odd that the images depicting different stages of the human life-cycle is made up of different human races. For the ignorant observer, it may appear that human girls are black when born and then slowly pales as they come of age, and end up white when they reach old age. Something similar is the case with the male pictures. I realize it's to show human diversity - but might that not be acieved by displaying images-series of several colors rather than mixing them? We wouldn't display an image of a black leopard in a lifecycle of leopards, as it would obfuscate the facts.--Nwinther (talk) 15:03, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Unless we used pictures of the exact same individual over the course of a lifetime, it would still confuse this hypothetical incredibly-ignorant observer, who might imagine that girls with big noses can age into women with small noses, for example... -- Quiddity (talk) 19:18, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree. It's unnecessary and impractical to show the same person aging over an entire lifetime. People don't really view the pictures as a progression anyway, but rather as seperate snapshot examples of a human at a given stage of life. Obhave (talk) 12:58, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
I think Nwinther has a point, we do have to write this article for the hypothetical ignorant reader to some degree. Might the issue not be most easily resolved by the addition of a suitable caption to the gallery, for example, 'A selection of different humans at various stages of the human life cycle'. I would add this myself but I do not know how to add a caption to a gallery. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:34, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
I also agree with Nwinther, the point of that section is to emphasize the differences due to age, and right now the differences due to race are being emphasized just as much. It would be ideal to show one person throughout their life, but as a back-up, can we get photos of three generations from the same family (and the same race)? Someone go take a photo of you, your dad, and your son. —Arctic Gnome (talkcontribs) 21:01, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Quiddity and Obhave, and disagree with Nwinther. Snapshot examples of different persons at a given stage of life is much better than chosing one person and showing the different stages. Which race would you chose? And I think that nobody who has the mental capacity to read this article would think that black girls slowly pale when they come of age. Lova Falk talk 10:17, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Surely just adding a simple caption will make it all perfectly clear, even to those who have never seen a human before. If the problem is that easily solved it is better to just solve it than argue about it. Does anyone know how to add a caption to a gallery? Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:47, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
I tried but failed... Lova Falk talk 15:56, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Help is at Help:Images_and_other_uploaded_files#Gallery. (I just searched for "Gallery" and followed the hatnotes.. ;) I've added the caption text that Martin suggested. Please improve it from there. -- Quiddity (talk) 18:33, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Great job! Lova Falk talk 19:42, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Reproduction - Fertility

I think there should be something on this topic a.o. so that people looking for info on the subject on e.g. fertility cycle / birth control / std's can find the articles on these subjects. —Preceding unsigned comment added by SvenAERTS (talkcontribs)

There are already separate Articles on both Pregnancy and Sexuality. Besides, Wikipedia does not give medical advice. Also, those matters are not exclusively human. They do apply to other dioecious animals. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 21:28, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Theory being passed off as fact?

This particular matter has been resolved.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

this bit-They displaced Homo neanderthalensis and other species descended from Homo erectus (which had inhabited Eurasia as early as 2 million years ago) through more successful reproduction and competition for resources.[30]

which uses an article in a newspaper as it source, is wrong isn't it?

I thought the more successful reproduction and resource competition idea was just a theory. Doktordoris (talk) 21:25, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Quite correct, I have altered text to match the type of source.. it now reads;
  • A popular theory is that they displaced Homo neanderthalensis and other species descended from Homo erectus (which had inhabited Eurasia as early as 2 million years ago) through more successful reproduction and competition for resources.[1] The exact manner or extent of the coexistence and interaction of these species is unknown and remains a controversial subject.[citation needed]
I suspect there will be some scientific papers in pipeline following the discovery of neanderthal dna which will give us a clearer picture and references in due course. Lee∴V (talkcontribs) 12:10, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

"Human Beings are not Omnviores" argument

There is argument that human beings are not omnivores due to research which shows human beings have very herbivore-like characteristics.

While I am not of this opinion for reasons I will mention, I think we ought to have a sentence or two elaboration, perhaps another source on why human beings are omnivores, not herbivores or frugivores. The arguments I've encountered attempt to use the cow as an example. Because the cow is classified as an herbivore and happens to consume bone and blood meal, they are like us (the argument says) in that they are merely herbivores getting by on eating animal product.

My counterpoints have to do with the fact cows are domesticated animals practically forced to eat bone/bloodmeal which is often masked by plant-based molasses anyway. In addition, Human brain evolution correlates with flesh intake, and human beings are still unable to break down cellulose. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ajkochanowicz (talkcontribs) 05:58, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

You may be interested in reading the two gigantic archived threads down at the bottom of Talk:Human/Archive_31#Humans_are_herbivores. Soap 18:21, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

First sentence

This intrigues me. It seems that the standard first sentence for articles about species begins as follows:

  • The Species is a...

Even the articles about some of our closest relatives, the Neanderthals, begin this way. Why, then, does the article about humans began differently? —ems24 16:13, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

"Humans are a species of animal known taxonomically as Homo sapiens (Latin: "wise man" or "knowing man"),[3][4] and are the only extant member of the Homo genus of bipedal primates in Hominidae, the great ape family. However, in some cases "human" is used to refer to any member of the genus Homo" (Italics added). This beginning is very much to the effect of saying "The Species is" as you refer to, as far as I can see, so what exactly is your point? The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:05, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
I guess the reason is that, in English, "The human is a species" sounds funny. Ucucha 07:33, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

Move to human (species) or homo sapiens

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

No consensus to move. Vegaswikian (talk) 22:50, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

HumanHuman (species) or Homo sapiens — This article takes a specialistic (not generalistic) approach toward defining human beings. But given that humankind and human being redirect here, I think it important to separate the scientific concept of "homo sapiens" from the actual concept of "human" and "human being."

For example even in colloquial language, a "human being" is not "an animal." And yet in scientific classification, genus homo is a sub class of the primates. Both are true: The homo sapien body is of animal basis, and yet a human being is not an "animal." This points to a schism between how science sees people and how actual people see people. I think this rift is best dealt with via a separation between the scientific and the human conceptualizations. -Stevertigo (w | t | e) 18:40, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

  • Keep as 'human'. The article deals with all aspects of humans. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:55, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Interesting. Please describe the other article (humanistic, non-scientific) approach more. I can't see it. something like people, a legal concept? Chrisrus (talk) 19:07, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
People is a general term for humans but its not the proper way to disambiguate the meaning of human species from human being. Note that article largely points to person. And note that "personhood" is not just a legal concept - its a human concept. The point is this - that this article either follow a generalistic path - one in which the scientific detail is put in its place relative to other human detail (ie. one in which humans are not regarded as an animal species) or it follows the specialistic path, namely that it represents the colloquial meaning of "human" and the scientific detail is migrated off to 'genus homo species sapeins.' I think what happened here is that people wanted an integrated article, but the scientific conceptualizations started asserting themselves over the more general concept. -Stevertigo (w | t | e) 19:28, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, humans, people, are animals, of course, so we wouldn't want wikipedia to imply that we're not. Then there is the concept of person which might include theoretical non-humans, which is dealt with in people, so what would the "colloqual" or "generalistic" article contain/look like/be? Describe it's nature and scope, give an example. I tend to agree with Martin, but I want to hear you out. Also, I was thinking about proposing a merger of this article with people, so what do you think about that idea? Martin? Chrisrus (talk) 19:40, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose Move Nom seems to be confusing humanity and personhood. If anything, it sounds like the problem is that human being might need to be redirected elsewhere. --Cybercobra (talk) 22:37, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I don't understand the dichotomy. Humans are animals; when people make a distinction between humans and non-human animals, it is a distinction of personhood, for which we already have an article. Powers T 00:12, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - if you want to explain this "dichotomy", there is plenty of scope to do so in the article text. There is no need to move the article to explain this point. Knepflerle (talk) 10:54, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose, there's no clear proposal, but it might be good to add a third hatnote for those looking for/better served by the article person. Chrisrus (talk) 12:43, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As Chrisrus says, there's no clear proposal here. If the nominator feels that the present article doesn't serve its topic well, the nominator should improve the article. Otherwise, moving it won't produce any improvement. Gavia immer (talk) 21:24, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Ive been away and haven't had time to check up on this. I think the consensus decision is wrong here, based on a largely classifying point of view, and am going to pose the question in a broader forum. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 17:27, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Would you also support moving the horse article to Equus caballus? Soap 00:18, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Section 4.2 Physiology needs improvement

The paragraph here is an explanation about the field of human physiology. As this article is about humans themselves and not merely the study of them, this section should go into the physiology of a human being than explain what physiology is. (talk) 13:19, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Human Photo

I do not like the fact that humans are the only species on wikipedia whose bodies are covered with clothing. It is not an article on 'clothing', it is an article on homo sapiens. Please change the photo to represent our current species, not cultural attire.

But it isn't possible to observe a human not wearing clothing. Your request is impossible. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:41, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

At the risk of answering a very silly request: As humans learned to make and wear clothing entirely on their own, I see this behavioural trait as inherent to the species. While you may argue that the specific clothing shown is nonrepresentative--and in this you would not be incorrect--it is not possible to find a human whose clothing is representative of the whole species. Further, I preemptively refute that a nude human would in any way be a more neutral subject, as nude humans are by far the more atypical and rarely observed. NotARusski (talk) 03:02, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Yup. Humans are commonly observed to be wearing clothing, just as surely as flamingos are commonly observed to be tinted pink and hermit crabs are commonly observed to wear a scavenged shell (which is arguably "clothing", by the way). You can argue that none of these represents the "natural state", but it is how they are actually found in nature. Gavia immer (talk) 03:13, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
It's dependent on the purpose of the image, though—if it is to represent what humans usually look like, then certainly we need a picture of clothed humans, but if it is to show what human anatomy is like, a nude picture would be better. Ucucha 03:17, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
Oh, yes, don't get me wrong - I wish that we had a photograph of a nude couple in this article to complement the current clothed couple and anatomical diagram, though I'm also mindful that this might overrepresent nudity in the article. However, the infobox image ought to be as near as possible to a representation of typical, rather than exceptional, humans, and that means depicting clothed humans, since clothing is typical. Gavia immer (talk) 03:26, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

On the matter of human being and person

RFC: Can this article be split along lines of scientific classification and humanistic focus?

This began as a move proposal for the article - to clarify and differentiate scientific classifications of "human" and to separate in distinct articles according to the basic human species and human being distinction. Without this distinction, this article tends to talk less about beings as it does species. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 17:37, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Prior rationale

This article takes a specialistic (not generalistic) approach toward defining human beings. But given that humankind and human being redirect here, I think it important to separate the scientific concept of "homo sapiens" from the actual concept of "human" and "human being."

For example even in colloquial language, a "human being" is not "an animal." And yet in scientific classification, genus homo is a sub class of the primates. Both are true: The homo sapien body is of animal basis, and yet a human being is not an "animal." This points to a schism between how science sees people and how actual people see people. I think this rift is best dealt with via a separation between the scientific and the human conceptualizations.

I think the reason your previous proposal failed is that people did not agree with the distinction you draw. The move request was soundly rejected; I don't see the point in rehashing the point in an RFC. Ucucha 17:46, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
I also do not see the distinction that you draw. Could you please explain what is missing from this article. We already have a section on sprituality and religion. What is it you want to see? Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:53, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
It looks to me like an excellent article that tries to do a little too much. Both the scientific overview and the humanistic overviews are extremely well done. I think however that, like with any large article, its impossible to forsee how a large article will develop if its split in accord with logical distinctions. Both the scientific examination and the humanistic overview can benefit from a split. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 18:05, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
PS: Note that it looks like we can generalize this article's lede quite a bit, to remove it from the clutches of an exclusively classifying classification, and deal with the actual essence of the human being concept. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 19:02, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
What do you mean by, 'the actual essence of the human being concept'? What reliable sources describe this? Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:51, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
Seconded. What exactly is the "humanistic overview" you suggest? How is it not sufficiently covered by the existing material in this article and Person? --Cybercobra (talk) 02:11, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
The overview should be just about three paragraphs perhaps. Just enough to give a general introduction before going straight into SPOV. The issue with the current layout is that WP:SPOV is not NPOV. Starting out with a purely scientific view of the human organism comes at the cost of a neutral overview of the actual human being. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 04:21, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I fail to understand your logic in making the drastic leap from "the article could be improved" to "it needs to be split". --Cybercobra (talk) 04:25, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Actually the leap was the other way around. I saw the article as being dominated by a SPOV, such that I proposed "homo sapiens" to be a better fit, leaving "human" to be an overview and "human being" to deal with the subjective human aspects. I think it will develop along those lines, but I just a while ago came to look at it from the eventualist view, in addition to the generalist view. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 06:05, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Steve, you still have not explained exactly what you mean by the 'subjective aspects', the 'actual essence of the human being concept', and 'neutral overview of the actual human being.'. Please can you explain exactly what you mean. Can you give some exaple of text you would like to see. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:36, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Ive written a new lede along the lines with what I believe was needed. Comment freely. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 20:29, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
It would have been better if had have made clear and discussed your proposals here first. Martin Hogbin (talk) 21:47, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
"Better" is a qualitative description. How, in your own opinion, would it have been "better?" -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 22:11, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Probably less revert-thrashing. --Cybercobra (talk) 04:49, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
Neither of the two encyclopedias I have to hand make this distinction. The Philip's Essential Encyclopedia ISBN 0540073849 has an entry on "human" which describes humans in terms of being a mammal similar to apes, but with better language skills; and goes on to have separate entries on "human body", "human evolution" and "human rights". While the Hutchinson Paperback Encyclopedia ISBN 0099782006 has entries on "human body", "human-computer interaction", "human rights" and "human species, origins of". --h2g2bob (talk) 22:14, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Neither of those encyclopedias are mentioned in Wikipedia. I don't know what to tell you. I might have old some Funk and Wagnalls kicking around here if you want 'em. 'The distinction' is something we should talk about though and I'm glad to hear any insights you have. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 22:41, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
My two cents.
I see no reason for a new article on "human beings" that does not mention that "human being" is normally understood to mean "a member of the human species". The vast majority of English speaking people would agree that this is the normal interpretation of these words. Wikipedia must accurately capture the meaning of the terms it defines, and this requires us to use words exactly as they are normally used. A "human being" is a member of the "human species". Anything else is original research.
Other ways to address this issue which make more sense:
  1. If there is a philosopher or a field that uses the term differently, there could be an article like "Human being (theology)" or "Koestler's definition of humanity". (I'm not aware of any, but just suppose.) For such an article to be notable, it would require that Stevertigo find adequate sources to prove that the term is used differently by some community or thinker. If the sources exist, the article is notable, and its existence would be justified.
  2. This article could contain a section outlining the history of the definition of "human." It would discuss the traditional chain of being trichotomy between animal/human/divine, as well the people (such as E. F. Schumacher) who argue that this definition is still useful.
  3. The article on animal may mention that the term "animal" is often used to refer to non-human animals.
  4. This article could contain a section summarizing humanism (with adequate sources, of course).(Although this a bit off Stevertigo's topic; "humanism" is mostly about the human/divine dichotomy, not the animal/human dichotomy.)
In summary, it is, as usual, all about the sources. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 06:03, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
Steve asked me to comment here, to give a "philosophical perspective" (I am a philosopher), but like many of the people above, I'm having trouble understanding what the supposed controversy is. What is the difference between "a human being" and "a member of the human species"? Are there any members of the human species which are not human beings, or any human beings which are not members of the human species? (Or more to the point, could there be, whether or not there in fact are? Would a non-homo-sapiens human being, or a non-human homo sapiens, be a sensible thing to conceive of?)
I'm sensing something here about Steve wanting the article not to discriminate against the view that humans are more than "just animals"; and along those same lines, something about the question of whether the term "animals" implies a lack of characteristics traditionally considered human (e.g. souls), and thus whether calling humans "animals" denies those characteristics of humans.
Perhaps Steve is gesturing toward the distinction between "human" and "person"? While in day-to-day life pretty much all persons we encounter are humans and in modern times at least we like to say all humans are persons, the two concepts come apart easily. It's not hard to imagine non-human persons: if any other terrestrial species are sapient, e.g. great apes or dolphins; if there are sapient extraterrestrials; if we ever develop sapient artificial intelligences; etc; we'd call those things "persons" even though they are clearly not humans. And there is certainly a long history of different groups considering other humans to be literally non-persons, and even today it's philosophically debatable whether every homo sapiens is a person (e.g. fetuses, the severely mentally handicapped or brain-damaged, comatose, etc).
However I don't think the way that Steve is saying this in his edits is really the right way to go about maintaining neutrality on these issues, and I certainly don't think this warrants a fork. I think Charles' suggestions above are all very good. Certainly the most uncontroversial aspect of the definition of what is a human is one's membership in the species homo sapiens, so I think that should still be the opening part of the lede. I'm pretty happy with the current state of the article as of this writing, but if Steve's not, perhaps include something at the end of the first paragraph of the current lede about the relation between the sets "humans" and "people"? I'm not sure what exactly to say there that is more succinct than my entire previous paragraph. --Pfhorrest (talk) 08:57, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
Phforrest, I typed out a reply to Stevertigo yesterday that was much longer than the above and deleted it because I couldn't quite get to your point well enough. Apparently philosophy really is good for something :p In any case, I think it's perfectly fine and even desirable for this article to positively distinguish the statements "Humans are like other animals" (true) and "Humans are just like other animals" (false). If that's what Stevertigo is after, then I'm all for it, though of course the mere existence of the "Culture" section of the article goes most of the way on this already. However, there needs to be clear communication about this, and Stevertigo needs to realize that if he can't quite communicate his ideas on the talk page, he may not be the best person to bring them into the article. I'd appreciate if Stevertigo would let us know if we're on the right track here. Gavia immer (talk) 12:21, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Thank you all for responding. Please see #Update -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 01:26, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Undue Weight

Steve's recent changes seem to give undue weight to speculative, non-evidence based theories of the nature of humans. Chrisrus (talk) 20:40, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

(cutting in) Calling certain theories "non-evidenced based" is promoting of a point of view - one that labels all non-science as something which can be dispensed with. In fact calling them "theories" is a gross misconceptualization. WP:SPOV is not NPOV, and the "human" article belongs to all things human - not just those things which belong to taxonomy. The name "human" refers to more than a taxonomical concept or to things that can be discovered with a scalpel. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 21:43, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
I have no comment right now about the changes but wish to point out that you have a misunderstanding og wikipedia policy, please reread [8] so that you understand what "undue weight" means. Limiting the view point to only "evidence based theories" is a violation of undue weight. Hardyplants (talk) 20:58, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
This link explains that we should invoke "undue weight" when an article does such things as give equal time to the flat earth theory. This is a very good description of my opinion on this matter. I take it you disagree, but if so, you disagree with my accessment of traditional theories of the nature of human beings, not with my understanding of the concept of undue weight. We'll see how others feel. Is this a case of "giving equal time to flat earth theories"? Chrisrus (talk) 21:06, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Not even close, the topic of this article is humans and there are also cultural and psychological understandings that also should be included so that the topic is covered in a through way. Hardyplants (talk) 21:26, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
I think this change is the one under discussion. I am concerned by this edit, especially that "the human being is transcendent of all animalia", which implies (to me) a strong distinction between humans and animals. I think this distinction is wrong, or at least over-stated: animals use tools and self aware.
Those cited are (generally) philosophers; those actually studying animals would probably be better placed to judge their relative intelligence and language skills.
Also, there's a citation for wikianswers, which is inappropriate. --h2g2bob (talk) 21:46, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Does that one single citation negate the whole combined edit? The web citation attributes its information to EO Wilson. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 21:48, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
It doesn't negate the whole list, but it is the only reference applying to "human beings are the highest [order] among known living organism". A direct reference is more appropriate than a posting on a website. In any case the reference doesn't actually mention high or low order, but mentions intelligence. So you should say "humans are the most intelligent animal" (which is much less controversial) and cite Edward O. Wilson directly.
My general point is that making a strong distinction is a controversial and the introduction is one-sided towards there being a strong disctinction. --h2g2bob (talk) 22:02, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────h2g2bob writes: "It doesn't negate the whole list" - Its not a list. Its an edit. Better put, its a series of edits that make up one whole large scale change. In fact its explanatory writing that deals with the subject, namely the concept "human" denoted by the word "human." h2g2bob writes: "I am concerned by this edit, especially that "the human being is transcendent of all animalia", which implies (to me) a strong distinction between humans and animals. I think this distinction is wrong, or at least over-stated: animals use tools and self aware." - Do animals have language? Linguists say no. Do animals have rational thought? Philosophers and cognitive scientists point to interesting little examples. So how then does a little "tool use" compare in the least to what human beings can do? The difference is 'transcendental.' Note also that what you are arguing for is not science. Good science gathers data and presents it. It doesn't presume to disprove or negate non-science. Bad science is presenting quantitative data and melding it with a qualitative opinion, and presenting that qualitative opinion as if it were as factual as quantitative data. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 22:06, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

h2g2bob writes: "My general point is that making a strong distinction is a controversial and the introduction is one-sided towards there being a strong disctinction." - The distinction, here on Wikipedia between philosophers and scientists anyway, is severe. I was thinking of even writing an article: the human is an animal, the human is not an animal. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 22:20, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Crisrus writes: "Is this a case of "giving equal time to flat earth theories?" - Do you consider yourself someone who regards truth and knowledge? Do you consider information to be relevant to knowledge? How then do you seriously propose this point without taking into account what the article actually says and compare that to what you propose. The article says 'most people' believe in some kind of creator or 'transcendent reality.' What do the facts say about how many people believe in a flat Earth? Is that number comparable to the number "most?" In fact "most" is a bit of an understatement when it comes to religious belief. It should be "all but a few percent." Is the number of flat-Earth theorists comparable to "all but a few percent?" -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 22:29, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

You are right, the analogy is limited because almost no one believes in flat earth theories and lots of people believe in Adam and Eve and such. Still, when we say "... evidence indicates that modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago. However, religious explanations commonly credit human origins and human capacity to a creator being, who it is believed endowed humans with a spiritual nature that transcends scientific understanding" we are giving first the truth of the matter based on evidence, and then a mythological explanation not based on evidence, I still maintain that this is a case of giving undue weight to a theory, not because one is very rare, but because, although popular, is not based on cold hard evidence and reason.Chrisrus (talk) 15:25, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
My concern with "transcendent" stems from it being a loaded term. I do accept that humans have much stronger language skills than any other animal, and is more intelligent than other animals. But instead of giving this as part of an overview on humans – as the previous lead section did – the new lead appears to try and make a case that humans are strongly distinct from animals.
In fact the previous lead section did say that "humans have a highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem solving," and this would be trivial to update with a single sentence stating that humans are the most intelligent species and have great language skills. Although it appears to cover the language skills already: "humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization."
Aside from adding a dubious distinction between human species and human being, what does the new lead section add? Is it worth taking away the population figures, impact on the environment and other useful information? --h2g2bob (talk) 22:48, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
I absolutely concur. Also, the division is entirely unnecessary; ledes can be up to 5 paragraphs, there's no reason both perspectives can't be covered. I also concur that the new lede does not put due weight on scientific explanations of human origins. --Cybercobra (talk) 23:07, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
I appreciate your opinion. I don't see how "transcendent of animalia" should be seen as a loaded term. I will, per Chrisrus' request, link to transcendence (philosophy) to clarify. That should be enough to clear up any mystical accusations of mysticism. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 23:07, 30 August 2010 (UTC)


I just added a link to the word "transcendent" to see where it went. It goes to a disambiguation page with a zillion referents. Could someone please link it up to the intended one, or else use a word that isn't so extremely vague? Chrisrus (talk) 22:34, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Will do, but note, until last week when I integrated them, Transcendence, transcendent, and transcendental each had their own disambiguation pages. :-P -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 22:46, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Today's changes

Originally titled: "Any reason to keep recent edits?"

The established lead was a little pompous in places ("the only extant species..."), but the recent changes are a leap in the wrong direction (particularly the dubious and irrelevant sociological observations about "all but a few percent of people..."). Does anyone other than Stevertigo support these changes? I recommend reverting to the version at 12:47, 27 August 2010. On procedure, I do not see a consensus above for the kinds of changes made, so the edit summary "do not revert my 'major undiscussed changes' unless you have explained why on talk" is misguided. Per WP:BRD consensus is required after the reversion of a major change to an established article. Johnuniq (talk) 23:05, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

I have reverted these changes; they were based on a false dichotomy and included some irrelevant material. Ucucha 23:07, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
I dislike the tone of your comment/thread very much. My passage is well written and sourced in twelve places and you are talking about it as if it were vandalism. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 23:09, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Not really "well-sourced"—the source cited for the "two meanings" of the term "human" ( doesn't even support that assertion. Why you would need to source the piece about creationism to medieval philosophers (or Aristotle? It isn't quite clear) is also beyond me. The existent lead already does what your lead purports to do—it lists what makes humans unique among animals. Perhaps there are a few items that need to be added, perhaps there are also some that need to go (didn't Neandertals also use fires, clothing, and perhaps language?). Ucucha 23:16, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Ucucha, it is a violation of principle to simply stop in to an article to revert it. But now that youre here, thanks for commenting.. so insightful.. so intelligent. Thanks. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 23:20, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Johnuniq, instead of just condemning my work, can you explain in some minimal detail what is wrong with what I wrote? -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 23:33, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Not Johnuniq obviously, but your lede was rather on the short side and removed much scientific detail; as I said before, there is enough free space in the lede to permit covering both perspectives without unnecessary division into WP:POVFORK-ish "scientific" and "humanistic" sections. Also, wholesale replacing the lede probably seemed as annoying as I would guess you felt the reverts were. I have attempted in my merge to integrate the information from your lede into the prior lede whilst avoiding duplication between the two. --Cybercobra (talk) 23:55, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
I think your changes were generally an improvement, although there are some problems (like the current ref. 6, which uses rather questionable sources and doesn't seem to support the text it is purported to support). Ucucha 23:58, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Why not just edit out the problem bits then, Ucha? Why the adversarial approach on the one hand, and the discussion approach on the other? -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 00:06, 31 August 2010 (UTC)


I appreciate Cybercobra's attempt at a merge and would like to know what people think of it. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 01:13, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Obviously this article is going to be a nightmare to write from a NPOV, but I am not convinced by the lead as it stands right now. Here are some of my issues...
  • 'humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization' - this could easily be applied to any species with regard to communication within its own species, we could expand a little e.g. 'largest known vocabulary'
  • 'This natural curiosity has led to the development of advanced tools and skills, which are passed down culturally.' Once again many specie ( or a few individuals of a species) are naturally curious, and use of tools / methoods are taught or passed on through generations.
  • 'humans are the only species known to build fires, cook their food, clothe themselves, and use numerous other technologies'. I'm sure I've seen examples of rudimentary clothing in animals -e.g. palm leaf as a rain hat and am not convinced there aren't other examples of limited use of these 'technologies'. Also, if you consider other 'homo' species as separate then they developed some of these skills .... need to clarify which version of 'human' we are using. 'numerous other technologies' is a bit vague needs expanding or clarifying further.
  • And now the trickiest bit 'Unlike any other known animal, humans possess higher forms of self-awareness, rationality, sapience,[8][9][10] and intellect;'These are all highly subjective and I'm sure each has its own massive dscussion. A 'higher form' doesn't mean much, it could be read as 'a different form' or 'a more advanced level' as there are examples of certain aspects of these cognitiveabilities we need to at least put them in context.
  • previous sentence leads on to 'it is because of these unique qualities that a human being is considered a person' Really? Which qualities and who says so? Take all the conversations on various subjects above and multiply by a large number to get near the level of debate on what makes a 'person'
LIke I say some of these issues are tricky and some will not be fully solved for eons, but we can but ry - that's my favourite human quality ;) Lee∴V (talkcontribs) 12:44, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
For ease of auditing, here's a good diff of the merge. (Note: "extant" → "living" change wasn't mine). --Cybercobra (talk) 17:40, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Lee wrote: "humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression" - This could be said more plainly: Humans have language. Animals don't, or what animals have just isn't called "language" in the "natural language" sense. The point "this could easily be applied to any species with regard to communication within its own species" - is valid though. Note, the highest apes can only use one or two "words" in a signed sentence - the issue is not just of larger vocabulary.
  • Lee wrote: "Once again many specie[s] [..] are naturally curious" - Excellent point. But the most interesting thing about the passage is not human "curiosity," but the forces which compel people to master their environment (ie. natural pressures), and the way we go about it (sapience, rationality).
  • The article says: "humans are the only species known to build fires, cook their food, clothe themselves, and use numerous other technologies" - Lee wrote: "I'm sure I've seen examples of rudimentary clothing in animals -e.g. palm leaf as a rain hat and am not convinced there aren't other examples of limited use of these 'technologies' [..] numerous other technologies' is a bit vague" - Good point again, but what the passage is really trying to say is that "[only] humans have developed technology," period.
  • Lee writes: "self-awareness, rationality, sapience, and intellect" "are all highly subjective and I'm sure each has its own massive dscussion. A 'higher form' doesn't mean much, it could be read as 'a different form' or 'a more advanced level' as there are examples of certain aspects of these cognitive abilities we need to at least put them in context." - We use the terms "higher" and "lower" quite often, just to make a qualitative distinction. In reality the highest ape can achieve a level of [awareness, rationality, sapience] which is nothing of what humans can, and thus there isn't even a comparison. Hence making the comparison seems strange, but that's the problem with starting with the premise that the human is an animal: comparisons mount up and the differences are transcendental.
  • Lee wrote about the passage 'it is because of these unique qualities that a human being is considered a person' "Really? Which qualities and who says so? Take all the conversations on various subjects above and multiply by a large number to get near the level of debate on what makes a 'person'" - This is a very good point in that the term "person" means a lot more than just a list of qualities. But keep good faith in mind - here Cybercobra is trying his best to mention the word "person" - he believes (like I) that "person" belongs somewhere into the article lede for "human" The attempt alone should be applauded, given the excessive weight given to a purely taxonomical view of.. people. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 00:53, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Please avoid jumping to conclusions regarding my thought process during the merge. I did not add the person mention solely on my own initiative and am, like Lee, also unsure whether the current sentence is the best way to incorporate it; that information/mention was merely in your lede and didn't duplicate anything in the prior lede, so it was included in the merged version. I do agree that mentioning personhood in the lede is sensible though. --Cybercobra (talk) 01:23, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
So we agree that "person" has some primary relevance to "human," or at least we agree that the connection is "sensible." Do others here - particularly those adept with the revert button - agree that its "sensible?" -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 04:09, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

The wrong way

Originally titled "You are going about this the wrong way."

Put the lead back as it was for the moment. We should then add a section addressing any missing issues, if there are any, to the body of the article. Once we have agreement, the section should be summarised in a sentence or two in the lead. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:06, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

I could go along with that, but you are presenting an assumption that "as it was" was somehow better than it is. Why not simply address each point line by line - say what belongs, what doesn't, and what needs to be added. Note also that adding a new second tier talk section as a shout notice is not going about things the right way. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 00:31, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't think Martin is making any assumptions about the quality of any version of the article. His is (as I read it) a procedural comment: per WP:BRD, the way we're supposed to do things where there is contention about an edit is to go back to the last "stable" version (e.g. the last version that had consensus, before the contentious edit), and then discuss it here until there is a new consensus, and then implement the consensual changes. That's what "bold-revert-discuss" stands for: someone is bold in making a change (like you were, which is good, as per WP:BOLD), but then if others disagree, we revert to the version before the change, and then discuss it until we come to a new consensus. Otherwise we would end up in revert wars while discussing it, with each side trying to set the article to the "correct" version after each volley of argument here, then the other side "correcting" it back along with their reply, and so on.
That said, I think the rest of Martin's comment about working on the body of the article and then summarizing that in the lede is a bit irrelevant, because (if I understand the situation correctly) you, Steve, don't have any contentions about the body of the article, which discusses more "humanistic" elements of humanity at length; but merely with the frank way in which the lede defined humans in purely biological terms. So the entire discussion is about the lede not summarizing all the non-biological topics in the rest of the article (language, technology, religion, etc) adequately enough. Is my understanding correct? --Pfhorrest (talk) 02:27, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
OK, but note that Cybercobra chose to do something different - he chose to try and implement a merge - a task which is entirely antithetical to the BRD cycle as you describe it, but which was entirely more productive than Ucucha's which was to revert without comment or justification other than 'defending the integrity of the project'. Certain people simply counter B with R and disregard the D. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 04:06, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Can we agree to put the lead back as it was while we discuss the issues here?
If the only problem is that the lead does not adequately summarise the main body of the article, that should be a fairly simple problem to solve. My point was that new concepts or principles that are not included in the body should not be added to the lead. Summarising what we already have should be relatively non-contentious.
Steve, are you happy with the content of the main body of the article? Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:12, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
1) Putting it "back where it was" is not too different from "WP:WRONGVERSION." The idea of summarizing the main body of the article is cogent, but sometimes what happens is that leads develop in a way which points toward where the article needs to develop. Thus negating (as you say) "new concepts or principles" just because they are "not included in the body" is imposing an exclusively bottom-up approach to writing. 2) Ive already said that the main body of the article is quite good, still the word "person" has something to do with "human" and yet this word "person" was not found in your RIGHTVERSION. Such an anomaly cannot be ignored, and the bottom-up process you propose is impeachable for this issue alone. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 19:40, 1 September 2010 (UTC)


I've just read the article human nature. It seems a lot like the article you are describing.Chrisrus (talk) 06:27, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Well, that article covers the concepts of "human nature" and notable views ranging from Plato to E.O. Wilson - a good spectrum - but it doesn't deal with human being. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 19:45, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Current (merge) version

Current (merge) version collapsed and without refs

Humans, known taxonomically as Homo sapiens (Latin: "wise man" or "knowing man"), are the only living species in the Homo genus of bipedal primates in Hominidae, the great ape family. However, in some cases "human" is used to refer to any member of the genus Homo.

Humans have a highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem solving. This mental capability, combined with an erect body carriage that frees the hands for manipulating objects, has allowed humans to make far greater use of tools than any other species on Earth. Mitochondrial DNA and fossil evidence indicates that modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago. In contrast, religious explanations commonly credit human origins and human capacity to a creator being, who is believed by adherents to have endowed humans with a spiritual nature beyond scientific understanding.

Like most higher primates, humans are social animals. However, humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families to nations. Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society. With individuals widespread in every continent except Antarctica, humans are a cosmopolitan species. As of August 2010, the population of humans was estimated to be about 6.8 billion.

Humans are noted for their desire to understand and influence their environment, seeking to explain and manipulate phenomena through science, philosophy, mythology and religion. This natural curiosity has led to the development of advanced tools and skills, which are passed down culturally; humans are the only species known to build fires, cook their food, clothe themselves, and use numerous other technologies. Unlike any other known animal, humans possess higher forms of self-awareness, rationality, sapience, and intellect; it is because of these unique qualities that a human being is considered a person.

  1. The first issue is that this version mentions "person." "Person" and "people" are critically linked to "human" and are separated from "human" only in the most skeptic and analytical views of "human." Only in such skeptic points of view can "person" can be de-linked from "human." Such skeptic points of view are, regardless of their substantial vocabularies, still just another point of view that differs from netural point of view. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 19:53, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Proposed switch

Humans, known taxonomically as Homo sapiens (Latin: "wise man" or "knowing man"), are the only living species in the Homo genus of bipedal primates in Hominidae, the great ape family. However, in some cases "human" is used to refer to any member of the genus Homo.

Humans have a highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem solving. This mental capability, combined with an erect body carriage that frees the hands for manipulating objects, has allowed humans to make far greater use of tools than any other species on Earth. Unlike any other known animal, humans possess higher forms of self-awareness, rationality, sapience, and intellect; it is because of these unique qualities that a human being is considered a person.

Like most higher primates, humans are social animals. However, humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families to nations. Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society. With individuals widespread in every continent except Antarctica, humans are a cosmopolitan species. As of August 2010, the population of humans was estimated to be about 6.8 billion.

Humans are noted for their desire to understand and influence their environment, seeking to explain and manipulate phenomena through science, philosophy, mythology and religion. This natural curiosity has led to the development of advanced tools and skills, which are passed down culturally; humans are the only species known to build fires, cook their food, clothe themselves, and use numerous other technologies.

Mitochondrial DNA and fossil evidence indicates that modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago. In contrast, religious explanations commonly credit human origins and human capacity to a creator being, who is believed by adherents to have endowed humans with a spiritual nature beyond scientific understanding.

  • I propose this change to the merged version. It simply switches the place of the two passages Cybercobra extracted from my earlier rewrite. See diff -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 20:09, 1 September 2010 (UTC)


  • 1 Name
  • 2 History
    • 2.1 Evolution
    • 2.2 Paleolithic
    • 2.3 Transition to civilization
  • 3 Habitat and population
  • 4 Biology
    • 4.1 Anatomy
    • 4.2 Physiology
    • 4.3 Genetics
    • 4.4 Life cycle
    • 4.5 Diet
    • 4.6 Sleep
  • 5 Psychology
    • 5.1 Consciousness and thought
    • 5.2 Motivation and emotion
    • 5.3 Sexuality and love
  • 6 Culture
    • 6.1 Language
    • 6.2 Spirituality and religion
    • 6.3 Philosophy and self-reflection
    • 6.4 Art, music, and literature
    • 6.5 Tool use and technology
    • 6.6 Gender roles
    • 6.7 Race and ethnicity
    • 6.8 Society, government, and politics
    • 6.9 War
    • 6.10 Trade and economics
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

I think "personhood" belongs in here somewhere. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 21:12, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Where would you suggest? --Cybercobra (talk) 21:27, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't know. Somewhere near psychology - maybe as a preface to the Psychology section, or as a transition between the Psychology and Culture sections. The issue with "personhood" is that its a sociological concept. So Sociology is the relevant issue, and the Culture section seems to overtake aspects which belong more under Sociology. Regards, -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 22:15, 2 September 2010 (UTC)


Thank you all for your insights and comments. There have been some developments in the last couple days:

  1. The version which I wrote was chopped and merged into the previous article lede by Cybercobra. Pfhorrest have expressed support for this version, which contains two passages dealing with 1) "person" as the concept relates to "human," and 2) non-scientific conceptions of human origins. (SPOV again is not NPOV).
  2. I edited the merged version to switch the two new passages. Ucucha has expressed support for this version as an "improvement."
  3. Martin Hogbin, who has yet to respond on this talk page, and Mgiganticus1 who has not commented at all on this talk page, have chosen to negate the above consensus and "restore" the pre-merge version. I would agree to this if these were people who were active and engaged here on the talk page, but as they are not, I am agreeable to keeping the current consensus (merge) version. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 01:26, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I also think the switching of the passages was an improvement.
And although strictly speaking Martin and Mgiganticus are correct in enforcing WP:BRD, we must not forget WP:IAR (Ignore All Rules) as well. As you (Steve) point out, a consensus was emerging between several different editors; this is not a simple revert-war, which is what BRD exists to prevent. So I think we're far enough in to the emerging new consensus that strictly enforcing BRD is counterproductively bureaucratic, and IAR comes into play. --Pfhorrest (talk) 07:51, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
You cant be seriously stating that two people who have had little to nothing to say on the talk page have been "correct" in swooping down from wherever they were just to engage in adversarial reverting. Is that what you are supporting? They aren't supporting BRD becuse they have little or no intention of engaging in D (and likely losing the argument). -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 20:35, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
No, that is not what I am saying at all. Please read the entirety of my message and not just the first portion. I said "although strictly speaking" they are correct "we must not forget WP:Ignore all rules". That is, their actions are strictly within the letter of the rules; but despite that, I was agreeing with your that they are counterproductive, thus we should ignore the rule in this case, in favor of working with the emerging consensus. --Pfhorrest (talk) 22:37, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
I wouldn't get too upset about the revert - sometimes it is just a pointer that the edit should be given greater thought and the reverting editors may not have enough time or discussion skills to express this fully. Thanks for the heads up on my talk page, my head is too full of other stuff at the moment to follow the conversation entirely, I'm on the fence as to BRD vs current merge, but am happy route discourse is going. I will have a looksy if I can make any changes that satisfy some of my own issues - BRD me for these though! Lee∴V (talkcontribs) 11:21, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

On the matter of non-scientific human origins

Original title: "Two theories equated; one evidence-based, the other faith-based"

When we write: "Mitochondrial DNA and fossil evidence indicates that modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago. In contrast, religious explanations commonly credit human origins and human capacity to a creator being, who is believed by adherents to have endowed humans with a spiritual nature beyond scientific understanding.", we equate a theory based on evidence and reason with one believed in just because.

The evidence, experts agree: humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago. In contrast, religious people are not convinced. They continue to believe that we were created by an old man with a beard who lives in the sky and doesn't want you to touch yourself down there. They're not interested or informed about what the fossile record or what mitochondrial DNA have to say about anything and it wouldn't change their minds anyway. The old man breathed a ghost into us and gave us a spooky mysterious soul that science will never understand because it asks for evidence and reason, not stubborn belief in the face of evidence and reason.

Why do we tolerate this "In contrast...beyond scientific understanding? Is this the decent liberal bending backwards to people's folk beliefs when they are offended by our facts? There is a name for this kind of shrinking from popular belief and weak-kneed failure to stand up for known facts, and I for one will not stand for it. Who's with me? Chrisrus (talk) 02:44, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Chrisrus, it is a fact that "religious explanations commonly credit human origins and human capacity to a creator being, who is believed by adherents to have endowed humans with a spiritual nature beyond scientific understanding". It is therefore perfectly neutral to have some mention of that fact (that "religious explanations commonly credit..." etc.) in the article. It is not neutral to systematically exclude it. If you think that Stevertigo's text can be improved, you should work to improve it - but "rm scary stuff about ghosts" violates NPOV. Gavia immer (talk) 03:50, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
It's also true that some people don't agree that we evolved from other homonids and belong to the great ape family. We don't then stop and say "but many others disagree, thinking evolution untrue and believing instead in a culturally-based creation myth". We don't stop after every statement of fact about where we come from and give equal time to the weight of belief against what experts agree on. Would you suggest that we stop after the first sentence and add that many don't believe we belong to the great ape family? I have removed the sentence from the article. now we have to work the last sentence of the lead back into the text. Chrisrus (talk) 04:18, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Chrisrus, I have not read your comment in full, but I understand what your issue is just from the shouting. Your issue is that you think Science point of view is more correct than Religious point of view. Firstly, science doesn't express points of view, it just states facts. One of these facts is evolution. Religion sometimes objects to evolution as an argument, but then sometimes we find compromises which are no less true for each (see theistic evolution). Its undeniable that the human body and certain parts of its mind have developed evolutionarily, and that the human body has common ancestors with primates. But its also clear that we are far removed from primates in terms of capacity and capability. This difference in capacity translates into different estimations of life value: you can destroy an ape, but not a human being. This differences are immeasurable.
I appreciate what Cybercobra did, which was to distill certain essential points from the rewrite I offered and inserted them into certain parts of the lede. With those elements in place we can sort of see where the current version is stronger than it was - for one it mentions the concept of "person." Why Chrisrus, does the pre-merge version not mention "person" or "personhood" at all? The fact that the article is missing this basic aspect is proof (your word, right) that an exclusively skeptic approach is not healthy for the article.
Chrisrus asks: "Why do we tolerate this "In contrast...beyond scientific understanding?" - We don't "tolerate" it. We respect it. We respect the views of some 84% of the world's people who give regard to the spiritualistic. Sorry, but this is the world you were born into, and its a world that does not destroy its ideas simply because they are invisible or because you say they are not "evidence-based." -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 04:44, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Much abbreviated because I'm very upset from several browser crashes eating the longer versions: Per WP:SPOV, we must give priority to the scientific point of view, but we must not exclude notable non-scientific points of view. Religious views on humans are clearly widespread enough for the fact that people hold those views to be notable, so they should be included: however, we must be careful not to present the issue as simply 'Science says X but Jesus says Y.' Whether the material Chris redacted was that simplistic or not is not something I have any opinion on; it did not seem perfect to be but I do not strongly object to it either. --Pfhorrest (talk) 05:45, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
I understand. The relevant passage was something I wrote (sourced) which Cybercobra put in. It wasn't perfectly written to begin with, and it wasn't perfectly written when CC put it in. But am I hearing that, by default, you are taking the side of someone who is simply calling all mention of creation mythos or religion itself "spooky" and something not to be "tolerated?" -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 06:22, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
No, my comment was a neutral reply to Chris's, not a reply to your reply, hence the one-level quote-indent instead of the four-level you changed it to (I was not merely outdenting but beginning a new thread of reply separate from yours). I am saying that, contra to Chris, some mention of creation mythos, gods, souls, etc, does warrant mention in the article, otherwise we would be violating WP:NPOV; but that it should not be presented on equal footing with the scientific point of view, because that would violate WP:SPOV. My point was that WP:SPOV already settles this debate by specifying how it should be applied without contradicting WP:NPOV: do prioritize scientific view, but do not exclude non-scientific views.
That is to say, scientific views may be presented as simply the truth without qualifying that that is merely the scientific point of view and maybe not true; but the fact that there is notable disagreement with the scientific views should also be mentioned, though qualified as such. So: we can simply say without qualification that humans are a type of animal of a certain genus and evolutionary lineage with origins in this part of the world at that time, and with these anatomic and behavioral features; and then note that there are notable dissenting views (and state who holds those views) to the effect that humans are not animals (or do not count as animals), that they did not evolve but were created, that they have such-and-such spiritual features as well as the aforementioned anatomical and behavioral ones, etc.
And I don't have a strong opinion on whether the text Chris redacted went against this principle or not. It didn't seem perfect, a little too close to "Science says X but Jesus says Y", but I did not feel the need to redact it completely as Chris did. It should not be redacted, lest we violate NPOV; but it does perhaps need more work to satisfy SPOV. --Pfhorrest (talk) 07:11, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Now that my browser no longer appears to be crashing on submit, here is a reconstruction of my earlier, longer comments on this, plus more.
To quote liberally from WP:SPOV: "Wikipedia follows a neutral point of view (NPOV). [...] This is non-negotiable. [...] NPOV works less well when applied to the natural sciences, when a scientific point of view (SPOV) is sometimes more appropriate." On "how to write a scientific article in a NPOV-style [...] two possibilities exist: 1. SPOV should be written to the exclusion of all others. 2. SPOV should be written prioritised over all others. #1 violates the policy of including all knowledge, as it deliberately leaves out all others. #2 is clearly better, and although each individual article must be taken into account, the SPOV is generally held to be the most important POV in NPOV." My emphasis added for the conclusion there.
However, I notice now the banner that that article is no longer considered policy. The more recent policies appear to be WP:GEVAL and WP:PSCI (both subsections or WP:NPOV), which state, in part: "Policy [...] does not stop us from [...] fairly explaining the strong arguments against the pseudoscientific theory", "when talking about pseudoscientific topics, we should not describe these two opposing viewpoints as being equal to each other". Further, WP:ASF (another subsection of WP:NPOV) decrees "Assert facts, including facts about opinions—but do not assert the opinions themselves" where "An 'opinion' [...] is a statement [...] construed as factual that does not reflect the consensus in other reliable sources." (I disagree with WP's definitions of the "fact/opinion" dichotomy but I'm using their terminology here). I haven't checked WP:RS right now but I'm pretty sure religious texts don't count as reliable sources about features of the world and the things in it (though they may be reliable primary sources about themselves), whereas science books and articles do, so we can assert what the science books say as simple fact, but we must qualify the what the religious books say as the opinions of those religions; which is basically the point I was drawing out of WP:SPOV above.
--Pfhorrest (talk) 07:43, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
I fixed it, so moot point unless you redo. Otherwise, move on. Chrisrus (talk) 12:23, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
what about you put something along the lines of "there are other theories, such as creationism and the flying spaghetti monster, which have little scientific merit"?
Surely at least the FSM deserves a mention, if the old dude with the white beard does, as it makes just as much scientific sense...
CybergothiChé (talk) 12:34, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
The issue is human origins and how different "theories" of human origin are mentioned. Chrisrus has unilaterally decided to remove the evolutionary treatment of human origins rather than see some mention of creationist origins. I appreciate the fact that even though there is strong evidence to validate the evolutionary explanation, its still not NPOV to assert evolutionary explanation over all other explanation. I appreciate Chrisrus' concession. I'm not sure however that simply removing the scientific estimation of human origins solves the problem, as human origins are relevant to the idea of humans (the species or the beings) and should be summarised somehow in the lede. As Chrisrus has been active on this subject, I think it should be he that restores a treatment of human origins, being neutral of course in deciding which treatements receive mention.
CybergothiChe's comment about FSM is not helpful, as he is comparing what 84% of the world's population think with the FSM, which perhaps nobody believes in. Just as with Chrisrus example of the flat Earth believers, the relevance is almost nil.
Pfhorrest said: "the SPOV is generally held to be the most important POV in NPOV" - Is that true? Actually it isn't. Imagine a world without science, we would still be obligated to be neutral. Perhaps what you mean is that 'NPOV is the most important POV in SPOV.' On that account I couldnt agree more, as neutral science is much more powerful than science accompanied by opinion. ;-) -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 20:27, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Actually I did not say that, WP:SPOV said that and I just quoted it. WP:SPOV is no longer policy, but I pulled quotes from other, current policies which amount to the same thing:
  • Propositions considered facts by current scientific consensus (which wikipedia calls "facts") do not need to be qualified as merely the opinions of the scientific community, but may be just straightforwardly stated;
  • All other propositions which are not considered facts by the current scientific consensus (which wikipedia calls "opinions") must be qualified as the opinions of whoever asserted them.
  • We also cannot simply say "[fact], but according to [whoever], [opinion]", as that gives undue weight to the opinion, presenting it on equal ground as the fact. Something more nuanced is required.
For an example, we may straightforwardly say "the Earth is 4.5 billion years old", and we don't have to say "according to current scientific consensus the Earth is 4.5 billion years old"; but we may not just say "the Earth is 6,000 years old", instead we have to say "according to [some Christian sources], the Earth is 6,000 years old". And we can't just say "the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, but according to [some Christian source] it is 6,000 years old", as that gives undue weight to the latter opinion, presenting it on equal ground as the former fact.
However, and here I am agreeing with you, we must not exclude those non-scientific opinions from the article, provided they are sufficiently notable, which I agree widespread religious beliefs are. But when we include them, we must include them properly, as described above. --Pfhorrest (talk) 23:00, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
It's not true that I have removed the theory of human origins which is expert concensous and based on evidence, reason, and a system of hostile peer review. I'm sorry you thought I removed it, I should have pointed out that I just moved it to the top and worked in so that it would make a nice, smooth lead. Please read the first part again and you will see that this "scientific" theory is still here, just moved to the first paragraph of the lead. Chrisrus (talk) 20:33, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Please don't insert comments in the body of others' comments. Thanks. I will look at it. Is it the case that you moved it up just to keep out other explanations? -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 20:45, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Interleaved posting style is generally considered standard on Wikipedia talk pages. This is not a strictly linear discussion medium; please don't try to force it to be one. (See also my previous comments about changing the quote level of my first reply to Chris, which was below yours on the page but not in response to yours).--Pfhorrest (talk) 23:00, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
If I post in the body of someone's comments, I indicate such by saying "(cutting in)" and I keep it quite brief. Interjecting comments should be brief, but if a response is given to such a comment, the comment should be moved down after the original post such that the response to the cut-in comment is linear. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 23:15, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

I was trying to make the point that theories which have no scientific basis (such as creationism and the FSM) should have no place in a scientific article. Perhaps religious viewpoints upon the creation of humanity should be addressed in the religeon and beliefs section, rather than in the sections regarding the ascent of man, and as an "also-ran" rather than a mainstream scientific theory CybergothiChé (talk) 13:30, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Exactly. We cannot state any specific religious view on the origin of humanity as a fact but we can make a statement along the lines that many humans believe in some kind of supernatural creation in the appropriate section.
The main problem I have is in understanding exactly what point Steve is trying to make. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:28, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

On the relation between NPOV and SPOV

PS:The issue again is that if this article must by popular demand follow SPOV, then it has to be renamed to "homo sapiens" to make room for an NPOV overview. Regards, -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 20:51, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
As a look at the history will show, I first just got rid of the sentence that said basically "however, lots of people don't believe the facts about human origins that experts agree is dictated by the evidence and reason, instead preferring to believe that we were created by a supreme being that breathed a soul into us" or whatnot, for reasons that I've already stated. I then left it for a bit, but the evidence-and-reason-based theory looked too short and out of place sitting at the bottom of the lead without the creationist theory alongside it. You can go back and see what I mean you will agree that it needed to be worked into the end of the first paragraph, so it flows nicely like it does. So I did the first thing for one reason, and the second thing was just for flow and such. If you re-add your "however, creationist disagree..." statement back into the lead, it would go at the end of first paragrah nicely, I think. Also, be forwarned that I will revert, then you revert, which will force me back here again to repeat my reasoning again, and then we can repeat the process until the heat death of the universe. Chrisrus (talk) 21:07, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
I did not use the language "however, creationists disagree" in fact that's not exactly the language that Cybercobra used either. The "however" I agree is problematic, as it gives the appearance of an equivalence, which was not my intention.
PS: Note, Im not unhappy with the lede currently, except perhaps for certain other issues which we have yet to discuss. The mention of human origins is constrained and well-integrated into the first paragraph, such that its not exceeding its definition by getting into qualitative assertions. The next thing I will do is take a general look at the article to see where treatments of Sociology and Personhood can be added. Note, it appears that we all agree that 'human ~ person,' such that the lede now includes reference to person,' and that the article now requires some treatment of person - as I said to Cybercobra, 'personhood' belongs under a 'sociology' section. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 23:04, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Splitting this article into a scientific one and a non-scientific one would be a POV fork and is thus unacceptable. There must be one article, and it must be NPOV: but according to WP:NPOV (which I've quoted extensively above), that means presenting scientific consensus as simple fact, incorporating notable non-scientific viewpoints in the article, but qualifying them as the opinions of whoever holds them, and giving appropriate weight to each instead of simply presenting science and non-science as differing but equally valid opinions.
I suspect you asked me here because of my NPOV championing on Rights, specifically in defending that article from a legal-rights-only, naturalistic, "scientistic" point of view. But that is because Rights is a philosophical/sociological/legal topic, not a natural science topic. Scientists don't investigate what rights people have; philosophers, sociologists, and lawyers do. Among them, there is a "scientistic" viewpoint that there are no "natural rights" because that would be spooky religious metaphysical mumbo jumbo, and that determining whatever rights "exist" is just a question of looking at what laws are on the books. But that is not the consensus of scientists as such; no scientists are writing papers on the existence or non-existence of "rights" because moral topics are outside the scope of scientific investigation. So within that domain, the "scientistic" viewpoint really is just one opinion among many.
But what constitutes a human, where humans originate from, what features we have, etc, is well within the scope of science, and so non-scientific opinions on such matters have to be presented as such: merely opinions. What constitutes a person (what features are required to count as a person, and which entities fall under that category) is a much more philosophical topic, but the equation of "persons" to "humans" is itself a contentious philosophical opinion and so should not be stated as simple fact here. Certainly some mention of the relationship between humans and persons deserves a mention here, but the philosophical issues involved in defining the intension and extension of personhood is a topic for Person, not for here. --Pfhorrest (talk) 23:34, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
In my opinion creationism belongs only in religious articles. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:30, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
There are no 'religious articles,' nor 'scientific articles.' Only NPOV and POV articles. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 00:56, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Pfhorrest wrote: "it must be NPOV: but according to WP:NPOV [..] that means presenting scientific consensus as simple fact" - You are contradicting yourself (and NPOV) here. The issue is not "splitting" the article, the issue is that there "human" belongs neither to SPOV or RPOV and yet the way this article has been constructed has been such that SPOV dominates (and, as with the case of the missing "person" concept here, SPOV dominance can have unhealthy aspects). People can't have it both ways: Either there is one article which is NPOV and not SPOV, or there are three articles, one dealing with the word/concept "human," one dealing with 'human species' and one dealing with 'human beings.' Pfhorrest wrote: "But what constitutes a human, where humans originate from, what features we have, etc, is well within the scope of science, and so non-scientific opinions on such matters have to be presented as such: merely opinions." - Where human beings come from has not been fully explained by scientific theory - the only thing that has been established is that the human body developed at least in part through evolutionary process. Hence we cannot say that the totality of what it means to be a human being is owed to evolution. Its important to keep our facts straight. Hence what we find with SPOV articles the data combined with opinion, to the exclusion of other opinion. Again, let's keep to the facts. To that end, even what constitutes scientific consensus cannot be taken as fact if that fact is described in the way of a conjecture which exceeds the given data. As Gavia put it "it is a fact that "religious explanations commonly credit human origins and human capacity to a creator being, who is.. This is the kind of fact that transcends scientific-style conjecture, but which others here have been claiming is irrelevant to humanity. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 00:54, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

I am neither contradicting myself nor NPOV -- presuming by NPOV you mean Wikipedia's policy WP:NPOV and not some undefined personal definition of a neutral point of view. According to Wikipedia policy, as I already quoted above, "A fact is a statement about which there is no serious dispute among reliable sources", "An 'opinion' on the other hand, is [...] a statement construed as factual that does not reflect the consensus in other reliable sources", and "Assert facts, including facts about opinions—but do not assert the opinions themselves". (all from WP:NPOV#A_simple_formulation, shortcut WP:ASF). Combined with WP:RS (and related policy pages) extensively supporting scientific articles as reliable sources and nothing that I can find suggesting that religious texts qualify as reliable sources on anything other than themselves, the conclusion is straightforward: scientific consensus meets Wikipedia's definition of "fact" and does not need to be qualified as mere opinion, it can simply be stated outright, whereas religious claims meet Wikipedia's definition of "opinion" and must be qualified as such. Religious claims must not be excluded, as that would violate NPOV; but they must be qualified as opinions. This is what the merged version you support does anyway so I don't understand why you're still arguing about this unless you just misunderstand me completely.
Further, when I said "But what constitutes a human, where humans originate from, what features we have, etc, is well within the scope of science", I did not mean that science has definitively answered all questions about those issues; I merely meant that those are the kinds of issues which science addresses, unlike, for example, moral issues such as rights, which are not issues which science even attempts to addresses at all. Scientists do not investigate what rights people have because that's not a scientific question; science does investigate what humans are and where they come from, so that is a scientific question; and as per the above, the scientific consensus on answers to such questions can be stated as simple fact according to Wikipedia policy, whereas religious answers to such questions must be qualified as as the opinions of those religions. I'm not saying to leave out religious opinions; I'm only saying to flag them as such, and not to flag scientific consensus. --Pfhorrest (talk) 02:43, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Chrisrus wrote: "The old man breathed a ghost into us and gave us a spooky mysterious soul that science will never understand because it asks for evidence and reason, not stubborn belief in the face of evidence and reason" - Its not that 'science will never understand it,' you are reading it wrong - its that science does not currently understand it. Anyone who understands radio waves can understand that information can exist even though its invisible. Anyone who understands quantum entanglement can understand how a soul (theoretically) could work. ;-) -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 01:01, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Pfhorrest wrote: "I did not mean that science has definitively answered all questions about those issues; I merely meant that those are the kinds of issues which science addresses" - Doesn't religion also address those issues? 'Origins' is in fact one of these issues that religions do address. Agreement between varied and different religious concepts is yet another problem with singling them all out.
I don't think we disagree too much, the issue is just that if you say 'SPOV dominates,' the average geeky Wikimedian gets the wrong idea. This is why "person" was not even mentioned in previous versions. The irreligious write a wiki article which is sanitized of human elements such as "person," and they confine ideas they don't like into sections. The lede shows a lot about what state the article is in. Why does the article mention things as pedantic as 'an upright torso' 'tool usage,' and 'clothing,' when it didn't bother to even mention person, personhood, society, and sociology. An article on humanity needs to have a human tone. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 04:01, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
Indeed religions do address those issues; if they didn't, we wouldn't behaving a discussion like this. (There's not much POV to worry about over at Gravity, for example). My point is to distinguish topics which science actually tries to address from those which it doesn't even bother. I am saying we should treat the scientific consensus as the default position over non-scientific (e.g. religious) points of view in the former case; but we can't very well do that in the latter case. So while I argue that, for example, Divine command theory and Ethical naturalism should be presented with equal weight, I would not say the same about say, evolution and creationism. --Pfhorrest (talk) 06:39, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

What about the superiority of SPOV and evolution-ism (since we are turning evolution into a doctrine) outweighs something like theistic evolution which does not reject evolution? Just because evolution has evidence, doesn't mean that its derived doctrinal enshrinements are accurate.
I do not argue that the two concepts you propose be given the same weight, just that you and others do not jump to the fallacy that finding bones in the dirt has equated to some transcendental quality that nullifies any mention of what most human beings believe. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 21:22, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure what you're asking here, but to be clear, I was never proposing that all mention of religious beliefs be stripped out of the article. My original reply was to Chrisrus, saying that while NPOV does suggest that SPOV take priority in some ways, it does not allow us to remove everything nonscientific; it only requires us to qualify it as the opinions of whoever puts forth such theories.
I've noticed in several places in this thread, I will reply to someone you are arguing with, throw them a bone about where their viewpoints have some validity, and then argue why despite that partial validity they are still in the wrong; and you seem to only hear me agreeing with them, when I'm actually trying to defend your side from them, while still acknowledging the points of theirs worth acknowledging.
  • This was the case in the BRD policy discussion above; I said that they were technically correct to the letter of policy, but still going against the spirit of said policy, and so more broadly in the wrong than in the right. You seemed to think there that I was agreeing with their reverting by calling it "technically correct", but that was actually the opposite of my point.
  • The same is happening here; I'm acknowledging Chrisrus' emphasis on keeping the SPOV the clearly dominant POV, but doing so in the process of arguing why nonscientific POVs can't be entirely excluded from the article as he wanted to do.
--Pfhorrest (talk) 03:43, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
OK, I understand. Your walking a finer line than I thought. I appreciate the note. I understand the need to throw people the occasional bone, but I probably just sensed too much meat on it. The idea here though is that I'm generally overwhelmed by dissidents and its a notable and rare grace on their part to even let one part of my writing (on "person") stay in the article. This has to be hammered in when dealing with people who assume the prior version already was perfection. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 06:51, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
Steve, you have still not made clear what exactly you want to add to this article. If it is anything about creationism or your own views on the soul and QM, such things have no place here.
If on the other hand you want to write something on the fact that many humans consider their species as unique and believe in some spiritual or special human element to their existence then the place to start is in the section on 'Spirituality and religion'. I have copied the section below. What do you think we should add or change? Maybe some kind of intro, 'Many humans believe in...', maybe a statement that, in many religions, the world including humans was created by a supernatural being? I would personally have no objection to that kind of thing provided it is sourced. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:58, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
"Religion is generally defined" - extended quotation

Religion is generally defined as a belief system concerning the supernatural, sacred or divine, and moral codes, practices, values, institutions and rituals associated with such belief. The evolution and the history of the first religions have recently become areas of active scientific investigation.[98][99][100] However, in the course of its development, religion has taken on many forms that vary by culture and individual perspective. Some of the chief questions and issues religions are concerned with include life after death (commonly involving belief in an afterlife), the origin of life, the nature of the universe (religious cosmology) and its ultimate fate (eschatology), and what is moral or immoral. A common source in religions for answers to these questions are beliefs in transcendent divine beings such as deities or a singular God, although not all religions are theistic—many are nontheistic or ambiguous on the topic, particularly among the Eastern religions. Spirituality, belief or involvement in matters of the soul or spirit, is one of the many different approaches humans take in trying to answer fundamental questions about humankind's place in the universe, the meaning of life, and the ideal way to live one's life. Though these topics have also been addressed by philosophy, and to some extent by science, spirituality is unique in that it focuses on mystical or supernatural concepts such as karma and God.

Although the exact level of religiosity can be hard to measure,[101] a majority of humans professes some variety of religious or spiritual belief, although some are irreligious: that is lacking or rejecting belief in the supernatural or spiritual. Other humans have no religious beliefs and are atheists, scientific skeptics, agnostics or simply non-religious. Humanism is a philosophy which seeks to include all of humanity and all issues common to humans; it is usually non-religious. Additionally, although most religions and spiritual beliefs are clearly distinct from science on both a philosophical and methodological level, the two are not generally considered mutually exclusive; a majority of humans holds a mix of both scientific and religious views. The distinction between philosophy and religion, on the other hand, is at times less clear, and the two are linked in such fields as the philosophy of religion and theology. [Quoted text from article]

Martin, I think you are on the right track, and that's the essence of what I wrote, and what Cybercobra rewrote to merge into the lede. Chrisrus was the one who found any mention of religious or spiritualistic belief to be "spooky" and the passage regarding 'scientific understanding' may have been unclear. The issues are not insurmountable, and you appear to understand the issue that SPOV cannot overtake NPOV to negate any slight mention of what 84% believe about a 'creator.' -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 21:56, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
Steve, you are aware that the text above was taken directly from the article? What would you want to add to it? Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:06, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I am also still curious about what exactly you think is lacking in this article, if you acknowledge that non-SPOV must not be given the same weight as SPOV, and there is already all of the above well-qualified material about common religious beliefs in the article. --Pfhorrest (talk)

Proposed new lede

How does this sound to everyone: "Humans are featherless bipeds indigenous to eastern Africa, which have since been imported to the other habitable continents and quickly become a nuisance species." NPOV enough? ;) (Just trying to lighten the mood here). --Pfhorrest (talk) 09:35, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Why just the lead. That could be the whole article ;) Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:33, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
You forgot to mention "upright torso" "heavy tool use" and "fashionable apparel." -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 21:23, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

The importance of sources

I just want to re-emphasize that sources are essential here. I'm not sure if that's entirely clear in the discussion above. If there is some kind of dispute here, then both sides need to come up with reliable sources that say exactly what it is you're trying to say. In this case, you need a source that is actually discussing the question, "what is a human being?"

The "scientific" point of view can use any introductory anthropology textbook as its primary source, and since these textbooks agree to a large extent, it doesn't really matter which one you use. Don't tell me that the scientific definition is "common sense"; because obviously there is some disagreement. A source wouldn't hurt.

It is even more important that the so-called "humanistic" point of view be supported with sources. We need to report exactly who these people are and we need to be able to read their work to know exactly what they mean.

In Wikipedia, we may not write what we think is true. In Wikipedia, we report what other people think is true. We're like journalists. We're not philosophers.

The reader has no reason to trust us. The reader doesn't care what we think. But the reader does care what some reliable source thinks. The authority of Wikipedia comes from the authority of it's sources. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 16:22, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Good points. The sources aren't always at issue though. The rewrite I proposed was sourced in twelve places, and it still struck ill with the pro-textbook-science crowd here. The idea of basing a general overview on the ramblings of wearied philosophers is something they just don't like. They want to talk about upright torso's, opposable thumbs, and how much like the textbook ape we are in terms of sociability. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 18:06, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
And what is it exactly that you want to talk about? You have yet to tell us. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:15, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
Actually I have. I drafted an alternate lede, and saw it diced up and merged into the article lede - a change dealing largely with the concept of "person." I also noted that the article body should develop more regarding the topic of "person", namely "personhood," and indicated that this concept should reside in a section dealing with "sociology" - a section that does not currently exist, but which does currently have topical antecedents in the existing lede, and the psychology and culture sections. Regards, -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 04:04, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
PS:Sociology section created.-Stevertigo (t | log | c) 04:18, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Science is Culture

These are certainly among the aspects of human culture, things humans engage in:

  * 7.1 Language
   * 7.2 Spirituality and religion
   * 7.3 Philosophy and self-reflection
   * 7.4 Art, music, and literature

but so is the practice of scientific thought, and investigation, including the modern/contemporary form, but going back to earlier forms as well. I would hope a subsection will be added in parallel to the above subsections, on human scientific (including mathematical) thinking, methods, analytical modes, habits, cultural norms and definitions of what constitutes science, etc. In any case, an alien visiting Earth would certainly list language, spirituality, self-reflection, and art/music/literature, but equally so, scientific analysis of their surroundings and environment, among the aspects of human culture. Harel (talk) 00:31, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

That's a good point. Going even further, we can think of science as sociological, as it defines rules by which we engage in the common pursuit of inquiry. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 01:43, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
See Cultural universals.Chrisrus (talk) 21:35, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Science section

What is this new uncited section? Can we expect that it will be properly cited soon? It is, I suppose, a plausible "Just So" story about the origin of science, but just because we say so is not a very good bases for Wikipedia to publish a seemingly original history of the origin of science. Chrisrus (talk) 21:32, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Removed. It's probably at least one of original research, fringe, and wrong. Ucucha 21:35, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
See history of science for a more mainstream treatment of the kind of content that may be included in this article. Ucucha 21:39, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
Is it the consensus view among commenters here that a science section is out of place in this article? Note that proper placement of this section is as a subsection of the previous. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 23:56, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure, but I lean towards including one—science has become an important component of human thought (or, if you will) culture. However, apart from the specific problems with the previous section, I am not sure whether its general approach was even correct; it may be better to have something about the role of science and its influence on society, rather than details of history. Ucucha 01:25, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
Understood. I had projected that concerned editors would simply rewrite the section. Given the anthropological POV the article generally takes, talking about such a recent development as science seemed to require a long view - one that noted its anthropological origins and its synergistic relationship with rational thought in general. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 02:48, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
Why science when there are so many cultural universals that would define the referent so much better? "A creature that boils water" defines the referent better than "mammal that does science". Unless you pushed the definition of the word "science" far beyond normal parameters. Chrisrus (talk) 03:31, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
(cutting in) I appreciate the thought and the intellect behind this comment here, I just can't quite tell what exactly you are suggesting. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 21:48, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
This sections looks like part of a plan to get, as yet unknown, personal opinion and belief into this article. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:53, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
Eh? Your comment seems to lack any good faith whatsoever (WP:AGF). -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 21:47, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Nit picking

In case the editors of this article are not aware, the hatnote was also altered ("compressed")by Stevertigo on August 30th [9]. To me, now, it looks essentially the same as it was before he edited the hatnote. However the article editors would be the most likely to notice if this alteration is finally acceptable. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 16:19, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Sociology outline

This is the current TOC/Outline, after putting "psychology" and its subordinates under "Sociology," - a more accurate description:

  • 1 Name
  • 2 History
    • 2.1 Evolution
    • 2.2 Paleolithic
    • 2.3 Transition to civilization
  • 3 Habitat and population
  • 4 Biology
    • 4.1 Anatomy
    • 4.2 Physiology
    • 4.3 Genetics
    • 4.4 Life cycle
    • 4.5 Diet
    • 4.6 Sleep
  • 5 Sociology
    • 5.1 Psychology
    • 5.2 Consciousness and thought
    • 5.3 Motivation and emotion
    • 5.4 Sexuality and love
  • 6 Culture
    • 6.1 Language
    • 6.2 Spirituality and religion
    • 6.3 Philosophy and self-reflection
    • 6.4 Art, music, and literature
    • 6.5 Tool use and technology
    • 6.6 Gender roles
    • 6.7 Race and ethnicity
    • 6.8 Society, government, and politics
    • 6.9 War
    • 6.10 Trade and economics
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

At issue now is whether certain subsections under the "culture" section better fit under "sociology" - ie. "tool use," "gender roles," "race and ethnicity", "society..", "war" and "trade.." appear to be sociological topics more than they are strictly "culture" topics. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 04:16, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Steve, you keep suggesting in your edit comments that others are unwilling to discuss issues with you, however, when I ask what exactly is the point you are trying to make you are somewhat evasive. Is there anything that you think needs amending or adding to the 'Spirituality and religion' section, and if so what? Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:18, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
We are on to other issues now, Martin. Please try to keep up. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 00:46, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Do I take it that you actually have no problem with the article in this respect now? As nothing has changed, I wonder why you made such a fuss about the subject before. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:01, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Psychology already adequately describes the sections you've currently put under Sociology; I see no need for an unnecessary layer of hierarchy. I grant that whether Culture would be better termed Sociology is a separate, more reasonable thing to discuss. --Cybercobra (talk) 09:18, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Agreed, and note that about half of the "culture" section belongs under "sociology." -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 00:46, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and changed the structure a bit to include a separate section for psychology, and to migrate much of the socological parts of the "culture" section to the "sociology" section. Ive cobbled a brief intro to that section based entirely on the relevant section in the lede, and it probably needs some work. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 01:05, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Re the "race and ethnicity" section, we should see about getting some better mugshots. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 01:08, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────PS:The current outline status is:

  • 1 Name
  • 2 History
    • 2.1 Evolution
    • 2.2 Paleolithic
    • 2.3 Transition to civilization
  • 3 Habitat and population
  • 4 Biology
    • 4.1 Anatomy
    • 4.2 Physiology
    • 4.3 Genetics
    • 4.4 Life cycle
    • 4.5 Diet
    • 4.6 Sleep
  • 5 Sociology
    • 5.1 Sexuality and love
    • 5.2 Gender roles
    • 5.3 Tool use and technology
    • 5.4 Society, government, and politics
    • 5.4 Trade and economics
    • 5.5 Race and ethnicity
    • 5.6 War
  • 6 Psychology
    • 6.1 Consciousness and thought
    • 6.2 Motivation and emotion
  • 7 Culture
    • 7.1 Language
    • 7.2 Spirituality and religion
    • 7.3 Philosophy and self-reflection
    • 7.4 Art, music, and literature
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

-Stevertigo (t | log | c) 01:11, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Would an "anthropology" section make sense? "Tool use" for example doesn't fit well under either "culture" or "sociology." -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 04:58, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Technically all of this counts as anthropology, seeing as how anthropology is study of humans. Since anthropology is usually split into "physical" (or "biological") and "cultural" (or "social") subtypes, and we already have a "Biology" section, perhaps we should divide this article along traditional anthropological lines and have "Biology" on the one hand and "Society and culture" on the other? (With "Psychology" perhaps in the middle, as per Cybercobra's recent edit?) I'm not seeing the rationale behind why some things are being categorized as "sociological" and others as "cultural"; can you elaborate on that distinction? --Pfhorrest (talk) 05:22, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Some aspects of human development are sociological, meaning they are social in basis or societal in fruition. "Society and culture" might work in the short term, but I think the distinctions between these is important. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 01:30, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
Steve that is not what sociology means, you are redefining the term again through a literal reading of its etymology (like you did with antisemitism). Sociology is the study of human society, that doesn't mean that human social behaviour falls more under sociology than under Socio-cultural Anthropology. It would make very much sense to do as Pfhorrest states and adopt a division between biological and socio-cultural perspectives of the study of humans.·Maunus·ƛ· 12:43, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
My question, though, is what is it about language, religion, philosophy, and the arts, which makes them not "social" but instead "cultural" compared to the others? In my understanding, culture is a social phenomenon. So I'm not understanding where the line is being drawn and why. Why, for instance, is language not considered social, nor politics considered cultural? --Pfhorrest (talk) 02:15, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
I thought about this point with regard to language. Because you've asked I've had to think about it and my thinking is that language, as we generally use the term, refers to natural language, and even more than that we reserve it to refer to surface forms of language (rather than its innate form) that we call "natural languages." Its true that if we speak of an innate language, we deal more with a psycho/sociological concept. However when we speak of the surface forms we deal largely with a cultural phenomenon - ie. a cultural manifestation of what internally is a psycho-social phenomenon. Politics has the reverse property - when we speak of politics we talk of the varied types of of intersocial dialogues as abstractions of what in local terms are cultural dialogues. When we talk of "politics" its understood that politics in.. the U.S. and politics in.. Iran (as examples) each have their own localizations, but the politics are similar - ie. people convincing people to do something or go along with something. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 04:42, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

The Anthropology section doesn't make sense. All of the content of this article is subsumed in Anthropology which is the study of humans - (Humans do not generally fall under Zoology as the article would have you believe). As it is now the anthropology section is but a joke - material culture is of course within the area of anthropology, but only because material culture is culture, and culture seen as complex symbolic behaviour, is what defines us as humans. I am going to remove the anthropology section.·Maunus·ƛ· 12:08, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

ANI thread

This article is now part of an ANI discussion. The editors of this article may, or may not, wish to comment at here. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 17:01, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

This would explain how people got news of the ANI. Just curious, where else have you advertised it? -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 00:03, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
I just came by here from the ANI thread and took a look at the article: A very alienating experience. Seriously. It looks likle the article was written by Aliens. I don't think I can think of a better way to do it right now though.·Maunus·ƛ· 01:33, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
LOL. I had thought it rather written by 'scientists' ;-). I had tried to introduce the subject in a more general way and the only thing that remains of that is the mention of "person."-Stevertigo (t | log | c) 04:45, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Content fork

Apparently Stevertigo changed a redirect for this article into the article Human being. This is a content fork WP:FORK as related to this article. I have contacted him on his talk page here, and he appears unresponsive (changing the subject?).---- Steve Quinn (talk) 06:06, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

As an aside, I really like this proposed lede from Pfhorrest, and I think it should have been seriously considered (LOL! LOL!)

"Humans are featherless bipeds indigenous to eastern Africa, which have since been imported to the other habitable continents and quickly become a nuisance species." NPOV enough? ;) (Just trying to lighten the mood here)."

I got a real "belly laugh" from it. Thanks. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 06:06, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Early to mid 20th century history missing

So as to fit in with existing overview, perhaps mention major 20th century events: - 2 world wars - advances in audio and video / film and television - nuclear bombs and the controlled used of nuclear energy - man in space leading to man on the moon —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:21, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Lead image

There seems to have been an attempt to change the lead image without consensus. There is a long standing agreement based on a very long period of discussion to have the Akha image in the lead. If you want to change it, please discuss the reasons here first. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:11, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

With all due respect, Martin Hogbin, could you please provide a link to the Section of Archived Discussion to which you refer? The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 03:06, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
To interject: Most recent RFC, Most recent discussion --Cybercobra (talk) 04:06, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Thank you, Cybercobra! I personally don't care one way or another what lead image we use, but I figured whoever still wants to change it should at least have a quick link like that to the correct Archives. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:01, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps I just missed it, but what was the reason for the specific limitation to just one variety of human? If we take a look at dogs, for example, we see a small selection of the different varieties. I'm sure there exists, or could be made, an image that could show a number of different human... I really don't want to say "breeds", and "race" is something of a social construct but I think you get the point. It would be more representative of the species to show a man and/or woman of each of, for example, East Asian, Caucasian, African, and Middle Eastern decent.Embolalia (talk) 01:28, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
Click on "Most recent RFC" and "Most recent discussion". In my opinion, it's not a bad choice - shows both genders, whole bodies, in context with a background, clothing and possessions. Though an image like this one shows many phenotypes, you would never be able to show whole bodies with anything approaching the detail of the current image. But if you are really sure the image should be changed, you should review previous discussion first. In the meantime, I've added the mugshot image to the race section. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 01:39, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

The image is just about perfect because it shows average humans.

  1. Most people aren't particularly dark or light skinned, but a sort of brown.
  2. Most people are from Asia, and most of those from east Asia.
  3. Most people throughout history have been farmers. I don't know if that's true anymore. Maybe a new image should show a pair of factory workers.
  4. People are basically divided into two types: Men and Women. Very few exceptions to this.
  5. Most people are pretty poor, but not shockingly poor.
  6. ?

Agree that the Akha image is very suitable for all the (unsigned) reasons above! I think even if people want to rotate the image to have a different view of humanity every week, that would be fine by me, though a bit silly since the Akha does the job so well. But please never again use a stylized image in which the woman has no vagina. Unbelievably prudish and inaccurate. (talk) 06:10, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

Listen. The man is not happy - whatsoever. She puts on a good face for the camera despite their terrible poverty. And no, mugshots are not acceptable images. Of all pages, let's try and get this one right 'people'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:00, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

The fact that the man seems to be worried and the woman amused are further evidence that these people are representative of the species. People tend to be serious and worried a significant amount of time, and then happy and content a significant amount of time as well. Also, that amount of poverty is pretty average for humans. It seems terrible to you, but there's been no drought or flood and their sacks seem full, so they're good for now, but as peasant farmers know, you never know. Chrisrus (talk) 14:41, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Tangentially, it would be nice if we could somehow use the Face of Tomorrow images (archived site link). (see also a gallery in secondlife). Just a tangent, for your interest. -- Quiddity (talk) 21:33, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

I think the lead image should be agnostic if I can say so. The picture taken from the Pioneer plaque representing a human couple, used on many pages in other languages, is way more suitable to represent all Humans. Indeed it was made to represent humans to "someone" that has never seen one. About the five reasons why the actual image would be right only the fourth one is agreeable. To make an average of human skin colors is pointless. The fact many people is from east is not a good reason. The article is about "Human", not "Far east Human" or "East Human" or "West Human". Again the article is about "Human", not "Human Farmer". Poverty is a condition, not a characteristic. If it was a characteristic, that means there isn't any remote hope for poors to get out of there (maybe is really so but this isn't an article about poverty). Lucaseverini (talk) 18:53, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Pioneer image is also good. Chrisrus (talk) 19:03, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Any photographic image is going to have some issue, but the use of a photographic image is superior to the use of a non-photographic image, so I would tend to oppose changing to one just to avoid bickering over ethnic features. If we do use a non-photographic image, though, the only really acceptable ones are the Pioneer image or the Vitruvian man, and the latter has no female element. Gavia immer (talk) 19:13, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I think maybe a gallery would be in place here, after all the human condition is pretty hard to capture in one photo. Something like what is in the infobox in articles like French people.·Maunus·ƛ· 19:41, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I agree, the human population is too diverse to be summed up in one image.User:play10000 21:26, 17 october 2010 (UTC)
The lead image should be a photograph, which shows what humans actually look like, instead of a line drawing like the Pioneer image. I don't see why we would need a gallery: we do very well with a single lead image for the horse and dog, which are much more variable in appearance than humans are. Ucucha 19:39, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I am not convinced that the best frame of comparison for this article is zoology articles although it does seem to be built on that concept.·Maunus·ƛ· 19:41, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
This should be a zoology article CybergothiChé (talk) 09:00, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Well I allow myself to disagree with that statement.·Maunus·ƛ· 11:36, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
please feel free to CybergothiChé (talk) 10:27, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Dog is a good example. Despite drastic intra-species variation, still only 1 lead image is used. --Cybercobra (talk) 22:05, 26 September 2010 (UTC)


The lead section mentions many positive attributes of this species, but ignores the negative ones. This can be remedied, but requires an honest appraisal of ourselves and our place in the world. Viriditas (talk) 04:26, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

What would you like to add? Something like, "Human beings have spread across and colonised all continents with the exception of Antarctica. In the process they have drastically modified vast swathes of ecological regions and communities across the globe, resulting in the extinction and endangerment of many animals and plants. This has been happening since antiquity, as the spread of humans has been linked to the disappearance of megafauna on several continents"  ??? Casliber (talk · contribs) 04:45, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
PS: There isn't that much in the article either actually, it is repeated at the end of two sections. Habitat and population and the one preceding. Casliber (talk · contribs) 04:48, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
I once again offer my suggestion of "Humans are featherless bipeds indigenous to eastern Africa, which have since been imported to the other habitable continents and quickly become a nuisance species." ;-) --Pfhorrest (talk) 06:29, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately it's October, not April. :) --Cybercobra (talk) 06:47, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Human oestrus and lack thereof

There is some weight given in "Human" to "hidden estrus".

I'd like to take exception or add information on what oestrus is, and why H.sapiens is without it.

Please refer to:

which presents an explanation for oestrus in mammals and therefore, speaks to the loss of oestrus in H.sapiens. I posit that the mitochondrial Eve was the first hominid without oestrus.

The literature of oestrus always dances around the actual explanation as to why the mammal in heat acts as she does. And if you cannot explain it, then how can one hope to tell how it was "hidden", etc. ?

Artist97 (talk) 15:56, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

The article on WebMedCentral was submitted directly by the author to the site only a few days ago, does not appear to have been published in any established peer-reviewed journal, and has never been peer-reviewed on WebMedCentral. The ideas in it are thus original research, which Wikipedia does not publish. Please accept my apologies if I am wrong, but are you the author of the article in question? If so, you should certainly not cite your own original research or add it to Wikipedia. See WP:SELFCITING. Karenjc 08:51, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
Here is some pertinent text from the "publisher"

[10]Our Publication Policy - We publish articles in virtually every biomedical discipline. We aim to publish all articles within 48 hours of submission. All but the clearly irrelevant and unscientific work would be published.

For all real purposes this is a self published work with out any review. Hardyplants (talk) 09:14, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

The reply/comments are a wonderfully clear example of an ad hominem and petty attempt to reduce the entire topic of "hidden oestrus" to an attack upon the journal used as an example. The portion of the response that limits Wiki articles to those NOT the result of original research is valid. However, after noting that the writer decided to belittle the idea by belittling the journal.

Fine if such is consistent but as anyone who has the slightest knowledge of "hidden oestrus" knows, it has been propounded in publications such as The New Scientist for years. And that journal takes as it's main thesis that our behavior is somehow drawn from that of our "hunter gatherer " ancestors. That IS the premise of so-called "evolutionary psychology" . It thereby makes our behaviors perform the magical trick of being constructed from whole cloth, ignoring the species ancestral to our own. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Artist97 (talkcontribs) 16:10, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

No one is "belittle the idea" or "belittling the journal" it is not a valid source per Wikipedia policies. The idea maybe be valid or it may not be, but we need a reference that meets wikipedia guidelines. Hardyplants (talk) 20:21, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
There are a number of books on human evolution that touch on this topic, here is a link to some of them: [11] they can be used as sources for this topic. Hardyplants (talk) 20:25, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
I believe the subject is covered in Why Is Sex Fun? and The Third Chimpanzee and is referred to as concealed ovulation or cryptic ovulation. Wapondaponda (talk) 04:41, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
@Artist97: if you construed my comment as an ad hominem attack I regret it. What I wanted to say, and am happy to try to explain again, is: Wikipedia has well-defined policies and guidelines covering original research and reliable sources. These are pretty strictly enforced, because they lie at the heart of what the enyclopaedia is all about. The material you proposed to insert in Human, and the only source you offered for it, appeared very likely to violate those policies and guidelines, so on the face of it it would not be suitable for inclusion and would probably be removed by another editor if it was inserted. I read the journal's submission and review procedures before I wrote my comment and I remain convinced that the article in question does not currently qualify as a reliable Wikipedia source for the reasons given, particularly if any new material relies solely on it. My belief that the proposed addition was probably original research was strengthened by the phrase "I posit that ..."; I'm afraid this is a huge red flag for any proposed addition to Wikipedia, which does not publish or cite new unreviewed theories. I also felt it appropriate to link to WP:SELFCITING, since a paper published for just a few days would be known to relatively few people including the author, who might just hope to cite his/her new publication as a source when adding ideas to a very public and popular site like this one, unaware that this is not permitted. The bottom line is that if you can add uncontroversial content on any subject to this encyclopaedia, supporting it with solid, reliable citations, it is (a) welcome and (b) almost certain to stick. If you can improve the description of "hidden oestrus" in Human without introducing new unreviewed theories by you or anyone else, citing only reliable mainstream sources for your edits, nobody will bat an eyelid, I assure you. Karenjc 18:08, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

This whole article appears to be a painstaking attempt to be diverse and avoid condemnation of racism or cultural bias. This article is on the English Wikipedia site, and should therefore show examples which are easily relatable to English speakers. Of course any race can be found in English speaking countries, but not too many peasant farmers, or banana trading villagers. They are simply not representative. The majority of humans live in urban, not rural environments. One of the defining differences of homo sapiens is their ability to develop and use tools, so a couple teenagers texting while driving a car would illuminate the difference between humans and their ancestors better than the image shown. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:16, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Homo sapiens sapiens

Minor point: the Evolution section currently links the text "Homo sapiens sapiens", which circularly redirects to this article. I'd remove the link myself but it's semi-protected and I don't want to sign up. (talk) 10:02, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Fixed --Cybercobra (talk) 11:08, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Religious/Creationist content

Please remove the following and the associated footnote: "Legally, Human being is defined as a reference to "monster". Monster is legally defined as follows: "A human being by birth, but in some part resembling a lower animal. "A monster... hath no inheritable blood and cannot be heir to any land, although it hath deformity in any part of it's body, yet if it hath human shape, it may be heir." 2 Bl. Comm. 246".[6]

This has nothing to do with the rest of the article, is not science, and is inappropriate proselytizing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:49, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

This was added to the article and immediately removed, and for me it is no longer visible. If it still appears for you, try doing a hard reload (Ctrl+Refresh on Internet Explorer, or Shift+Reload on Firefox) and it should no longer appear. Gavia immer (talk) 00:40, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
The reversion was done after the IP above posted his comment, so he probably doesn't even need to hard reload. (I'm curious where the IP gets "religions/creationist" from that edit though. It is certainly strange, but religious how?)
To the comment Marcus Quertyus left in his edit summary while reverting it: not that I'm contesting the reversion, but I don't think it was a joke edit. It was poorly written and indirectly sourced, but the link in the reference (itself not a reliable source) included scans of a law dictionary (which would be a reliable source) containing the quoted text (under "Monster", with "Human being" saying: "See Monster"). The same editor (Terebigemuwan) recently added another quote from another law dictionary indirectly cited through that same link to Person, which was of similarly poor quality but much more innocuous. Terebigemuwan, if you're reading, was there some point you were trying to make with this (other than just the odd curiosity of it), that could perhaps be made in some better way? --Pfhorrest (talk) 03:20, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
The content was sourced from, which is probably why the original poster titled this section that way. The point being made is that at least one particular authority on law (Black's Law Dictionary) refuses to define what a human being is, its dictionary listing for human simply being "see monster". This does not necessarily represent a worldwide view, however. Soap 11:09, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
Also the article should not cater to the political correct mindset either, when it comes to definition of race, gender and aging. They are too sensitive subjects in the realm of anthropological science, but genetics established a few major and minor "racial" differences among individuals or groups of people. However, an African, a female, someone with a physical disability and an elderly person are no "lesser" than the white young adult Male without a disability. One of the serious flaws in human nature of psychology is our drive to self-perfection in social eugenics, which produced the evil ideologies of Nazism, extreme socialism and racial segregation to control or weed out "weaker" or inferior humans. Scientifically, humans can vary from one to another, and until the 1980's you had scientists agreed the Human species is divided into four major phsyio-anatomical "races" while they maintained a factual sensse there is only one human species: Caucasoids, Negroids, Mongoloids and Australoids. But the same field of science recently developed in the 20th century was the discovery of the importance of human genes, not "race" per se, is responsible for making whole groups of humans differ in external appearance...but not separate classes or sub-species. And there is no human "race" with higher intelligence or morally superior than another "race", therefore the idea of human racial scientific data is more of a social construct. Whether or not humans can appear short, tall, thin, large, brown, bronze, beige, olive, tan, black and white...and most of all, male and female...does not define the character, but does contribute to human society in diverse cultures, belief systems and most of all, genetic source of reproduction onto continuing the human species. + (talk) 01:43, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
What do you think is so P.C. about it? Where's the catering? I fail to see any bias or pandering whatsoever. (talk) 16:45, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Brain size, IQ

Why is there no mention of average brain size or IQ in this article when, comparatively, this is one of the defining characteristics of Homo sapiens? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:34, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

Human brain size is addressed here. Intelligence (albeit not IQ per se) is addressed here. Both are alluded to in the second paragraph of the lead section. What's missing? Rivertorch (talk) 01:32, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
Also IQ is a concept only applicable to humans. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:42, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Qesem Cave

The recently reported discovery of what appear to be 400,000 year-old Homo sapiens teeth in Israel might deserve a sentence in the article. (talk) 20:18, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

Discussion of that is underway elsewhere on this page. Rivertorch (talk) 06:22, 1 January 2011 (UTC)


I noticed that this article was written kind of like it's assumed the person reading it is not a human...

Interesting.... (talk) 11:16, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

I know, it's weird. But the only alternative is writing in the first person, which tends to sound un-academic. Soap 11:50, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
There's apparently a FAQ since this question has come up before; now linked at the top of the page. I want to add, though, that the strangeness is not deriving entirely from the third person writing, but also the inclusion of so many obvious facts in the article, such as "humans are among the most numerous of the primates". However, I think a good case for including each of them can be made. There's been some talk of deleting the sections towards the bottom that deal more with culture, and just have this article be about biology, but that seems to have not won out. Soap 13:33, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Human origins

Two things - one, there is a lot that is not known firmly, these dates are all iffy, and that should be noted. The only thing dating humans back 200k years are the Omo remains, and there are some questions there (although it is possible they are 200k years old). The next most recent homo sapiens found were in Jebel Irhoud 160k years ago - so if it is ever concluded Omo was mis-calculated, this number could be off 40k years or so.

Also - while human skeletons are the same as modern skeletons for the past 150k years, as the article says we did not see modern human behavior (such as cave paintings, Venus figurines etc.) until 50k years ago. Is this due to evolutionary changes in the human brain? A slow development in human production and society? There are different theories but no one really knows yet. While humans have had the same skeletons for over 150k years, there is the possibility that the DNA mutation creating the modern human brain did not occur until 50k years ago. These things should be considered in the article explanation. Adelson Velsky Landis (talk) 11:10, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Avi Gopher and team, of University of Tel Aviv's Institute of Archaeology, have found evidence in the form of teeth, that date Homo Sapiens back to 400 000 years ago, in Israel. The testings have been done over several years prima facie, this puts into dispute the idea of African origins for humanity. Please see the news article, which I'm sure is available through other outlets too. Perhaps more research should be done. We can never assume science to be static, nor any idea to be absolutely resolved. (talk) 04:06, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

For such a big claim, it's probably wise to wait for the rebuttals. After all, it's just now being published. Although if it's published in a good, peer-reviewed journal, I don't see why we shouldn't offer a brief mention in the article... as long as it doesn't sound definitive. – VisionHolder « talk » 04:21, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
I read an article about this yesterday and have been pondering. What Visionholder says makes sense, with an emphasis on the word brief. Rivertorch (talk) 05:26, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
It is accepted generally that Mitochondrial Eve existed roughly 200k years ago. Such a date is consistent with placing humans 150k years back (or 200k). Genjix (talk) 03:14, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
So, still no brief mention about it? I think it should be pointed out that it's under discussion, at least. Esn (talk) 06:00, 6 February 2011 (UTC)


I have removed this sentence for now:

As a whole, partriarchal societies (i.e., in which men hold the greater degree of economic and political power) have been predominant, and matriarchal or egalitarian societies less common.


1) Because partriarchal is not a word

2) Because there is more to patriarchal/matriarchal societies than male/female differences.

3) Due to #2, I do not think this belongs in the gender section

I don't have a problem with the sentiment, it is an important point, it just has to be re-written in put in a different section. Aside from having male/female differences, there are historical trends as well. Adelson Velsky Landis (talk) 11:25, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Greetings Adelson! I restored the sentence. It pertains clearly to the section "Gender roles". I ask you, in what other section should it be under? Since the section is called Gender roles (explicitly), I don’t see any other section it should be under. Besides, as you said, "patriarchal/matriarchal (that is gender roles) has more to them than just male/female differences", so I fail to see your point in the removal. The section speaks of "gender role" not of "gender". How is "patriarchal" not a word!? Efiiamagus (talk) 05:53, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
You are missing a few points. I said "partriarchal is not a word" and then you ask the question - How is "patriarchal" not a word!? Obviously patriarchal is a word, and I never said it wasn't, so why are you asking in such a puzzled manner why I would say it isn't when I never did say that - what I said was partiarchal is not a word. Perhaps you should read what is actually said and not misquote me, anyone reading can see what was actually said.
Gender roles, with men wearing suits and women wearing dresses is far removed from the structure of patriarchal and matriarchal societies. Clearly this does not belong in this section.
I spelled out my thoughts in my original last paragraph. You clearly did not care to deal with any of this and just reverted my edit. You even re-inserted the spelling error which has been discussed here, which is an indication of how much, or little, care and thought you put into reverting the edit. I am removing the sentence again, with the thoughts of my last paragraph above in mind ("I don't have a problem...") which I will not reiterate here. Adelson Velsky Landis (talk) 04:56, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
Greetings Adel! I will just give a reason as to why the sentence should not be removed from the topic “gender roles”.
Patriarchal or matriarchal societies are based on “gender roles”. In fact it is all about "gender roles".
1) Matriarchy refers to a gynecocentric social system, in which the leading role is taken by the female and especially by the mothers of a community.
2) Patriarchy refers to an androcentric social system in which the leading role is taken by the male and where fathers hold authority.
That sentence is well structured (aside from the misspelling) is clear and concise and gets the points across nicely, and it pertains to the topic “gender roles”. After all it is a fact that pertaining to gender roles, patriarchal societies have been predominant.
So it doesn’t matter what “you (or me) believe”, in WP the criteria for inclusion is verifiability not “belief” or “truth” (see: WP:V). So until you can give a better reason for the exclusion/removal. The sentence is a verifiable argument, and not subject to removal. If your removal is solely based on the misspelling of patriarchal (with partriarchal). That is not reason enough to remove it.
“Gender roles” (and “gender relationships”) is a whole topic apart, and this is not the place to discuss it. But that sentence is good assessment of “gender roles” in general. To give some due weight on the matter, the expert consensus is that not only matriarchal societies where few; they state that “solely matriarchal” societies where in fact non-existent. So it is a fair and educated statement to say that patriarchal societies in general where predominant. I will reinstate the sentence, until you can give a source, of why patriarchies and matriarchies are not based on “gender roles”. (I corrected the typo in patriarchal)Thank you! Efiiamagus (talk) 08:10, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
I'm confused by the "Because partriarchal is not a word" thing too... Could you spell that out for us? Thanks. Genjix (talk) 03:16, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Hi, Genjix! Partriarchal, spelled with an extra 'r' (p-a-R-t-r-i-a-r-c-h-a-l) is a word that does not exist. :) It took me a couple of tries to figure that one out too. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:28, 10 February 2011 (UTC)


I do not see a section on human's curiosity towards understanding natural phenomena, from electrons, to galaxies, from sequencing genes, to psychoanalysis, and so on. It seems there should be a whole sections on how humans, through the use of observation and experimentation, attempt to explain, classify, and comprehend, for lack of a better phrase, the mysteries of the universe. Personally, I wouldn't know how to approach writing a section on said topic, but I'm sure there are some of you out there who can tackle a science section, and probably a link to a more detailed page, such as one to "Science" itself. Or a reason why this isn't necessary. Wexash (talk) 17:57, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Maybe because that's more about human philosophy or behavior, rather than about physical humans? I can't say I'm sure. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:29, 10 February 2011 (UTC)


Please discuss this subtopic in the Diet Plus Section below this.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

I have been bold and edited the diet of humans to frugivore with accompanying reference, but was requested to take it on the talk page because the sentence was correct. Are there any objections to my proposed sentence: Sopastar (talk) 19:54, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

The reference provided is not to a peer reviewed article, but to a report of one, one that is from 1979. I think the one we have now is more current, and is a peer reviewed article. Dbrodbeck (talk) 20:15, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
This was brought up before and rejected: Talk:Human/Archive_31#Humans_Are_Biological_Frugivores --Cybercobra (talk) 20:16, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

I think that the validity of an article should not be determined by its age. I see that it probably is inappropriate to have a report as a reference, but what is wrong with the article itself? I can't find any consensual rejection in that discussion. Either way; that cannot be used as an argument. Sopastar (talk) 21:21, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

So what's your understanding of why your source does not agree with the source which is currently used in the article? --Cybercobra (talk) 23:09, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
I reverted Sopastar's change for two reasons. First, application to humans of the frugivore label seemed either like wishful thinking or simply outdated. Omnivore, on the other hand, is reflective of what humans actually eat, not necessarily what they ought to eat or what their distant ancestors ate. Second, the link led to a page that, when it f i n a l l y loaded, seemed less than entirely trustworthy, with advertising galore and inadequate documentation of the article in question. Bottom line: claims of frugivorousness seem fringe, at best, for the purposes of this article and should require both impeccable sourcing and careful attention to context and avoidance of undue weight. Rivertorch (talk) 06:37, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

My understanding is that my source explains its statements, and points to 'evidence', whereas the current one only states information. That doesn't mean that they do not agree; but there was neither anything in the current one that supported the fact that the diet of humans mainly comprised of fruits in the beginning nor denied it. All is not as it seems, and what seems like wishful thinking to you may not necessarily seem like that to anyone else. I actually said 'biologically'; not 'ought to be'. The sentence can be changed to 'Originally comprised of fruits mainly, but does not anymore' if it makes it better; but that doesn't change its meaning. Sopastar (talk) 08:49, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

The reliability of a source is primarily determined by who published it and how, not by whether it cites other sources (which in turn may or may not be reliable sources). Lots of citations in a work do not necessarily make it a reliable or mainstream source. In the end, the reliability of a source is subject to a consensus of the Wikipedia community (and not just of a few editors shaping a particular article). -- Donald Albury 12:05, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

I did not mean other sources as in other peoples' findings. I meant pointing to evidence in the actual study. Saying 'The structure of the teeth points to a diet of mainly fruits.' instead of just 'The diet was fruits' like in the current reference grants better understanding. Anyone could say anything and sign it with a scientist's name, and I therefore believe in explaining why something is and not just stating it. In this case both articles are probably true, and neither contradicts the other. Is there anyone denying the actual article's reliability? Sopastar (talk) 14:04, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I am. Chimps are now known to regularly eat live animals, so a study showing that humans are similar to chimps cannot be used to argue humans are natural frugivores or even natural vegetarians. In fact, this should come as no surprise, since chimps' teeth are pretty scary, and if anything I would say that humans are more inclined to eating soft stuff than chimps are, but the article you're linking to isn't using that argument. Soap 14:28, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Also, I just noticed another sentence: From the perspective of physiology, our human biology and digestion most closely resemble our closest cousin in the animal kingdom, the orangutan. Am I just misunderstanding the sentence, or is that actually wrong? 'Tangs are not our closest cousins by any system of classification that I know of. Unless by "the perspective of physiology" they mean they're going by phenotype instead of by genotype. Which is okay I guess but makes the sentence a tautology. One could reword it as "Humans most closely resemble the species that we most closely resemble." Soap 14:34, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

Even if it shouldn't, it does come as a surprise actually; since the article states that they are frugivorous. If you look at the teeth of the exclusively vegetarian gorilla, you would find that the scariness of teeth is not always a good measure of diet.Sopastar (talk) 13:08, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

This is correct, perhaps I shouldnt have included the thing about the teeth, but it still isn't my main point. Soap 21:14, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Please look at the P. Troglodytes article, they are omnivores too. Humans are omnivores. This discussion has been had already, there is no consensus to change the article. Let us move on Dbrodbeck (talk) 13:15, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

The P. paniscus are frugivores. Me looking at another article doesn't change that fact, and does in no way prove that humans are omnivores (and it doesn't have to – I said 'originally' and not 'currently'). What are you getting at? The question was if the teeth are proof of a particular diet, and they obviously are not. As I said earlier: it does not matter if the discussion has been had. Sopastar (talk) 14:31, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

You wrote "humans are biologically frugivores" in the article. Soap 21:14, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it does matter. Consensus can change, but clearly the information you've brought to this resurrection of the discussion hasn't effected that change. Personally, I'd be glad to revisit the topic if new findings warrant it, but for now I agree with Dbrodbeck that it's best to move on. Rivertorch (talk) 17:05, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
I think this fugivore stuff is just wishful thinking motivated by personal belief. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:16, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
The article says mostly frugivorous, not frugivorous. They regularly eat small squirrels and occasionally eat larger animals including each other. That bonobos are primarily vegetarian is still unquestionably true, but they're not vegetarian the way animals such as cows and horses are. I mean you're never gonna catch a cow stuffing a live rabbit in its mouth, even if the cow is really really hungry, right? Soap 19:56, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Please read the article Frugivore. It doesn't mean an animal that doesn't eat meat. It doesn't mean an animal that isn't an omnivore. It just means an animal whose diet features fruit. Humans are omnivores and frugivores, both. This debate is misinformed. Chrisrus (talk) 06:08, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

By turns, humans are vegetarians, carnivores, frugivores, insectivores, piscivores and I don't know what else. But we usually apply the "-vore" terms to describe the primary element of a diet (cats are carnivores, seals and penguins are piscivores, fruit-bats are frugivores, anteaters are insectivores, etc.). That is why "omnivore" is such an apt description of humans. -- Donald Albury 11:03, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
You are right, it usually does, and therein lies the problem with using the word in this article. Unless the article frugivore is wrong, that word is different from the other words you mention. It means "has a diet featuring fruit" and is an important concept for botony. People who study plants that produce fruit discuss the relationships between the plant and it's frugivores. The Maned Wolf and grizzlies and so on are very important frugivores because of the seeds they disperse. In these discussions, there is no worry about what percentage of the animal's diet is fruit. Saying that humans are fruigivores is pretty meaningless and I worry about it's effect on the reader. The word seems to be, in conversations like the above and at vegetarian propagandist sites, misunderstood to mean that humans are vegetarians. If we say "humans are frugivores" people may think we are saying that we are not also omnivores and carnivores, but vegetarians. It would be better to say "humans eat fruit", but that may be about as useful and informative as saying "humans have elbows". Chrisrus (talk) 13:11, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
The article says (my italics)'It can be any type of herbivore or omnivore where fruit is a preferred food type. Martin Hogbin (talk) 20:21, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Taken out of context and with a phrase removed, this quotation is deseptive. The article is almost entirely about the fugivore's role in seed dispersal, that being the topic in which the word "frugivore" is most useful. The idea that frugivores are vegitarians or herbivores is just wrong, although they might be, they mostly are not. Selecting this text makes it seem as if a Chimp or a maned wolf or another frugivore would pass up meat in favor of fruit, which is going beyond what that article says. A frugivore is an animal that eats enough fruit for it to be significant from a botanical perspective, that is all. What else it eats or does with its time is not implied. Chrisrus (talk) 15:29, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Humans are herbivores. [2] [3]

Humans are not omnivores since omnivores cannot get atherosclerosis unless their thyroids are removed. Also, many scientific reports have concluded that humans do best on a plant based diet. Please be neutral about the issue and let science prevail.

Also, omnivores and carnivores can eat purifying meat and have a wide mouth, unlike humans who have a very small mouth. They cannot eat raw meat without getting paralyzed. One exception is salt water meat where the salt kills the bacterias. The US military does not recommend eating raw meat that you catch in the wild.

If I kill an animal, can I eat it raw?

Meat comes with a warning that it must be throughly cooked before eating it. If any food substance comes in contact with meat, it too must be throughly cooked.

Every year, thousands of people die due to improperly cooked meat.

MRSA in Meat: Why No Recall?

In 2005, U.S. hospitals treated more than 278,000 MRSA cases. Nearly 100,000 people faced life threatening illness and 18,650 died: 50 percent more than the number of AIDS death that year.

Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian diets

Humans lack ability to eat natural meat. Animal protein and fat has been linked with cancers, diabetes and heart diseases. All citations are in the paper above.

There is a lot of science supporting this. This cannot be simply dismissed based on emotions.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Your selective quotations are more a a result of wishful thinking than a quest for knowledge. Let me start by asking you this. At what stage in their evolution were all humans vegetarian? Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:02, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Oh and IP, the dietician article I don't think says we are herbivores, and the other two are frankly of no use to us here. Please read WP:SOAP and WP:RS. Dbrodbeck (talk) 14:06, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Re "[O]mnivores and carnivores can eat purifying meat and have a wide mouth, unlike humans who have a very small mouth. They cannot eat raw meat without getting paralyzed: I can't imagine what "purifying meat" is, but I'm thinking of all those poor steak tartare eaters who can't have second helpings without someone feeding it to them because the first serving paralyzed them. The idea of "behavioral" versus "anatomical" 'vores is an interesting one, but I'm unaware of any such distinction being made by scientists in the relevant field. This topic never goes away, does it? Rivertorch (talk) 17:22, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
No one really knows for certain, but I believe the most common explanation for how we got by in the old days without big mouths and powerful stomachs is not that we were eating strictly fruits and other plants, but that we were getting most of our calories from cooked meat, with the low-calories plant products just delivering vitamins that could not be gained from meat. Cooked meat is much more tender than raw, so sharp teeth are not necessary, and any parasites that were living in the animal when it was alive are likely to be dead after it has been cooked, so the stomach can relax and stop burning so many scarce calories trying to digest the raw meat. See Invention_of_fire#Changes_to_behavior. Not everyone agrees that these evolutionary changes all came after the invention of fire; indeed, it's apparently a minority opinion among scholars in the field. But even those others generally believe that humans got most of their calories from meat, and possibly fish, rather than from plants. The alternative explanation for the evolution of smaller jaws and teeth is that it allowed more room for the brain to grow inside the skull. I'm not sure it's possible to tease out the differences in stomach digestive activity since bodily organs are never preserved intact. Soap 17:49, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Since when did humans started to eat meat? Right after the invention of controlled fire (humans cannot eat raw meat and must denature them) and in societies with limited access to plant food. The resources I sited are legitimate scientific sources: and "We think we are one, we act as if we are one, but we are not one" paper. It clearly mentions that humans are anatomical herbivores. How many more people have to die of a heart attack, diabetes or cancers since we finally accept this?
Talking about pushing a "propaganda", Its a matter of culture and upbringing. Wikipedia and this article are written/created by meat-eaters. Saying anything against meat puts them in cognitive dissonance and its an uncomfortable state of mind to be in. This issue is really about who shouts the loudest. If wikipedia would have been created by a vegetarian society, and the 800+ people watching this page were vegetarians,then things would have been different. I personally come from a vegetarian culture, and there are many vegetarian villages in my country where people do not consume any animal products including diary. If these people wrote wikipedia and this article, they would have written them differently. This page is a violation of WP:NPOV since even in the existence of a mountain of evidence spelling out clearly that humans are herbivores, the meat-eating culture will simply not add even a word remotely hinting about it.
There is ample evidence, both macro and micro - biology wise that humans are herbivores. Animal products contain trans fats and animal protein. National Academy of Sciences concluded that the ideal transfat needed for human body is zero and that animal protein is linked to cancer.
Again, Omnivores don't get atherosclerosis. Why do humans get them? Because they are herbivores. Here is a chart:

Carnivore: Reduced to allow wide mouth gape Herbivore: Well-developed Omnivore: Reduced Human: Well-developed

JAW TYPE Carnivore:

Angle not expanded Herbivore: Expanded angle Omnivore: Angle not expanded Human: Expanded angle


On same plane as molar teeth Herbivore: Above the plane of the molars Omnivore: On same plane as molar teeth Human: Above the plane of the molars

JAW MOTION Carnivore:

Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion Herbivore: No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back Omnivore: Shearing; minimal side-to-side Human: No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back


Carnivore: Temporalis Herbivore: Masseter and pterygoids Omnivore: Temporalis Human: Masseter and pterygoids


Carnivore: Large Herbivore: Small Omnivore: Large Human: Small


Short and pointed Herbivore: Broad, flattened and spade shaped Omnivore: Short and pointed Human: Broad, flattened and spade shaped

TEETH (CANINES) Carnivore:

Long, sharp and curved Herbivore: Dull and short or long (for defense), or none Omnivore: Long, sharp and curved Human: Short and blunted


Carnivore: Sharp, jagged and blade shaped Herbivore: Flattened with cusps vs complex surface Omnivore: Sharp blades and/or flattened Human: Flattened with nodular cusps


Carnivore: None; swallows food whole Herbivore: Extensive chewing necessary Omnivore: Swallows food whole and/or simple crushing Human: Extensive chewing necessary


Carnivore: No digestive enzymes Herbivore: Carbohydrate digesting enzymes Omnivore: No digestive enzymes Human: Carbohydrate digesting enzymes


Carnivore: Simple Herbivore: Simple or multiple chambers Omnivore: Simple Human: Simple


Carnivore: Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach Herbivore: pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach Omnivore: Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach Human: pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach


Carnivore: 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract Herbivore: Less than 30% of total volume of digestive tract Omnivore: 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract Human: 21% to 27% of total volume of digestive tract


Carnivore: 3 to 6 times body length Herbivore: 10 to more than 12 times body length Omnivore: 4 to 6 times body length Human: 10 to 11 times body length


Carnivore: Simple, short and smooth Herbivore: Long, complex; may be sacculated Omnivore: Simple, short and smooth Human: Long, sacculated


Carnivore: Can detoxify vitamin A Herbivore: Cannot detoxify vitamin A Omnivore: Can detoxify vitamin A Human: Cannot detoxify vitamin A


Carnivore: Extremely concentrated urine Herbivore: Moderately concentrated urine Omnivore: Extremely concentrated urine Human: Moderately concentrated urine


Carnivore: Sharp claws Herbivore: Flattened nails or blunt hooves Omnivore: Sharp claws Human: Flattened nails Manuj Chandra (talk) 06:15, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Manuj Chandra, please read WP:SYNTH. None of those articles mention the word herbivore, at least that I could see. OK, to be honest after the first four seemed only tangentially related to the diet discussion I stopped. A facebook page? Please read WP:RS. There is no violation of WP:NPOV there is a violation on this talk page though of WP:SOAP. Can we please move on? Dbrodbeck (talk) 13:11, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
@Dbrodbeck read more carefully.
Are human beings herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?
Although most of us conduct our lives as omnivores, in that we eat flesh as well as vegetables and fruits, human beings have characteristics of herbivores, not carnivores.
Here is an scan from: (The original paper is paid i think). I made the facebook photo so that people who don't have access to the paper can see it. Please go to a library and verify:
Like I said before, meat comes with a "handling warning". It cannot be eaten raw (exceptions being frozen lands and saltwater that kills the bacteria). If humans are omnivores, why can they eat raw meat like other carnivores/omnivores do and why do they get atherosclerosis? Why do they get cancers, heart diseases and diabetes on animal based foods?
That said, please can someone give me a "precise requirement" of what proof is required to acknowledge the fact that humans are herbivores? Whatever proof is needed I will produce. I repeat again, kindly let me know, what will you accept as a proof that humans are herbivores?
I added two perfectly legitimate government and scientific sources but they were deleted. I have read all about relevant research and sources. If these are not relevant citations, then what are? You dont want references from the American journal of Cardiology, you don't want it from a government website, you don't want one from pubmed, you certainly dont want one from facebook :). Seriously, what do you want?
I want to precisely know, what is wrong with these 2 citations:
Writing things like "can we move on?", "it never ends!" etc will not suffice. I need the exact specification of the requirements to get that line changed. I will produce them. Manuj Chandra (talk) 15:17, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
My apologies if my remarks seemed directed at you specifically; if you've been watching this page for a while or have delved through its archives (a good idea, btw), you would understand how wearisome the repetitiveness can get. In any case, you appear to have some misconceptions about how Wikipedia works. For starters, please thoroughly and carefully read the Wikipedia policies on Verifiability and Original research, paying particular attention in the latter to the sections on primary sources and synthesis, and also the guideline on reliable sources. You ask about providing "proof" of "the fact that humans are herbivores", but Wikipedia doesn't deal in "proof". Your question about the two links could be answered in several ways, but in a nutshell I'd say that the sources in no way demonstrate the existence of consensus within the relevant scientific disciplines that humans are herbivores. If "the exact specification of the requirements to get that line changed" existed, it likely would have been changed long ago; this article is watched by a great many seasoned editors, and by and large they're a competent bunch. I'm leaving a note on your talk page that expands a bit on this last point. Rivertorch (talk) 16:29, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
Most of the traits you posit for carnivores are really specific to Carnivora, which is just one small subset of animals that eats meat. Fish, for example, mostly eat meat, and yet they have only a few traits in common with carnivora. The rest are mostly explained by the fact that humans generally eat cooked meat, which is effectively a separate food group from raw meat and has no parallel in the animal kingdom. But you can't just say that because we aren't built for eating raw meat, we must be built for eating exclusively vegetables. If you want to base dietary recommendations on what animals eat, wouldnt it make sense to stop eating rice, wheat, corn, and other grains, since all those foods didn't exist (at least in their modern forms) before humans cultivated them? Soap 02:13, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
When I first edited wikipeidia, I was personally attacked. I raised an alarm WP:PERSONAL but it went unheard. The current citation on wikipedia diet does not say anywhere that humans are omnivores. It merely says that humans behaved like omnivores and that this helped them survive which may be true. This is quite different from saying that humans are not herbivores. Also, you sited a "concensus" that scientists believe that humans are omnivores. I would like to see this consensus please. Like you so rightfully mentioned, wikipedia does not deal with "proofs". Its mostly just opinion pieces. Its all about a group of like minded people hijacking a page. When "proof" is presented, you're conveniently reminded that its not about "proof", but number of people hijacking a page. I made a very balanced and well referenced edit that "Humans are behavioral omnivores but anatomical herbivores". This serves both sides. It doesn't deny that humans dont act like omnivores, but also acknoleges the scientific fact that humans are herbivores. Your objection to fish is somewhat correct but understand that there are many herbivore fish too and that in nature exceptions often exist like the platypus which both lays eggs and suckle. 'Vegetarian Piranha': Dicto simpliciter. You are grouping all fish as one.
I have been accused of pushing a propaganda, bias, etc. The truth is that its you who are pushing a propaganda and are biased towards meat. I don't deny I am not biased too. We are both biased, you just have numbers on your side. For this very reason wikipedia is not allowed to be cited in serious work of science and logic. Numerous attempts were made to dissuade me from editing even when I was polite and was adhering to the protocols. Basically, I was told to "play nice" or just "move on". I am not moving on. I asked two very simple questions, a) Whats wrong with the 2 links I cited from American Journal of Cardiology and b) what will it take to change that line. None of my raised concerned were addressed, except from the "fish" argument that is demonstrably flawed too. The answer is 1600 people. You have 800+ on your side, if I can get 1600+, I can get that line changed. And I can get 1600 people if I want. But thats not the point. You will get another 3200 because you are in the majority and it's never about the proof anyways.
I admit I cannot shout louder than you. You win. I will take mediawiki and I will create my own encyclopedia. Then I will cite my proofs. What's the point of an encyclopedia that cannot even be used in a real work of science? Its just a party of pseudo-intellectuals. I will create one that cares about proof and proof only. Since does not work by consensus. If their is only one person in the world who has demonstrated using the scientific protocols that earth is not flat, then it doesn't matter what 10 billion people think. You are right. I now understand how wikipedia works.
@soap I am not here to discuss diet / ethics. I am here to discuss science. When science says humans are herbivores, it means they process plant protein, plant fiber, plant phytochemicals, and plant micro/macro-nutrients the best. Rice, wheat, corn, and other grains all contain these elements. It doesn't matter if they existed before or are recent inventions or any new GMO food in the future. They are composed of plant protein, plant fiber, plant phytochemicals, and plant micro/macro-nutrients. I can site more scientific evidence and peer-reviewed papers such as these : and and but there is no point since its not about "proof" but "consensus", which unfortunately I do not have. Ciao! Manuj Chandra (talk) 05:52, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Someone posted on my user page: What about fossil records?

Fossil records only indicate that humans have been de-naturing meat by cooking it in order to eat it. I never contested this fact. But this doesn't take anything away from the fact that cooking meat releases PhIP, a carcinogen.

Since humans are herbivores, they lack the stomach and mouth acidity or intestine length to kill the bacteria and get rid of putrefying meat out of the body fast. Like I wrote, and for this very reason, meat comes with warning More people die of meat bacteria than aids virus. Therefore, meat has to be radiated and cooked to get rid of the bacteria. But, cooking meat releases carcinogens.

Manuj Chandra (talk) 14:50, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Honestly, Manuj Chandra, a paper from 1892 has basically no bearing in present-day study of biology. It's just too old. It would make a nice source for a history class concerning what humans formerly thought ourselves to have been. That's history, however, and History and Biology are separate departments at every university or even every high school that I know of; so, as they say in a court of law, the jury is instructed to disregard that evidence. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 07:29, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Arbitrary break

Manuj Chandra, this is not an article giving dietary advice but an article on humans. [restored sig] Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:10, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Apart from this paper, the others purport the health benefits of vegetarian diets but make no claim to our natural diet status. If you could present more papers like that one then it can be added to the article that some scientists think we're natural herbivores. However it's most definitely wrong that mainstream science reckons humans to be naturally herbivorous- we have many carnivorous adaptations such as forward facing eyes, canines, a simple digestive system and vitamins mostly found in meat. Read more here and here. Sure we might eat too much meat in the modern day, but we are still definitely omnivores. Genjix (talk) 03:37, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
The two articles you cited are very old and I hope you will agree not very reliable and overturned by latest findings. Please see :: ( The Comparative Anatomy of Eating by Milton R. Mills, M.D.,). Forward facing eyes are used for depth perception which is useful for an ape as he jumps from trees to trees. If an ape doesn't have forward facing eyes, he can misjudge the distance and fall to his grave. Meat is never chewed but swallowed. Canines are only useful for hunting/tearing, not chewing(meat is never chewed - the digestion starts from mouth and we lack any chemicals to digest meat in the mouth Canines also have to be supplemented with a wide mouth. Our mouths are very small. Plus our canines are flat and cannot be used for penetration or tearing. That said, canines are useful for cracking hard to open nuts and peeling sugarcanes / bamboos. Although we have a simple digestive system, many herbivores also have them. The distinguishing factor is intestine length, not complexity. Omnivores have small intestines so meat can be quickly ejected before it putrefies or the trans-fat gets absorbed. Humans don't have that luxury, and get atherosclerosis, which omnivores cannot get, unless their thyroids are removed. Therefore we get heart attacks.
Please understand the nature of science. Science is very clear that we cannot eat raw meat (with 2 exceptions, see above) and we cannot process cooked meat. Also, the meat based diet, even in small quantities increase cancer risk. See the paper cited above. According to ADA, even 100 grams of meat ups cancer risk significantly (ADA, Volume 109, Issue 7, Pages 1266-1282 (July 2009)). Dairy too has been linked with many cancers, (papers cited). Put two and two together.
If we really are omnivores, we should be able to eat raw meat, meat will not need radiating and through cooking as the warning labels suggest. Meat bacterias will not kill more people than AIDS. We will be more healthy and live longer on an omnivore diet and an omnivore diet will not give us cancers, heart attacks, diabetes etc. We all know this is not the case. ALL scientific and logical lines of reasoning point towards the fact that humans are herbivores.
I am proposing a compromise. Look, there are legitimate sources that spell out that humans are herbivores. And science only needs one solid meta analysis/proof. We have them all. We have two meta analysis from ADA and DC, and we have many papers to prove that meat kills - cooked and uncooked. Plus we have the abstract from AJC. I have read what constitutes as relevant sources and these do. Please understand my horror. Lets not dish out "subconscious" fatal advice. Real humans lives are at stake. Lets not fall into the trap of "wikiality": "together we can create a reality that we all agree on — the reality we just agreed on." Whats even more horrible is that children are being fed this and they too are getting sick. They don't have the knowledge or ability to resist.
I propose this compromise edit: "Many scientists believe that humans are omnivores, however, some maintain that humans are herbivores." We will properly cite ONLY latest scientific citations to back up both claims and let people go and further explore themselves. We should not decide this on their behalf. - Manuj Chandra (talk) 05:47, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
I propose we stick with the scientific consensus, and not give undue weight to an editors original research. We should stick with policy. Dbrodbeck (talk) 13:11, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
The concenses is that humans are herbivores. Most doctors, in the west, hold this view in closet. The reason why they don't come out with it in open is because they fear the backlash and believe that people will not [listen].
Silent majorities do not even count as minorities for wikipedia purposes untill they speak up.·Maunus·ƛ· 12:13, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Do note that there are people dying because of insufficient meat and protein in their diet as well. If you search up vegan starved baby (no quotes) you can see a lot of news reports showing how people who refused to take doctors' advice to feed their children a balanced diet ended up killing their children slowly. This is not just multiple news reports about the same thing, it's happened again and again. "Vegan" and "vegetarian" usually refer to quite distinct diets in Western culture, but both are based on the same ideas. Soap 13:34, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
This is hardly an argument against a herbivore human then against an unbalanced diet. Any diet, by definition, that is not balanced will be deficient in nutrients - meat based or plant based. If someone is just eating meat and potatoes, its hardly an argument against meat. Humans only need 10 amino acids from food; the others can be synthesized naturally. The "essential" 10 are the following: Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine, Arginine, Histidine, Lysine, Phenylalanine, Leucine, Isoleucine, and Methionine. All are found in plants. And meat is not the only way to balance a diet. Like the position paper for the ADA and the DC (see above), A well balanced plant based diet is superior than a well balanced meat based diet. But I believe this is off the topic. We have to report not decide. There are people who believe that humans are omnivores and many people who believe humans are herbi/frugi-vores. We have to merely report this fact - not decide science. Manuj Chandra (talk) 11:39, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
You are wrong. Wikipedia only needs to represent the notable views - in this case there is no doubt - humans can and do eat anything - ergo omnivores. What some people think they should be eating (or what their ancestors 12 million years ago ate) is irrelevant.·Maunus·ƛ· 11:58, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Notable view doesn't means false views. There are perfectly valid references to site that humans are herbivores. And its notable from where I come from. Maybe not in your country/culture. "Notable" is perception". What is notable in your culture may not be notable in mine. Manuj Chandra (talk) 12:04, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
No, notable is the notability guideline of our common culture - wikipedia. There is no site that can provide evidence against the well established fact that a majority of humans are omnivorous. You are not understanding what we are arguing here - the article is going to describe what people do eat - not what any particular ideology suggests they ought to eat. "Omnivore" simply describes the reality of what humans eat and have eaten since the genesis of the genus 2 million years ago. ·Maunus·ƛ· 12:10, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Manuj Chandra, please see WP:UNDUE and also you might want to check out WP:SOAP. Dbrodbeck (talk) 12:26, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Again, a dicto simpliciter. You are making a sweeping generalization of what humans eat. Firstly, I have cited enough scientific papers to support my claim. Please backtrack. Secondly, this is not original research. Its a known medical [fact]. You keep talking about a consensus but have failed to produce any relevant papers to support this consensus. Also, by saying that humans are omnivores, you are pronouncing a [hoax] as a capital truth. Denaturing meat and eating it makes us no more an omnivore than flying a glider makes us a bird. You and your country are not the center of the universe. Omnivores don't get atherosclerosis, humans do. Go ask any doctor. Omnivores can live off a 80%+ animal based diet, humans cannot. Humans can live of a 100% plant based diet. Also, notability is there for encyclopedia topics, not individual facts. Humans cannot eat raw meat. They must denature them. Even then, it gives them heart attacks, bacterial infections and cancers. Here is what an omnivore diet is good for (all papers have been sited) :
USA's population, which numbers almost 300 million people, is sick.
82% of American adults have at least one risk factor for heart disease
81% of Americans take at least one medication during any given week
50% of Americans take at least one prescription drug during any given week
65% of American adults are overweight
31% of American adults are obese
Roughly one in three youths in America (ages six to nineteen) is already overweight or at risk of becoming overweight
About 105 million American adults have dangerously high cholesterollevels (defined as 200 mgldL or higher-heart-safe cholesterol level is under 150 mgldL)
About 50 million Americans have high blood pressures
Over 63 million American adults have pain in the lower back (considerably related to circulation and excess body weight, both influenced by diet and aggravated by physical inactivity) during any given three-month period
Over 33 million American adults have a migraine or severe headache during any given three-month period
23 million Americans had heart disease in 2001
At least 16 million Americans have diabetes
Over 700,000 Americans died from heart disease in 2000
Over 550,000 Americans died from cancer in 2000
Over 280,000 Americans died from cerebro-vascular diseases (stroke), diabetes or Alzheimer's in 2000
This is not my original research. Go and read the position papers by the ADA and DC. There are legitimate scientific papers to cite the same and I already have (most). Also, science is always evolving. You people are sticking to age old urban legends and hoaxes. Remember Pluto is no more a planet? Humans are no more omnivores than Pluto is a planet. Meat can destroy most organs in the body. Now tell me which omnivore gets cancer on a meat based diet? Science is evolving, history is re-written all the time. New data emerges. Wise people listen to logic and science. I have cited all relevant material. This is exactly why doctors don't speak about it in public because they fear the witch-hunt. There is not even ONE single person who knows/supports what I claim. And I claim science. Not opinions, but legitimate medial journals. I DONT care what humans were eating 50 billion years ago. I care what they are NOW as we speak. You people are sticking to Argumentum ad antiquitam like nothing. Your citation never claims humans are omnivores. It merely says humans behave like omnivores. How can you expect 864+ meat-eaters to come to a consensus that humans are herbivores? All of you are making a grave mistake. Why are you so adamant and hell bent to get yourself and others sick? Dont you know better?
Being an omnivor is about behavior not about the health results.
Is this a joke? Are we making stuff up now? Animals are categorized based on anatomy, microbiology, physiology and psychology. Humans are herbivores in all theses tests. It's their ideal and natural diet. Manuj Chandra (talk) 14:14, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
The definition of omnivore is an animal that takes its sustenance from at leats two differnt trophic levels - it is not a physiologically defined category but a behaviorally defined one.·Maunus·ƛ· 15:42, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Manuj Chandra, again, this is not an article giving dietary advice but an article on humans. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:01, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Are you implying that the health problems above are caused by excessive meat in the diet? If so, you should prove this claim instead of merely implying it. Not even obesity can be blamed on meat-eating, since lean meat exists (though it is too expensive for many people even in America), and many vegetable foods are high in carbohydrates or even fat, both of which can cause people to gain weight as much as meat can. Also, wild animals are by no means immune to cancer, it's just that outside the protection of human society, most animals would die of something else if they ever got a cancer that advanced far enough to cripple them. Pets do have this protection, afforded to them by humans, and when they get cancer they often die because of the cancer itself. Soap 15:10, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Manujchandra, you say "Omnivores can live off a 80%+ animal based diet, humans cannot." Please see Inuit diet. The traditional Inuit diet was at least 85% animal fat and protein. -- Donald Albury 13:57, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

X-vore labels are descriptive not prescriptive

The distinction between different kinds of -vores is descriptive of what species eat - not prescriptive of what they ought to eat. The vast majority of humans are omnivores - except for those who practice vegetarianism. Articles such as these [12][13][14][15][16] clearly show that the standard way to use the term is descriptive indicating what people actually eat. This issue points to the larger issue with this article - that it treats humans as if they were simply an animal species without taking into account that humans have something that other animals lack namely the capacity to adapt behaviors according to patterns of culture and to their own free will. Saying that a lion is a carnivore avoids the difference between descriptive and prescriptive uses - since the lion probably has no choice. Humans have a choice of what to eat and a choice to be herbivores, omnivores or carnivores (or any other kind of vore that pprovides sufficient nutrients). ·Maunus·ƛ· 14:27, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

And this is exactly why I wrote 'biologically'. My sentence explained perfectly well that the human body is adapted to eat fruits and the like most effectively; but are capable of eating anything they want really, with differing health effects ranging from almost nothing to instant death. As opposed to some other people here, I think that it is very interesting to know what humans originally ate. That does not mean that the article should tell people what to eat. -Sopastar (talk) 15:01, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately that edit was poorly sourced and misrrepresented the source as well. The source did not say that humans have ever been frugivores- but that our ancestors were. Once it is shown twith reliable sources that a majority of researchers think that humans "originally" ate mostly fruit then that should of course be included. Preferably with a description of when in the history of human evolution the cut off point for "orginally" occurred. Even chimps eat meat as well as fruits and vegetables so presumably this "originally" is very far back in evolution. Also if you read the article frugivore you will see that the label is also used descriptively there about any omnivore or herbivore that eats mostly fruits - it doesn't describe any particular kind of biological adaptation.·Maunus·ƛ· 17:02, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
I would beg to differ. First of all, your descriptive/perspective theory is non scientific. Its an opinion. Second, The vast majority of humans are omnivores - except for those who practice vegetarianism. is also not in the spirit of whats written in the main article. One cannot "choose" to be a carnivore for [example]. True humans can denature and eat meat, but not at the cost of heart-attacks and cancers etc. There are 100s of factors. If you are interested, I can cite the studies. Vegans are not only more attractive to the opposite sex but also [smell better], for example. Now these are small benign things, but they rack up pretty high. Of course there are serious sides to it as well.
That said, i don't see why this contentiousness. Its very simple. People who are brought up to eat meat believe humans are omnivores and people who are brought up to eat vegan believe humans are herbivores. Its all in the fundamental childhood behavior (FCB). Making a sweeping generalization that humans are omnivores is not only unscientific and harmful, but contradicts the article itself. Then again, health is a persons personal business and cannot be forced on anyone. One has the right to be as unhealthy as they want. All the doctors I spoke with in India, including [B M Hegde] believe humans are herbivores. Its just a matter of upbringing.
x-vores labels are descriptive is like saying human anatomy/science and microbiology doesn't matter. Even if this is the case, then too my proposed edit holds valid. OR, the link Humans are omnivores should be removed, and one should only talk about what humans eat. Manuj Chandra (talk) 12:01, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
It is not my theory or opinion - it is the observable usage among scholars. The fact that people can be and are brought up to eat anything show that humans are omnivores. The scholarly consensus also shows that humans are omnivores - because they eat anything. This page is not for agitation for any specific dietary regimen - it is about describing what scientists think humans are. You have not presented a single academic source to suggest that humans are not omnivores by behavior or that they haven't been so since the genesis of the genus homo. Also several human populations have been historicaly primarily behaving as carnivores - and there is no reason to suspect that they have had overrepresentation of illness - nor is it the point. Being an omnivor is about behavior not about the health results. ·Maunus·ƛ· 13:15, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

I will not accuse you of lying, but in the first paragraph it actually says just that; '... humans until relatively recently, were total fruitarians...'. In the article it also says that they used electron microscopes and other sophisticated tools to examine fossils. They are not just looking at teeth and making wild guesses, as several people in this debate has done. The article does admit that humans have eaten meat – a few thousand years. That is not 50 000+ years. It would be nigh on impossible to find a source that has the majority of Earth's researchers stating their beliefs on the human diet; but Dr. Walker and his colleagues, as well as other anthropologists and biologists have classified humans as frugivores, according to the article. I myself have written several times that frugivore does not mean a diet comprised of 100% fruits. Chimps are despite their eating of meat, classified as frugivores. However, as a frugivore is something that eats mostly fruits; it does indeed describe a particular kind of biological adaptation. -Sopastar (talk) 19:38, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
He is talking about Australopithecines which are not even in the genus homo and existed 2 million years ago (i.e. "relatively recently"). Newer studies [Sillen, A. 1992. "Strontium-calcium ratios (Sr/Ca) of Australopithecus robustus and associated fauna from Swartkrans.Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 495-516."] however indicate that also Australopithecines were omnivorous.[17][18] You are not reporting Walkers study correctly and the study does not represent the most recent knowledge about the diet of early humans. ·Maunus·ƛ· 19:53, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
This quote[19] also quite well establishes that the predominant consensus is that humans (as most mammals) are omnivorous. There are also quite good sources[20][21][22] that indicate that meat (whether procured by hunting or scavenging) was not only part of ancestral human diets - but that meat played an important part in human evolution.·Maunus·ƛ· 20:42, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
"Evolution of the Human Diet: The known, the unknown and the unknowable." Peter S. Ungar (ed) 2007. "Since the evolutionary split between hominins and pongids approximately 7 million years ago, the available evidence shows that all species of hominins ate an omniv-orous diet composed of minimally processed, wild-plant, and animal foods. (p 264-5)" -"Beginning approximately 2.6 Mya, the hominin species that eventually led to Homo began to include more animal food in their diet. A number of lines of evidence support this viewpoint. First, Oldowan lithic technology appears in the fossil record 2.6 Mya (Semaw et al., 2003), and there is clear cut evidence to show that these tools were used to butcher and disarticulate animal carcasses (Bunn and Kroll, 1986; de Heinzelin et al., 1999). (p 366)"·Maunus·ƛ· 21:48, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree that my proposed source probably isn't ideal, but I can't find the actual article. I don't know what he talks about in the article itself or if he only talks about one specific species (I realize that only Australopithecus are mentioned specifically in the citations). The source however, do say explicitly humans; and you said that it does not. I am not fond of repeating myself: I do NOT dispute the fact that humans are omnivores. That your sources are good is your own opinion. One of which I disagree with. I can't find your quote, but the book itself states sources over 30 years old; sometimes up to 100 years old (An argument I have disputed using, but one which You seem to think is relevant. I am therefore using it against You). The second link does speculate on the theory of animal protein being the reason for the larger brains of humans – one speculation among many. There is for example also one about jaw muscles[23] and one about starch [24]. Your third source actually contradicts your point somewhat: '... meat may actually have been a relatively marginal source of sustenance...'. And the fourth one is about Neanderthals. The current source is as I said, not contradicting the fact of humans being frugivores, and is also over twenty years old. A one year old article[25] states that nuts and fruits are probably – bar none – the earliest foods consumed by humans. Not Australopithecus or Neanderthals. Humans. Kindly supply links to your most recent quotes. Please answer all of my arguments as I have yours. -Sopastar (talk) 21:56, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Neanderthals and Australopithecines are humans - just not modern humans. Yes, that my sources are good is my educated opinion - which concurs with WP:RS in that they are all published in peer reviewed venues by established scholars. The fact that they are recent is important as this is a field in continued development - the fact that they use older sources themselves is of course not a problem since a reliable source should of course use and synthestize all previously published material on the subject. This is how science and wikipedia works. But this discussion is moot if you do not dispute that most scholars consider humans to be omnivores and that there is no evidence that there is a consensus of scholars who believe early humans (i.e. australopithecines, neanderthals etc.) have been frugivorous. As for Walkers article it only treats Australopithecines - in fact only one species of australopithecine namely the Australopicthecus robustus. I have only been considering the citations from walker in what I have been writing because the rest of the pdf you linked to is obviously not a reliable source (an anonymous guy wrote down all the arguments he could muster in favor of frugivorism an uploaded it to scribd), and it misrepresents Walker's research(published here[26] [27][28][29]) and his statements. Regarding the article about nuts the article conclusion claims that "nuts and fruits are considered the earliest food consumed by humans" - they do not justify this in the article text which doesn't use any anthropological evidence about the diet of early humans, but focuses on historical cultures and archeological knowledge about cultivation of nuts - the authors are also not experts in human evolution but in the nutritional value of nuts - furthermore they only treat nuts originating in the mediterranean - whereas humans originated in subsaharan Africa so that the earliest humans could obviously not have been eating mediterranean nuts and fruits. Even so they do not actually advance a claim that humans have ever been frugivorous. You have to do better than that. ·Maunus·ƛ· 07:53, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Humans are known as Homo sapiens accoring to the article. Are you arguing for the rewrite of the article to include all species in Hominidae? In the source relating to that statement, they do call the species in the Homo genus 'humans' – which would include Neanderthals – but the source only talks about living species, so I do not think that it can be used for that argument. Regardless, if the Australopithecus is human, so is the chimpanzee. There is a wide consensus on them being frugivores (primarily fruits), as well as omnivores. Do not put words into my mouth. I have never said that 'there is no evidence that there is a consensus of scholars who believe early humans have been frugivorous'. I am saying almost the exact opposite, if you have been paying attention. I did say however, that it would be practically impossible to find comments from a majority of Earth's scholars about the human diet in one source. You would have to fill several pages of just links to even come close to the majority. At the moment, there is just one link; one which – neither it – justifies it's claims. Be more clear in separating your opinions from real claims. I don not in fact, have to do better than that; since this is not about coming up with the most perfect source – it is about swaying consensus. There is no consensus at the moment. Until we reach one, I propose a compromise in which we state something like 'There is differing views on what humans originally ate. Some say that they were frugivores (which can be any type of herbivore or omnivore where fruit is a preferred food type), and others belive that the were complete omnivores (who are opportunistic, general feeders not specifically adapted to eat and digest either meat or plant material primarily). Humans are regardless of which, capable of ingesting almost everything ...'. -Sopastar (talk) 12:42, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
I do not have an opinion about this - I am referring what the sources say. Walker is saying that australopithecines were frugivorous - other scholars reject that saying they were omnivorous. Noone has presented even one source stating that humans (modern humans Homo Sapiens) has ever been anything but an omnivore. There is no basis for a compromise untill it is demonstrated that any group of scholars argue that homo sapiens has ever been frugivorous. Present a scholarly source that states that homo sapiens were primarily frugivorous at any point in their evolution and we can discuss compromises. And yes it is about coming up with the best sources - a good source is a broadly respected secondary source that summarises the academic consensus. I have produced several of those in the above.·Maunus·ƛ· 12:51, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Also: Chimpanzee's are omnivorous. (and your notion that if autralopithecines are human then so are chimpanzees is fairly confused - Asutralopthecus is considered an "early human" species where as Chimpanzees is the non-human primate that is closest to humans - you really should read some basic anthropology before continuing this discussion)·Maunus·ƛ· 13:06, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Human strength

It says there that an human male is at least 3 times weaker than a female chimp,but how about males that work out? Chimps spend their entire lives "working out" like every animal,while the average human doesn't work out at least 70% of their muscles —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:38, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

For future reference, please Sign your Posts. All you need is this punctuation mark: ~ Repeated 4 times. Just place 4 of that mark and the Wiki Interface will automatically replace that with your actual Signature. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 06:00, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
It says orangutans, not chimps. It also says the humans being tested were "young, conditioned" ones, which probably indicates that they were athletic in a way that is similar to our pre-modern ancestors. Soap 01:53, 8 March 2011 (UTC)


If we are to be completely neutral, should we not put humans on the same scale as any other animal? Then, should we not mention that the homo sapiens is the most destructive animal on the planet, an animal that kills, I don't even know the number, 100 billion other animals a year? Most of those animals are stored in horrific conditions before their slaughter, I should add. Not to mention the environmental damage that homo sapiens causes that also kills or threatens all life on this planet.

Seems to me these would be significant traits in a page about any other animal. I'm not advocating anything here--just wondering about our neutrality when it comes to writing about ourselves. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:51, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

The article is already very long, and omitting information, such as our modern day use of domesticated animals and our recent effects on the environment, does not strike me as bias. Remember that the article concerns humanity as a species that has existed over thousands of years, the focus is not on our modern-day exploits. (talk) 13:24, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
I disagree. I feel that the article is overly long because it contains a lot of material that should be found in related articles. I think an "Ecology" section would be very appropriate for this article. What you describe as "modern-day exploits" have been characteristic of humans for many thousands of years. The difference is that the tools have changed and our numbers have grown. – VisionHolder « talk » 14:07, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Forgetting for a moment about human exceptionalism, let's remember WP:AUDIENCE and keep it in this more relevant format. Bob the WikipediaN (talkcontribs) 15:14, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't want to get into a full-blown review of the article. However, the article does fall under the scope of WP:PRIMATES, it has a taxobox, and like all other primate article, it should briefly cover our ecology, including the wave of extinctions that follow in our wake and our general impact on the biosphere. I'm not talking about 6 or 7 paragraphs—only one small paragraph. As it stands, the article has a good lead but falls short of WP:AUDIENCE. If you're catering to Western culture, the extra emphasis on "Psychology" may seem appropriate, whereas a more global view might be better suited to covering more broad topics, such as ... our ecology. (Why are we referring to individual psychologists in this article, anyway? We only need a general overview of human psychology, not a history of it.) After all, most of the human population lives more closely to the land than we do, and they feel the effects of disappearing and degraded habitat, dwindling resources, and climate change much more than the minority that buys its food at grocery stories and experiences resource shortages in the form of an extra $1.00/gallon or some equivalent. Aside from putting too much emphasis on psychology, the article unnecessarily goes into detail about early primate evolution and sleep (?!?) among other things. It also cites too many specific examples when generalizations would be sufficient: for example, exact percentages and lifespans for individual countries could probably be simplified. In short, the article is pretty decent, but if it were to undergo a WP:GAN review, aside from some other obvious issues, it would fail both 3a and 3b of the GA criteria ("addresses the main aspects of the topic" and "stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail"). But that's just my $0.02. – VisionHolder « talk » 20:38, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Just an interesting sidenote: According to projections, the majority of the world's population now live in urban areas. --Cybercobra (talk) 00:03, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
You're right—my mistake. However, that does not negate the fact that the majority of humans are poor and feel the affects of depleted resources and climate change more than Westerners do on average. – VisionHolder « talk » 14:41, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Other primate articles don't have sections lamenting the extinction of animals they have out-competed. And also, our presence on this planet, while disastrous for some species, has been very beneficial to many other species. In fact, the pig, which you feel so sorry for, is, with many many millions of individuals alive at any one time, and which have a very easy life compared to the life of the Eurasian Wild Boar (also wildly successful and getting more so by the day); the domestic pig is among the most successul species ever and if it had a point of view would thank us. The fact that they end up killed and eaten is something that started long before the first human met the first pig and nothing new. And humans are no threat at all to life on this planet, let alone to the planet itself. Only that most cold-blooded of killers, Mother Nature, is any threat to life on earth or the planet itself. There would be precious little kindness and sympathy anywere if it weren't for us. Chrisrus (talk) 01:07, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Need I remind you that Wiki is not a forum? Your reply does not address any of the points from my constructive criticism of the article, but takes the tone of an anti-conservation rant. I did not say that the article needs to claim that humans are sterilizing the planet (which we are not), just that we have a history of degrading habitats (including those which we use, as well as habitats we convert for our use), over-exploiting resources, and (more recently) causing climate change. Yes, some species have benefited, but most have not. (You have your proportions wrong.) To reply to your initial statement, other primate articles do (or should) list cases where the species are considers pests or invasive species. This would be standard among all animal articles. Even the Cat article reads: "This ability to thrive in almost any terrestrial habitat has led to the cat's designation as one of the world's worst invasive species." But again, I would appreciate meaningful discussion of the topic coverage per GAN standards, a goal for which we should be striving. – VisionHolder « talk » 14:41, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
You say you didn't want to add that we are "sterilizing the planet", to the article, fine, I'll stand corrected and apolgize. I guess by "threaten all life on this planet" you must have meant something else. But you do seem to want the article to state that we are "degrading" the environment, which means "making worse" and "worse" totally depends on a point of view, improvement or degrading for who? If humans benefit more from a nice, smooth, wide interstate than we lose from the benefit we would have received from the plants and animals that don't get to live where that pavement is or die as road kill and so on, than it's making this planet better, not worse, from a humanist point of view. It's not "degrading" for the enviroment in any kind of objectively factual way. If you plan to add to the article a statement that we "degrade the environment" from the point of view of human welfare, and you could cite that well enough to prove it, it might have a place in the article, but that citatin would have to explain such things as our increasing life spans and mushrooming populations, two characteristics not normally associated with an increasing hostile environment in ecological population studies.
Yes, you are right, more "species" have lost out to our rise than have won, but is that "degradation"? You should be thankful that you can go about your buisness without threats from the megafauna our stoneage forbears rid us of. The loss of numbers of species must be weighed against the benefits of civilization. This is now the anthropocene, you popped by the shop tonight to pick up a couple of things without once having to worry about wooley rhinos, or saber-tooth cats, or any number of other hostile creatures. If the short-faced bear had been compatable with a happy life for humans, it might still be around. So don't call their demise a sad thing until you've had one eat your wife and children, as used to happen around here, reason dictates, way too often.
So you want to add words such as "the most destructive animal on the planet, an animal that kills, I don't even know the number, 100 billion other animals a year?" Did you forget something about those animals? Sure we killed them, but we also saw to it that they were born in the first place! We took care of them and sheltered them and kept them from meeting their end not by an electrode between the eyes but by being disemboweled and eaten alive over the course of hours by a pack of wolves? Where's the love in pre-human nature? "Most of those animals are stored in horrific conditions before their slaughter" How terrible we are! You want to add that to the article? Who takes wild animals to vet when they are dying of some horrible disease? The lives of wild animals are not objectively better than those of domestic ones. Theirs is a daily struggle not to starve to death, to avoid disase, to run for thier lives in panic; their lives are very short and filled with fear and pain. "The environmental damage that homo sapiens causes that also kills or threatens all life on this planet", that's the change you want to make to the article? If you say we destroy the habitats that were here before us you must credit us with creating great things also, and whether that's greater or less or a wash is a matter of personal values. My personal value is humanity, and yours is some kind of deep ecology or some such, and so we do not see things the same way. This is an article for objective statements of fact. You see us destroy what is was under the city without seeing the city as I do.
Then after the great megafauna extinction, you count each little island where we introduced continental animals. To that I say, the island animals were weakened by isolation and it's natural selection that they have lost to us our pigs and goat and even our enemies, the rats and is of no significance as far as a "threat to life on this planet". It's only a bad thing if it makes you feel sad. Nature is has no feelings, it's cruel and has no sympathy for a Guamian Rail made soft by thousands of years on an island that nature just as easily could have never born into existence, a untold millions of islands have come and gone in the history of the planet, each with it's unique set of species. It doesn't mean we can add such outlying statements the ones you suggest to the article that you count all the megafauna and island species and other species that couldn't adapt to the anthropocene for whatever reason and total them up and say "at this rate we'll finish the last wild species by this date in the future" or some such. These are not facts you suggest, but the points of view of an anti-humanist. Suggest something rational for the article or push your point of view elsewhere! Chrisrus (talk) 04:43, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Heh, from a slightly different perspective, what's with Tyrannosaurus being the "king" and us being the "bad guys"? Natural selection tells me that survival as a species doesn't come with animal rights. We have plenty of places on Wikipedia for extinct animals and endangered species; the Human article isn't one of them. Bob the WikipediaN (talkcontribs) 07:31, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Wait, what? "Bad guys" has nothing to do with it; the point is that the spread of humans over the planet has directly caused (and is still causing) the extinction of untold numbers of species. I think it's obvious that's an important aspect of human ecology that should be mentioned in this article. If you think that makes us "bad guys", that's a function of your value system, not what this encyclopedia article should say. Ucucha 22:24, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
This is not intended as a political or otherwise slanted suggestion for the article. This can be supported with peer-reviewed academic literature. I am merely suggesting that we even out the information presented in the article and add some more basic ecological information to the picture. Note that no one has responded to my specific suggestions based on GAN criteria laid out by WP:ASSESS. Instead, the arguments against have been strongly biased and non-encyclopedic. Chrisrus in particularly needs to review WP:SOAPBOX, WP:NOTAFORUM, and WP:AGF. Honestly, if I had the time and resources, I would fix up this article in one big edit, just like I do the lemur articles. Unfortunately, I can't do that now. What I'm thinking would not only take this article a (big) step closer to GA, but also towards FA, which is the ultimate goal. The only "agenda" in my statements involves following the Wikipedia guidelines. I would appreciate it if all future discussion follow this line of reasoning. – VisionHolder « talk » 03:02, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
WP:NOTAFORUM and WP:SOAPBOX don't apply to discussing proposed changes to articles, which is all I've done here. WP:Assume Good Faith only applies to accusing an editor of trying to harm the article, which I have not done. You might consider creating WP:Don't phrase things in terms of a rant or some such. But I like the rest of your ideas very much. A proven primate or mammal article writer such as yourself or USER:Mariomassone, whose page I recommend watching because he cranks out great work prolifically, mostly obscure mammals. You or he or someone else with a good background in writing about animals would adopt the correct Dr. Phlox point of view and maintain that proper The Naked Ape/Anthropologist on Mars sort of thing. I encourage you to be WP:BOLD! Chrisrus (talk) 04:17, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

We cannot be completely neutral

How can we be completely neutral? Should we view the world from the POV of a cow, a dog, a prawn, a bacterium, a stone, an atom of copper, an electron? We are humans, and however hard we may try to do otherwise we see the world as humans. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:44, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

We do our Mr. Spock impression. Chrisrus (talk) 14:56, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

Missing section

In the spirit of this, which totally bummed me out because it links to an archived AfD discussion, I'd like to suggest that the main problem with this article is that it doesn't have a Popular Culture section. It is well known that humans are among the most active contributors to popular culture of any extant species in any taxon you care to name. I'll bet if we all pull together and work on it, we can develop a well-sourced, cogent section acknowledging humans' awesome prowess in this area. Rivertorch (talk) 04:09, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

How do you define "popular culture"? What would you want to say that is not covered under the Society and culture heading? What is "popular" in culture varies by time and place. How would you limit coverage in this article? While Wikipedia in principal has almost unlimited space for content, individual articles need to be kept to a reasonable length. -- Donald Albury 12:25, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I don't know. There are 6.89 billion humans on Earth and the article is 99.7 KB. Don't you think .00001447 byte per human is just a tad stingy? Rivertorch (talk) 16:54, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
There are still a few other spoof AfDs on Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Log/2011_April_1 if you havent seen or voted in them yet. Soap 12:51, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Also, the diff you were looking at was a typing mistake, the "new" AfD is here: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Human (3rd nomination). My guess is it's not on the page is because someone else removed it (spoof AfD's often dont have templates, we rely on people going to the main AfD page to find them). Soap 12:55, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Hmm. I did stumble across this last night. Rivertorch (talk) 16:54, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

Inaccurate Representation

I just today noticed that something is off about the human anatomy diagram. It looks like the person who made it put together an adult woman and a teenage man. I cite as evidence the fact that the man's face is more youthful than the woman's and that the man's body is not fully developed, while the woman's is. Therefore, if it is true that the person who made the human anatomy diagram put together an adult woman and a teenage man, then it is not an accurate representation of human anatomy between the sexes, and as such the diagram should be removed, and if possible, replaced with a diagram showing an adult man and an adult woman. --RowdyShortPerson (talk) 00:10, 11 March 2011 (UTC)RowdyShortperson

He was in his early 20s at the time of the photo. The lighting and the pose of the photo may be partly responsible for why he looks young. Soap 00:11, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
Also, as noted in the caption, facial and body hair have been removed and head hair has been trimmed. This has the effect of making the male look younger. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:47, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

The main image currently used for the article is Asiocentric. Isn't there an image which is more representative of the whole of humanity? SpeakFree (talk) 21:12, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

It's been discussed before. Basically if you really wanted to represent all the races of humanity, you'd either have to find a group of people who're descended from a mix of everybody or use a gallery. We used the Pioneer plaque photo for quite some time,but because it is not in color it was decided to go for something with a better photo quality. THis is not to say there's a right and a wrong answer, just that the current choice was the result of an open discussion. Soap 21:50, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
The removal of the Pioneer plaque image had nothing to do with color or photo quality. Rivertorch (talk) 03:46, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

The future of human evolution

River was right to revert the section on why everyone should support Eugenics, but it does bring up a good point: the evolution section ends before discussing what experts say about current trends in Human evolution. If it could be well cited and such and it was established that we're getting taller or dumber or some such and it were stated with the proper tone then I'd say it might be a fine addition to the article. Some of what was just deleted might be salvagable and whether it would support a pro-eugenics position shouldn't be talked about and doesn't matter, let it be as it may and leave it to the reader to draw that conclusion or not if that's what seems to follow from the facts. Chrisrus (talk) 02:23, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

I dunno. If there is significant ongoing research into "current trends in human evolution," prevailing consensus within the relevant scientific fields might merit a sentence or two, but I suspect any such consensus may be difficult to identify. Also, I'd be a little concerned about giving inappropriate weight to what may be a rather esoteric topic in this very general article. This is all pretty far from my area of expertise, though. I think I'll drop a note at Talk:Human evolution or some other page where someone a little more conversant on the topic is likely to see it. To any such persons, the edits that sparked this thread are these: 1, 2, and 3; all were reverted. Rivertorch (talk) 04:00, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Rivertorch. While there has been a lot of speculation in the past that human evolution has slowed down or stopped (see, for instance, [30]), some scientists have recently announced studies that they interpret as meaning that human evolution has sped up in the past few thousand years (see, for instance, [31]). So, I would say the question is unsettled, and not worth much attention in this article. -- Donald Albury 10:43, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Main Picture

Since articles for other animals have a picture of the animal in its most "normal" environment- shouldn't the main picture be 2 people in a city? - Heaney555z (talk) 12:21, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

You're going to have a hard to referencing the fact that a city is man's "normal" environment. OhNoitsJamie Talk 14:09, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Urbanization projections do say the majority of people now live in urban areas. But this only happened very recently historically speaking, and whether it's "natural" is questionable. Not endorsing the suggestion, just remarking upon an interesting fact. --Cybercobra (talk) 17:09, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't know how correct the premise about other animal articles is; it seems to vary a lot. A quick check revealed an awful lot of zoo pictures (including for Gorilla and Chimpanzee), some normal-environment pics, and quite a few where it's impossible to tell for sure. Actually, we cannot tell for sure about the human picture, either—the photographer might have been standing with his or her back to a highly developed area. Due to the planet-altering nature of its subject, Human cannot always be perfectly parallel with other animal articles in every particular, anyway. Rivertorch (talk) 18:12, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I'd call it natural. After all, we consider it natural that termites build giant naturally-cooled towers and that weaverbirds take on textiling, so how can you possibly say it's not natural for us to create our own cities? Bob the WikipediaN (talkcontribs) 14:17, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

Humans are extict?

Surely that is not correct?! Frognsausage (talk) 12:34, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

That was vandalism, which survived for rather long... possibly because the change doesn't look so radical in the diff :) Zakhalesh (talk) 12:44, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
One could argue that "extinct in the wild", at least, is valid. Soap 13:14, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
Where? It was in the taxobox for all of 39 minutes and was reverted eight hours before you started this thread. Did I miss something? Rivertorch (talk) 17:20, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
Maybe Frognsausage was, for whatever reason, viewing a cached version? Zakhalesh (talk) 17:35, 30 April 2011 (UTC)


Why does humanism get a special mention over all world philosophies? The sentence could be removed without the article suffering. Atheism, scientific scepticism and agnosticism are all documented and it seems humanism hardly needs to be mentioned...--Erythro (talk) 10:32, 5 May 2011 (UTC)


Why is Evolution expressed as fact? it is theory, it should be included in the article but so should the origin of humans from religious viewpoints. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sir-zeke (talkcontribs) 04:35, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

Evolution is the current widely accepted scientific explanation of how humans got to how they are today. It is called a theory in the same way that scientists describe gravity as Newton's theory of gravitation. And there's not much doubt that gravity exists. HiLo48 (talk) 05:06, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
Maybe we can put this in a FAQ? I tire of having to explain what a theory is to people all the time... Dbrodbeck (talk) 12:46, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
I doubt that it would obviate such threads, but a link to Talk:Evolution/FAQ might be one option. Rivertorch (talk) 15:02, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

36 Million People Starve To Death?

In Diet and also the Human nutrition it says that 36 million people die each year "due to lack of edible materials in their habitats". Obviously this is wrong, but I don't know enough about it to change it so I'm just reporting it here.

It's pretty much correct but I've reworded it so it adheres to the source more closely. --NeilN talk to me 04:23, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
And I've reworded your rewording :-) also per the source but without introducing the curious (if not novel) concept of indirect starving. Rivertorch (talk) 05:08, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Much better. Thanks. --NeilN talk to me 11:16, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Recent "Indirect starvation" edit

What does it mean to "indirectly" starve to death? Chrisrus (talk) 05:03, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Fixed that. See preceding thread. Rivertorch (talk) 05:11, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Diet Plus

This Discussion is now conclusive that we are true omnivores.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Maybe the Article should mention how humans tend to do pointless beaurocratic things. More to the point, I created this Section because the original Diet Section is entirely too painfully long for me to make it longer in good conscience. Even more to the point, I would like to show everyone that there is a snowball's chance argument being presented on this very Talk Page right now. The member known as Manuj Chandra is recycling the old, already debunked arguments by Pearl999. Will somebody please help me look through the Archives and provide a link to the Archived Discussions where a number of members, including Soap, Martin Hogbin, Cybercobra, and me (The Mysterious El Willstro), successfully debunked the arguments of Pearl999?

Here are some other points.

  1. Consider the ratio between the height of any individual and the total length of his or her intestines. That ratio for a human is actually closer to that of a dog (a carnivore) than to that of a sheep (a grazing herbivore).
  2. Humans evolved on open prairies where plants bearing edible fruits were (and are) relatively scarce, not in the jungles of our frugivorous relatives. (The Savannah is rich in grasses whose grains are not edible when raw; and it takes a little bit of technology to process them into bread or beer.)
  3. The pH of human stomach acid before being diluted by food (for that is the pH at which the acid is actually synthesized) is approximately 1. See [32]. Even as mentioned by Manuj Chandra, this is not the level of an exclusive plant-eater.
In any event, let's consider Diet Plus a replacement of the original Diet, just as Macintosh Plus was that of the original Macintosh. It gives everyone's eyes a break from such a cumbersomely long Section. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 08:10, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Here are some more:
  1. The fossil record, showing people eating meat and plant matter which they otherwise couldn't using processing methods such as cooking and pounding and grounding with rocks.
  2. Hunter-gatherers, who all are omnivourous.
  3. The impossiblity of vegetarianism without modern domesticated plants unknown in the wild
  4. The fact that our ancestors only had to live long enough just to reproduce in order to evolve into us, meaning long-term diseases caused by excessive meat eating wouldn't have effected our evolution.
  5. The fact that just because something is unnatural, like art, science, and vegetarianism, doesn't mean it's bad or impossible.
  6. The fact that just because something is natural, such as death, disease, war, rape, and murder, doesn't make it good or inevitable. Chrisrus (talk) 08:28, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
You should really take the time to reread the arguments provided by me in the debate above. The main point is that the x-vore terms are not normative but descriptive and all sources descrbe humans as having an omnivorous diet since the earliest times, indeed even our closest relatives the chimpanzee's are omnivorous. Whether being omnivorous is healthy is irrelevant - it is the fact that humans have always been so that is relevant. Also of course an encyclopedic article is here to describe the topic, not provide value judgements about what the topic ought to be like, nor to provide dietary or medical advice.·Maunus·ƛ· 22:01, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. But I was thinking, perhaps some words of clarification are in order if many more readers seem to parse "humans are omnivores" as "everyone has to/should eat meat". I know it shouldn't be necessary, but there is all this evidence that many people don't understsand what "humans are omnivores" means. So we could say some kind of "although..." statement or some such which would stave off a common misunderstanding. Chrisrus (talk) 00:17, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Maunus, I never said these terms were normative rather than descriptive. All I said (what it boils down to, anyway) was that there is also an evolutionary argument to be made that humans being omnivores describes a natural biological state, not some peculiarity of Post-Agricultural Revolution humans.
Chrisrus, I agree that clarification is in order. Could the Article clarify humans being omnivores in terms of the fact that we evolved on open grasslands rather than jungles, the thing about our intestinal length, and so on and so forth? This would not violate neutrality as long as we stick with the evolutionary, anatomical, and metabolic facts. After all, none of my 3 points mentioned earlier were opinions, and neither were at least the 1st 4 (and maybe all 6) of your points mentioned in reply to them. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 09:30, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Chrisrus, you say, 'readers seem to parse "humans are omnivores" as "everyone has to/should eat meat". I do not think this is actually the case. The problem is that some people want the article to say "people should not eat meat". It is not the purpose of this article to give dietary advice and we should avoid doing so. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:01, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
You're right, but we do what we can. As it stands today, it says "Humans are omnivorous, capable of consuming plant, animal, and inorganic material." Varying with available food sources in regions of habitation, and also varying with cultural and religious norms, human groups have adopted a range of diets, from purely vegetarian to primarily carnivorous." It's pretty clear that "omnivorous" in this context means "capable of" eating all these things, not "obliged to eat meat", and then bends over backward to add that extremes on both ends exist and are possible. This should stave off misunderstanding of some kind of "obligate omnivore" meaning of "omnivore", but I predict someone will misunderstand anyway. At least we try!
It could probably be improved. For example, I think it may be "undue weight" to mention that we eat inorganic material. What can this mean, we like a little salt, or could use a little anti-acid from time to time? Chrisrus (talk) 13:42, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree that the section could be improved. I just want us to keep well clear of giving any kind of dietary advice, of any kind. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:45, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

I found that Link I asked for earlier!

Here it is: [33]. In the Archived Sections at the very bottom of that page; Soap, Martin Hogbin, Cybercobra, and I (The Mysterious El Willstro) (among others) debunked the arguments of Pearl999. Those were the same arguments that were more recently used by Manuj Chandra. May we hear no further such business about how we shouldn't be omnivores? Nothing unscientific (EG those activist vegetarian Websites cited by Pearl999) belongs in the Article. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 06:22, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Should we save a copy here? It might fend off someone starting it up once again. Chrisrus (talk) 13:42, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Something could be worked up for the FAQ. Rivertorch (talk) 16:47, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Rivertorch, you can go ahead and find a way to summarize the Archived Discussions that I have copied here in the FAQ Answers. I, for one, would have no objections. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:21, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Copies of earlier Archived Discussions as requested

Chrisrus was right in that comment at the end.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

(Copyright violations removed.) Ucucha 01:22, 15 March 2010 (UTC) (...)





Pearl999 (talk) 16:09, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

The way I read hominid articles, all apes eat lots of fruit, but it tends to be a boom-and-bust source of food. The robust australopithecines were built to handle eating plant material we couldn't possibly deal with. Their skulls look like those of gorillas, with huge bovine teeth, so they moved on beyond fruit to grains and other rougher stuff. And they died out, while the gracile australopithecines, which seem to have built for meat and lots of other things, gave rise to our genus; while the robustus types died out. Which makes sense because a varied diet with lots of meat pushes an animal towards intelligence, organization, and pressure to solve problems. We recently seem to have eaten a lot of fish at one time, but early on we ate a lot of marrow. Fish is good brain food, and that seems to have helped us over the threashold to humanity. Our closest cousins/enemies such a neanderthals, well, we've got more evidence there, according to that article we know practically for sure that they ate meat, meat, meat, and then for dessert some meat. They were a wierd bunch, those neanderthals, very unlike us in many ways, so what they did doesn't say anything about what our ancestors ate, but there's no doubt at all that they weren't vegetarians.
In fact, modern vegetarianism is only possible thanks to the artificial selection work of many generations of peasant farmers in Asia and Mexico, quite recently in terms of our evolution, desparately trying to grow meat on a bush. Thanks to them, you can be a vegan if you want to by eating lots of soy beans and mexican beans and such, lentils, but these didn't exist in nature, we had to artificially create them, and our ancestors did not have that option, at least not until way too recently to make a difference. And still you will notice, -"burp"- still don't ("toot" - excuse me burritos for lunch) - still are WAY far from easy on the ol' human digestive system, much less to subsist on.
Plants want you to eat their fruit, so they make it easy on the species they contract with for seed dispersal. But they hate to be eaten, so making themselves unpalatable, if not poisonous or impossible to digest. All but the best herbavours have to stay where they evolved because they're not used to the plants in another biome. Meat eaters don't have that problems, because, as the Africans say, meat is meat. If you can eat a zebra, you can eat a caribu. Without meat eating, how could our ancestors have spread across the world and learned to live in every biome, just about.
By the way, think about eskimos, they didn't eat any vegetables at all. How do you explain that?
So eating too much meat is bad for us? No doubt, but what does that prove? So is eating too much salt or sugar will also kill you. But having too much meat and salt and sugar wasn't a problem homonids had, was nothing we evolved to cope with. Quite the opposite. Humans will, if given the chance, eat way too much meat and salt and sugar, that's true. But if you stop and think about that for a bit, it's pretty obvious why that is. We didn't evolve with supermarkets and restaurants in the enviroment! Chrisrus (talk) 01:19, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
Exactly. Humans are opportunistic omnivores, able to survive and reproduce on a very wide range of foods. In any case, the claimed harm from eating some foodstuffs in excess is actually insignificant in evolutionary terms. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:03, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Human anatomy is almost identical to the anatomy of frugivorous primates. Gut measurements do not support theories of an adaptation towards carnivory, but are grouped on the best fit line of the frugivores (Hladik et al., 1999).

That is not what this article is all about. It basically makes the point, 'while meat assumed a more important role in hominid diet, it was not responsible for any major evolutionary shift'. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:24, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
That's right, and contrary to popular belief. Whatever the article is about, the measurements of the (modern) human gut are grouped on the best fit line of the frugivores. Pearl999 (talk) 11:39, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Dr Alan Walker and associates, anthropologists at John Hopkins University, found that "Every tooth examined from the hominids of the 12 million year period leading up to Homo Erectus appeared to be that of a fruit-eater." (NY Times, May 1979). Robert W. Sussman, Ph.D., professor of anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis. discovered that Australopithecus afarensis did not have the sharp shearing blades necessary to retain and cut animal flesh. Their teeth were relatively small, very much like modern humans, and they were fruit and nut eaters.

Indeed, humans developed tools for killing animals and cutting meat and thus do not need specialised teeth.
If humans were naturally carnivorous, we wouldn't need external aids. Humans also constructed airplanes, but flying in airplanes doesn't make us birds. Pearl999 (talk) 11:39, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Humans have used tools since they first evolved. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:13, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
And ...? Pearl999 (talk) 15:18, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
So noted, Pearl999. We must now stop flying and eating dead animals. :) J.M. Archer (talk) 17:37, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Regardless of what you can do, the fact remains... humans are by nature terrestrial frugivores. Pearl999 (talk) 15:18, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
K. Sure. So tell me something: how many animals are classified by what it looks like they should do rather than what they do? J.M. Archer (talk) 15:29, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Really! Mr. Pearl, let me ask you this: What would you say to an anatomist who, if you were a panda caretaker, who came to you with a skull pointing out that this animal is clearly a carnivore, so you should stop feeding it bamboo? What would you say to him? Would you say "ok" and then start feeding Ling Ling only meat, based on the anatomy of the skull, plus the fact that almost all other members of the order are carnivores? Chrisrus (talk) 16:29, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
It's Ms., but you may call me Sir.  ;). WRT the Panda. Pandas are closely related to the bears, and whilst indeed being almost completely herbivorous, Pandas do in fact sometimes still eat small animals. With the exception of the polar bear, bears are regarded as omnivores, having molar teeth adapted to grinding plant-foods. The bears "diverge from the carnivorous type towards the Ungulata; the result being the same,- that is, regarded in the mass, they become omnivorous. But the exceptions, so far from being inconsistent with the law of correlation, furnish fine illustrations of the manner in which its details are carried out, in contrasted cases of mixed types." (Hope that cite's not excessive) Pearl999 (talk) 17:14, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Species throughout nature intuitively consume the foods they are specifically adapted to consume. So normally there's no discrepancy between what other species do and what it looks like they should do.
Speaking of classification, Linnaeus, who introduced the system of naming animals and plants according to their physical structure, wrote: "Man's structure, external and internal, compared with that of other animals shows that fruit and succulent vegetables constitute his natural food." Pearl999 (talk) 16:21, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
So you're answer is "yes"? Chrisrus (talk) 16:50, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
See reply above. If something's still unclear, just ask and I'll do my best to clarify. Pearl999 (talk) 17:18, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Ok, there can be a discrepancy between what a species does and what it looks like they should do based on looking at their jaws and teeth and such because one could have recently changed, as for example with the Panda, which looks for all the world like it should be a meat eater and because it evolved from meat eaters and its closest relatives all eat meat, but that doesn't matter because we know that pandas are basically herbivores because we observe them in their natural habitat eating it and so we feed them mostly bamboo in captivity and they do well on mostly bamboo and very little meat. So that trumps anything an anatomist or taxonomist can tell us as a zookeeper. Proving what you do trumps what it looks like you should do. Right? Chrisrus (talk) 23:36, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
The panda has developed a number of physiological adaptations. The cheek teeth are large and blunt and covered with tubercles to serve as a grinding surface for cellulose-laden materials such as bamboo. The same is true of the premolars, a condition not seen in other bears (Schaller, 1985). .. continues at Pearl999 (talk) 13:45, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Ok, so you know that we now know that Neanderthals ate almost nothing but meat. What can you say, morphologically, taxonomically, about them that you couldn't say about us? We also know they had campfires, a habit that scores one in the human collumn for them. So they cooked their meat, which makes them seem human, and therefore could eat meat even though they didn't have cat teeth or dog jaws or some such. They ate meat anyway dispite their fructavore design because they had fire, just like us. Why aren't you at the article Neanderthal saying these same things about them? If you really believe this line of argument proves we are vegans by nature, why doesn't it apply to them? By your logic, you should be making the same arguement over on the neanderthal talk page, so you should go do that. But I don't because you'd be wrong. Even though those things you say are true, the evidence that neanderthals were almost pure carnivores trumps anything you might think by comparing the length of thier intestines or talking about their teeth. Chrisrus (talk) 23:36, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
There's evidence that the neanderthals suffered the consequences of adopting an unnatural diet. The same applies to humans. Pearl999 (talk) 12:46, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Underground roots and tubers would have been an important nutritional addition to the diet of Australopithecus during short periods of above-ground food scarcity. Their dental and microwear patterns are compatible with the additions of roots to a chimpanzee-like diet (Hatley and Kappelman, 1980; Grine and Kay, 1988).

Yes, humans are omnivores and eat roots.
There's no mention of flesh-eating above. Humans can be omnivorous (behaviour), but that still doesn't mean that humans are omnivores (biology). Pearl999 (talk) 11:39, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
WP says 'Omnivores... are species that eat both plants and animals as their primary food source'. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:13, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Geologist Frank Brown, dean of the University of Utah's College of Mines and Earth Sciences, says that while the emergence of Homo sapiens is about 195,000 years ago, evidence of eating fish, of harpoons, even tools. comes in very late (appearing together with cultural artifacts as a coherent package only about 50,000 years ago), except for stone knife blades, which appeared between 50,000 and 200,000 years ago. Professor of anthropology and physiology Jared Diamond wrote in The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpazee (pp.33-34) that there is good evidence of human hunting skills only around 100,000 years ago, and that it's clear they were very ineffective big-game hunters. According to professor of anthropology Robert W. Sussman, some archaeologists and paleontologists don't think humans had a modern, systematic method of hunting until as recently as 60,000 years ago. Thus it's very unlikely that animal flesh was a primary source of food for at least the first 140,000 years from the emergence of Homo sapiens, and the species didn't suddenly become biological omnivores thereafter any more than cows fed animal protein. Pearl999 (talk) 15:18, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

A review of Plio-Pleistocene archaeology found site location and assemblage composition to be indicative of low-yield scavenging in the context of competitive male displays, and not consistent with the idea that big game hunting and provisioning was responsible for the evolution of early Homo.

Again nothing here says that humans have not evolved to eat meat only that meat eating did not play an important part in human evolution. These are not the same thing. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:24, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
Nothing here (or anywhere, for that matter) says that humans have evolved (as in biological adaptation) to eat animal flesh. That's the point. Pearl999 (talk) 11:39, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
But nevertheless nearly all humans did eat meat.
Sorry but that's an unsupported claim, and even if they did the biology hasn't changed. Pearl999 (talk) 15:18, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Early mastery of fire would have further increased the calories available from tubers (by 50%). Most wild yam species are non-toxic and available in large quantities throughout African forests and savannas (A. Hladik and Dounias, 1993).

Note that taro root is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants. See:

What is the relevance of this?
That gathered foods including roots and tubers could have provided the energy needed to support human populations for most of human history. Arrowroot (taro) is found worldwide in temperate zones and the tropics. And that's just one edible wild plant food source out of thousands. Pearl999 (talk) 11:39, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

The neanderthals are long extinct. Short lifespans and evidence of arthritis in their skeletons, systemic illness or a severely deficient diet. "no worse off than the Inuit"...

Neanderthals lived for an amount of time as a species on this planet that dwarfs that of Homo Sapiens. That they had short, hard, brutal lives doesn't prove that their diet wasn't sufficient for them to survive long enough to reproduce, because they did and were very successful. The quote "no worse off than the Inuit" in that context was meant to say that they weren't much less unhealthy than modern hunter-gatherers. The point is, you agree that everything that you say about human tooth/jaw structure could also be applied to them. They didn't have typical carnivore anatomy either, but you agree that they not only ate meat but ate it much, much more than we do. How are able to accept the fact that neanderthals ate meat but not that humans do? How can you point to the teeth and such and say "this is proof that humans don't eat meat" and then turn around and say the same evidence in neanderthals doesn't prove that, because other evidence showing that they did eat meat trumps the tooth form evidence? Chrisrus (talk) 06:23, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
Homo sapiens emerged about 195,000 years ago. 'By 130,000 years ago, complete Neanderthal characteristics had appeared. These characteristics then disappeared in Asia by 50,000 years ago and in Europe by 30,000 years ago. According to new dating evidence the last neanderthals in Europe died out 37,000 years ago - I've not denied that ancient humans consumed some animal flesh, but noted that it was unlikely that it could have been a primary source of food until humans had developed an efficient method of hunting. With regards to dentition, the use of cutting tools and tenderising by cooking enables the eating of animal flesh. Cooking also makes it safer to eat. (Early scavenging was avoided as a bad dietary strategy.... Pearl999 (talk) 16:59, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Or this?
You: "we know practically for sure that they (neanderthals) ate meat, meat, meat, and then for dessert some meat. ... there's no doubt at all that they weren't vegetarians. .... think about eskimos, they didn't eat any vegetables at all. How do you explain that?"
As it goes, the Inuit ("eskimos") traditionally went to great lengths to gather available plant foods. I'd give you an authoritative quote from a post to a public forum but sorry that's been deemed by the WPTB to be copyright violation.. Pearl999 (talk) 11:39, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, of course, no one maintains that humans are exclusively carnivorous but they can clearly survive and reproduce on a wide range of diets. That makes them omnivoresMartin Hogbin (talk) 17:13, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
No, it does not. Humans have no biological carnivorous adaptations whatsoever, and the omnivorous diet is associated with disease and premature death... Pearl999 (talk) 15:18, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Clinical and epidemiological nutritional studies consistently reveal health benefits from the consumption of plant-based foods and conversely, significant increase in the risk of chronic degenerative diseases with the consumption of animal-based foods. According to the findings of the most comprehensive large study there was no evidence of a threshold beyond which further benefits did not accrue with increasing proportions of plant-based foods in the diet. Pearl999 (talk) 15:06, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Eating too much of anything is bad for you. Many humans do that now, because they can.Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:24, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
Please read it again. An 'ability' to do something doesn't mean that you should be doing it and that there won't be severely detrimental consequences from doing it. Pearl999 (talk) 11:39, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
That was my point. Humans eat too much of certain foodstuffs because they are now much more freely available than they were historically. Most notable are fat (animal origin) and sugar (vegetable origin). Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:13, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Please acknowledge what's posted just above? Pearl999 (talk) 15:18, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

I honestly can't believe the guys at the Frugivore article sent Pearl to the Human article to make trouble, as if there isn't enough here already. I'd suggest you fellows review her contributions over there, just in case you're curious what has already been debunked, etc... [Edited to add: This comment was very poorly worded. My apologies to Visionholder.] (talk) 17:31, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Ok, that comment above is me. I don't know why it won't log me in when I tell it to, but it's evil. >.<

Also, you might note that this Linnaeus guy Pearl keeps pulling out died in 1778.

J.M. Archer (talk) 17:34, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

You can't show a single thing I've posted here or there that's been "debunked". Maybe the guys at Frugivore Talk were looking for some assistance? What part of what Linnaeus determined would you care to try to dispute? Pearl999 (talk) 17:52, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Okay... first of all, I did not send Pearl999 here to "make trouble." After being thoroughly shot down over her attempted edits, she proceeded to use the talk page as a forum, which it is not. Since she claimed that her view was about content, I pointed her here since I found it suspicious that someone would choose to push their agenda on an important but not heavily watched page, especially when the material (if it were valid) would clearly belong on this page. Since she clearly wasn't going to drop this, I sent her to an article where 1) a larger number of people could demonstrate that her views are a minority and not supported by the literature, and 2) the topic could be discussed under a more appropriate page, since in good faith, Pearl999 appears to genuinely want to improve the article. As for "wanting assistance", I wouldn't start feeling too terribly proud, Pearl999. Your views were clearly shot down at Talk:Frugivore. We didn't need any help. You clearly plan to beat this dead horse until its nothing but glue. You keep changing your argument from saying that humans are "obligate frugivores" to just "frugivores" just because our anatomy suggests that our ancestors at one point evolved adaptations for such a diet, regardless of the fact that hominids have eaten meat for millions of years to varying degrees. (That, by definition, is an omnivore.) You are clearly trying to push an agenda, which appears to be coming from the animal rights end of the spectrum. You have even thrown insults at admins. This behavior has to stop. Any edits you make concerning this topic will be reverted, so you might as well just give it up. I will say this to you one last time: WIKIPEDIA IS NOT A FORUM!VisionHolder « talk » 01:22, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry, Vision; I should have worded that much differently. J.M. Archer (talk) 14:46, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
You actually need to demonstrate that my 'views' are "invalid". I made the case for humans being biological frugivores with short cites from the required published literature, and the evidence is clear. I said that I think it could be argued that humans are obligate frugivores in response to someone else raising that question, and if "obligate" has nothing to do with nutritional requirements in order to maintain good health, well that seems rather strange to me. But anyway it is a separate issue, discussed separately, not changing back-and-forth. It has been said that the definition of an omnivore is a species that consumes both plant and animal matter as a primary source. See above. Pearl999 (talk) 12:46, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
In common use, the term omnivore may be used to describe both a) what an animal does and b) what an animal is. This article addresses the suggestion that humans are biologically omnivores, because this is what people infer when they say "humans are omnivores". Pearl999 (talk) 17:18, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I am stating that your views are not supported by the current, predominant academic literature. The sources you have cited have been either very old, from people outside the field (such as Percy Bysshe Shelley), are from unreliable sources (such as your latest link to a "free book" by John Coleman... whoever that is), or do not support your view (by not explicitly stating that humans are frugivores). My point is that you can't find a source, and even if you could find one, it would not overturn the majority opinion in the academic literature. Wiki is an encyclopedia. By trying to gather your own evidence, you are violating WP:NOR... basically doing your own research and trying to put it on Wiki. Please understand that the term "omnivore" includes eating fruit... as well as leaves, animal matter, etc. If you're going to argue that humans are frugivores since they eat fruit and well-adapted for it, then you can equally label almost every omnivore as a frugivore. For example, on the Ring-tailed lemur article, they are called "opportunistic omnivores." The majority of their diet is fruit and leaves, but because they will readily consume animal matter, that is what the literature calls them. The literature does not say that the Ring-tailed Lemur is a frugivore, folivore, and a carnivore. There's a reason for that. But regardless of their reasons, we go by the academic literature. If for some reason Wayne Pacelle wrote an article for the Humane Society of the United States noting that the Ring-tailed Lemur is a frugivore, that still wouldn't overrule the academic literature. The Wiki article would not change. Likewise, you will not find in the literature what you want. If it were there, one of us would have changed the article already. – VisionHolder « talk » 00:06, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Props to you, Visionholder! The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 22:34, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
What you are saying is again really incorrect. My views are indeed supported by recent academic literature. I've cited anthropologists, nutritional research, and even the older sources were, with the exception of Shelley, authorities in the study of human anatomy. A review of what I've posted confirms what I've just said, even with the massive deletion of material (I recommend following the links provided). John Coleman, yes, like myself, has done a great deal of research, and sources are referenced. Pearl999 (talk) 11:09, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Your recent academic references did not clearly state that humans are classified as frugivores. They argued that humans eat fruit and have for a long time. I remember you quoted Robert Sussman, a prominent anthropologist. You felt that he was arguing that humans are frugivores. Here's a short quote from Dr. Sussman related to this matter: "Many primates, including man, are omnivorous (Harding 1981, Sussman 1987, Martin 1990)." Source:
Sussman, R.W. (2003). "Chapter 1: Ecology: General Principles". Primate Ecology and Social Structure. Pearson Custom Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 978-0536743633. 
Except for your animal rights literature, no one with a relevant degree is arguing that humans are frugivorous over omnivorous. They are simply arguing that humans have evolved from mostly frugivorous primates and that a sizable amount of our diet includes vegetable matter (possibly in response to the Atkins Diet craze). Be careful not to synthesize material from multiple sources to advance your argument (WP:SYNTH). – VisionHolder « talk » 18:10, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
The dietary status of the human species is that of an unspecialised frugivore. Pearl999 (talk) 15:02, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
We're essentially debating here how humans should be classified in the -vory categories of animal diet (herbivore, omnivore, carnivore, frugivore, folivore, insectivore, granivore, vermivore, etcetera). The way such a debate should be resolved is by determining what sources like the book Visionholder cites have to say—high-quality, reliable sources that summarize academic knowledge, rather than centuries-old works and quote-mined primary research papers. Ucucha 18:51, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Measurements of human gut size are grouped on the best fit line of the frugivores (Hladik et al., 1999). Pearl999 (talk) 15:02, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

this is all so much ideological nonsense. The shift to scavenging was absolutely crucial to the emergene of the Homo genus. I do not think that this is disputed. The entitre point is, yes, anatomically Australopithecines and early Homo were "frugivores", which put them under strong pressure to adapt their behaviour, i.e. to invent tools, which is the first step in a chain of events that produced humans in the first place. "Humans are frugivores" is much like saying "humans are apes". Not absolutely wrong from a purely anatomical point of view, but ignoring worlds of differences in behaviour. If you want to focus on items that are shared by hhumans and great apes, I suggest you edit the Hominidae. The Human article will naturally focus on modern (behaviorally modern) humans. If you want to discuss the biology of early humans, you want Homo. --dab (𒁳) 13:33, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Low-yield scavenging in the context of competitive male displays cannot account for the significant changes in life history now seen to distinguish early humans from ancestral australopiths. The high quality foods needed to provide enough energy for the incipient hominids could have been drawn from alternative sources.
The biology of modern humans is relevant, and that's what I've been getting at all along. Pearl999 (talk) 15:02, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

It is obvious that no one in this debate, including me up till now, had even bothered to check the article frugivore to see what the word means. It doesn't mean "vegan" or "vegetarian" or even "obligate frugivore". All it means, according to that article, is an omnivore that often eats fruit. Therefore, saying that humans are "frugivores" is about as contravertial as saying that we have elbows. We could add it to the article with no citation as no one who understands the word would challenge it; everyone knows that humans are an omnivore whose diet tends to include fruit. Even if it were challenged, you could easily cite a statement to the effect of "fruit is one of the things that people eat". I don't see the point, however, because the word is used in the sources there mostly to discuss an important element in the distribution of seeds for fruit-bearing plants, so it's a useful concept in that context. Here, we must say that humans are omnivorous, but calling us "frugivores" would single out one element of our omnivorous diet for special emphasis above all others, and I don't see the point of that.

Ipso Facto, unless the article frugivore is wrong about what the word means, this entire debate could have been dealt with by simply reading the first sentence of that article, proving that it pays to READ THE ARTICLE about something before TALKING ABOUT IT (myself included). Chrisrus (talk) 18:36, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

The ambiguous term omnivore is used to emphasize a supplement of meat included from time to time in a mainly frugivorous diet.
First, as a point of order, please make it clear when you are talking to me and when you are pulling a quote out of context to have someone else respond to me for you. Yes, as far as I know, the term "omnivore" is used, when discussing Chimpanzees and such, more to emphasize that they do regularly also eat meat, but the fact is that not all chimps do eat meat, because many females and young chimps are prevented from doing so by the big males that tend to hog it all. So the source has a point, I don't know if the point is also yours, but yes, it might better be said that many chimps are omnivores, but some aren't. But I thought we were talking about people, who tend to let their women and children eat meat, unlike chimps.
Second, please tell me now if you and I are using the word "fugivore" the same way. As I have asked you before, do you think it means "animal that often eats fruit" or "animal that eats fruit, not meat"? Because it seems like you mean the latter. If so, please read the first sentences of the article frugivore and notice that that article defines it as any animal whose diet features fruit, regardless of what it eats the rest of the time or what the proportion is. I need to know if I disagree with you or not if we are to continue this conversation. Chrisrus (talk) 07:12, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm sticking as closely to repeating the authorities referenced as possible. Claude Marcel Hladik has been conducting field research for about thirty years, analysing the diet composition of 38 primate species in their natural setting ( ). As you've rightly noted, animal flesh is rarely available to females and never exploited by the youngest animals. Small mammals may likewise be captured and consumed by chimps in the context of male displays. You yourself are emphasizing a supplement of flesh included from time to time in a mainly frugivorous diet with your use of the word "regularly" in order to say that many chimps are omnivores. Understand that omnivore (n.) is commonly seen as reference to animals who have appropriate and necessary evolutionary flesh- and plant-eating physiological adaptations (e.g. bears and hogs). Some chimps could at a stretch be described as omnivorous (adj.), if we accept that to mean any consumption of animal flesh at all for whatever reason, however occasional it is and small in amount. While many humans are today indeed omnivorous, the human digestive tract is that of a frugivore, naturally suited to a flexible diet that can, parallel to the chimpanzee, include occasional small amounts of animal matter, edible shoots, leaves, and so on, but which consists primarily of fruit and seeds. To maintain that humans are natural omnivores, you really need to show: a.) evidence of carnivorous biological adaptation, and, b.) that humans are capable of consuming significant amounts of animal matter without adverse effects to human health.. Pearl999 (talk) 14:43, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
So you agree with your sources that humans and our closest hominid ancestors and cousins did eat fruit, tubers, nuts, and meat, but that we couldn't eat as much meat and tubers originally until we had started regularly cooking, as tubers and meat are too tough without cooking. You are, or you aren't, trying to say that it's not human nature to eat tubers and meat. Or are you? Chrisrus (talk) 05:32, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Australopithecus afarensis didn't have the dental adaptations necessary to eat animal flesh (, but dental and microwear patterns exhibited by Australopithecus are compatible with the additions of roots to a chimpanzee-like diet ( Pearl999 (talk) 14:43, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
There was no evidence of a threshold beyond which further benefits did not accrue with increasing proportions of plant-based foods in the diet. The American journal of cardiology ISSN 0002-9149 CODEN AJCDAG Pearl999 (talk) 15:02, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Humans evolved from Autralopithecine apes

"In a 1979 preliminary microwear study of Australopithecus fossil teeth, anthropologist Alan Walker theorized that robust australopiths were largely frugivorous.[9] However, newer methods of studying fossils have suggested the possibility that Australopithecus was omnivorous. In 1992, trace element studies of the strontium/calcium ratios in robust australopith fossils suggested the possibility of animal consumption, as they did in 1994 using stable carbon isotopic analysis.[10] Australopithecus mainly ate fruit, vegetables, and tubers" (Alticle on Australopithecus) [Italics and Bold added]. The word "mainly" is different from "entirely," and it must be noted that the Genus Homo (humans) diverged from the Genus Australopithecus (Australopithecine apes). So, while plants are supposed to be an important part of our diet, we did not evolve as exclusive plant eaters as some of you are trying to insist. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 02:55, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Professor of anthropology Robert W. Sussman, Ph.D. has stated that Australopithecus afarensis was not dentally pre-adapted to eat meat. They didn't have the sharp shearing blades necessary to retain and cut animal flesh. They simply couldn't eat meat. ( Furthermore, carrion avoidance is a dietary strategy in primates as a response to the association of gastrointestinal illness with the ingestion of contaminated meat from scavenged carcasses. ( Pearl999 (talk) 11:47, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Just look at the more recent studies cited in that article. Anyway, how does Australopithecus even fall under the field of anthropology? When are our ancestors old enough to fall under paleontology instead? Actually, I could scratch that argument and still prove this point. Anyway, assuming that Australopithecine apes could digest straight-chain cellulose (i.e. had the enzyme to break Beta bonds), that is an ability we have lost, in which case that's one adaptation to a small (5% or 10%) proportion of meat in the diet. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 22:22, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, but what more recent studies? Sussman's research is based on studying the fossil evidence dating back nearly seven million years. You know what's said about assuming, right? Really relevant (and supported by science) is the evidence of the greater number of copies of the AMY1 gene, indicating increased ability to digest large quantities of starch. (You can read about the study at ..) Pearl999 (talk) 12:28, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
I was referring to the more recent studies here: [[34]], in the Diet Section of that Article. They were more recent than some of the ones you cited earlier. Since omnivores are partial plant-eaters by definition, they can digest starch without problems. I was talking about straight-chain cellulose, which has strong Beta links that starch polymers do not have. Humans can not digest this molecule. Exclusive plant-eaters can. That is a chemical adaptation to perhaps a tiny fraction of the diet as meat, but still a fraction.
We lack the enzyme to break Beta bonds. Period. Did our Australopithecine ancestors have the ability to digest cellulose (straight-chain, not starch) or not? If they did, that means we have adapted biologically to a diet that was somewhat different than theirs. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 04:30, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
The two australopithecines from South Africa, as well as the two species of Homo from South Africa and Tanzania, show considerable variation between individuals in all cases, but do not approach the extreme C4 dietary component of A. boisei. Many sedges are C4. The rhizomes and culms of many sedge species provide starchy food all year round (Haines and Lye 1983, Peters et al., 1992; van der Merwe et al., 2008). The author, Marion K. Bamford, thinks that this plant group has been greatly underestimated as a staple food. (Foods Available to Early Hominins). A. boisei clearly had a diet that included a lot of C4 plants. (The Diets of Early Hominins from South Africa and Tanzania: Isotopic Evidence) . And yet again the question remains: even if early Homo was opportunistically eating some animal matter, and especially in certain environmental conditions, how does that constitute evidence of carnivorous biological adaptation? Frugivores don't need to digest cellulose (it becomes necessary fibre that aids in digestive transit), as our molar teeth are adapted to mash and grind fruits, roots and other succulent parts of vegetables, thus breaking the plant cell walls and releasing the nutrients within. (Mastication is important in humans :) Pearl999 (talk) 13:41, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Other parts of a plant cell contain starch, but not so much the walls. Those are mostly straight-chain Beta-bonded cellulose. An inability to digest cellulose, is, for the most part, an inability to break down the plant cell wall proper, contrary to your explanation. Much of the reason that frugivores needn't digest cellulose is that they, unlike herbivores (grazers), are not quite entirely exclusive to plants. Recall the fact that most jungle apes do eat insects. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:21, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Frugivores don't need to digest the plant cell walls, because they are broken through the process of mastication. Frugivores (the larger primates) may ingest or eat insects, but they constitute a very small proportion of the diet. Pearl999 (talk) 10:14, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Why are the dietary habits of Australopithecus discussed on Talk:Human? This belongs on Talk:Australopithecus. The dietary habits of humans are beyond dispute, I hope, as they are directly observable. Please stop turning this into a discussion of what humans "should" eat. Humans have eaten a diet of meat, eggs, berries, nuts, grain, fruit etc. for 2 million years and they still do so now. I honestly don't see what can be disputed about that. The only thing that can be argued about is the addition of milk products since the Neolithic and the development of adult lactose tolerance in Eurasia but not elsewhere. --dab (𒁳) 10:31, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

This isn't about dietary habits (behaviour), but biological fact. Pearl999 (talk) 13:46, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
When you say "this isn't about..." what do you mean by "this"? We are supposed to be discussing the article, specifically the section about dietary habits/behavior of humans. You agree it should say that the human diet has typically included meat; you don't suggest that this fact be removed from the article: human diets typically include meat. But vegans don't die, and in fact are healthier. And this bears mentioning, it does prove something about the human diet. Something like "even though...includes meat, it doesn't have to/shouldn't". That's a rational position, if proven. If I'm wrong about this and what you want is the removal of the fact that the human diet has/does include meat, you are doomed to failure because people eat meat. The best you can hope for is "...includes meat..., however,..."Chrisrus (talk) 19:47, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you. Would you interpret "human diets typically include meat" to mean that "most of mankind for much of human history has subsisted on near-vegetarian diets", and that "the vast majority of the population of the world today continues to eat vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diets..."? [Position paper on the vegetarian approach to eating, Journal of the American Dietetic Association 77(1980):61-69]. "This" referring to the clarification that while human diets may include significant amounts of 'foods' derived from other animals, human biology is that of a frugivore, not omnivore. Pearl999 (talk) 11:04, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Martin Hogbin in the above subsection had a point earlier when he talked about moderation. Too much meat is a bad thing, but complete vegetarianism, or even more so veganism, makes it harder to find a sufficient supply of easily digestible proteins. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:35, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
The American Dietetic Association concludes that a well-planned vegan diet is healthful and nutritious for adults, infants, children and adolescents and can help prevent and treat chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes. More evidence that even "moderation" is harmful: Ischemic heart disease mortality for the highest third of intake compared with the lowest third - 3.29 (1.50, 7.21) for total animal fat, 2.77 (1.25, 6.13) for saturated animal fat, and 3.53 (1.57, 7.96) for dietary cholesterol. No protective effects were noted for fish, and the consumption of eggs and cheese were both positively associated with ischemic heart disease mortality. . Pearl999 (talk) 11:04, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I mention again the shortage of exercise that most Americans get. I read your cited abstract on the Masai, and it says their fat consumption was higher in the first place than that of American men. The higher fat consumption balanced off the positive effect of greater activity. Had they consumed the same levels of animal fat in the first place, they would have felt the benefit of more exercise. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 07:09, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
The above study involved subjects recruited in the United Kingdom, not Americans. It is speculated that the Masai's physical activity causes their coronary vessels to be protectively capacious, but their aorta showed extensive atherosclerosis, regardless. ( I doubt that it could be said that lives in rural China were sedentary, and their animal protein intake was very low, about 10% of US intake, yet coronary artery disease mortality rates were inversely associated with the frequency of intake of green vegetables and plasma erythrocyte monounsaturated fatty acids, and positively associated with plasma apolipoprotein B, which is positively associated with animal protein intake. (The American journal of cardiology ISSN 0002-9149 CODEN AJCDAG ). Pearl999 (talk) 13:29, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
For some reason, the Abstract still says equal rates of atherosclerosis after higher (not equal) fat intake than that of Americans. In any case, the USA and UKGB are both "1st World" industrialized countries, and would be much more similar in lifestyle to each other than to the Masai. Furthermore, I will point out that even the very most active of present-day humans are not quite as active as the original evolutionary Homo sapiens. In one of their great migrations, our ancestors literally walked all the way from what is now Saudi Arabia to Siberia, in what the fossil record shows to be a shorter amount of time than has ever since been achieved since on foot. (A week or 2 is it estimated? Across all of Eurasia in such time!) Good luck to the most active Chinese or Masai peasant to repeat that feat. The comparison just doesn't stack up in terms of activity when it comes to how we actually evolved. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 20:48, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Exercise may be able to help by reducing the amount of fat in the blood, but this cannot be considered to be an evolutionary carnivorous adaptation. Naturally carnivorous species do not develop atherosclerosis no matter how much animal fat and protein they consume, and even in relatively very inactive domestic dogs it's extremely rare. Pearl999 (talk) 12:19, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Omnivores would not have the exact same adaptations as pure carnivores. Dogs are pure carnivores, not omnivores. All omnivores are partial plant eaters. 1. It's true that we can't bite into live prey, which shows we're not pure carnivores, and no one is arguing that. 2. We also can't digest cellulose (again, straight-chain, not starch) as pure plant-eaters can. 3. Back then as now, fruits were not that widely available on the Savanna where fruit-bearing trees were (and still are) a very sparse part of the plant community. Homo sapiens evolved in that habitat, not in the tree-rich (and fruit-rich) jungles of our frugivorous relatives known as gorillas, and chimps, and so forth. (If anything, the slightly lower temperatures of the 4th Ice Age would have made tree populations there even sparser than today.) The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:41, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Whyis Pearl999 allowed to talk? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:44, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Pearl, have you said specifically what and exactly how you would like the article changed? You have to have a proposal; "I want to add this in this place" or "I want to delete this" or what it is we are discussing doing to the article. Otherwise, we're not talking about ways to improve the article which means you would have to stop doing what you're doing on this talk page. You have accepted that humans are omnivores. You have accepted that humans do, in fact eat meat. Are you saying our ancient ancestors did not eat meat? All hunter-gatherers living today or in historical memory ate meat. You are saying early Homo sapians did not eat meat? If you are talking about something other than fully modern humans, it's not for this article. This article is only about fully modern humans. What do you want to change about the article? Chrisrus (talk) 05:44, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
See the "Humans Are Biological Frugivores" Archive Heading.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Most biologists agree that humans are herbivores.[4][5][6] Our digestive systems are far more similar to that of other herbivorous species, not omnivores. I'm not suggesting take everything about being omnivores out, because we obviously act like we are, but adding something about how humans are biologically herbivores. (talk) 02:22, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

I think popular usage applies here meaning we can't say something even if it's true if the general population believes or says otherwise. For instance, we can't say Obama is the first mixed president. we have to say he's the first black president since that's what the media says.username 1 (talk) 20:17, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Not true at all. Common knowledge is often mistaken and WP often debunks common misconceptions. The vegsource article cited seems reasonably reliable. I don't see why the info couldn't be incorporated. --Cybercobra (talk) 20:48, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
The sources all seem to be from vegetarian web sites and do not support the assertion that most biologists agree that humans are herbivores.Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:24, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
  1. ^ How Neanderthals met a grisly fate: devoured by humans. The Observer. May 17, 2009.
  2. ^ Twenty questions on atherosclerosis, Are human beings herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?
  3. ^ Roberts WC (1990). "We think we are one, we act as if we are one, but we are not one.". Am J Cardiol. 66 (10): 896. PMID 2697806. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
Indeed. It ought to be something more like "Some biologists/doctors/whatever such as XX and YY believe humans are anatomically herbivores." --Cybercobra (talk) 00:33, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
We are NOT anatomically herbivores. We are true biological omnivores. Members of Homo sapiens HAVE what are called canine teeth near the front of the mouth. True herbivores (such as horses, cattle, and rabbits) LACK that type of tooth altogether. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 09:13, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
This is not a scientifically sound conclusion. Gorillas (which of course are much closer to us than the ungulates and rodents you use as examples) have enormous canine teeth, and are complete herbivores. They use their canines to cut into hard plants such as bamboo. It is invalid to conclude that the existence of canines equates with meat-eating. — Epastore (talk) 07:17, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Humans were never capable of eating any plant as hard as bamboo, so our canines can't be for that as those of gorillas are. (I will not even emphasize the fact that gorillas do eat certain insects, and insects do count as animals rather than plants.) Meat, I might point out, is far softer than bamboo, and what's taught in bio. classes is that we evolved omnivorous, and, when eating meat, tearing it straight off the bone. This explains the shape of a canine tooth that is nowhere near strong enough to tear very hard plants. Also, can gorillas digest true cellulose? (Humans can't. I can tell you that much for certain.) Furthermore, our Australopithecine ancestors were not like modern gorillas in their diet. See the "Diet" Section in the Article Australopithecus. We are also directly descendant from Homo erectus, a largely carnivorous scavenger, by way of our immediate ancestor, Homo rhodesiensis. In any case, even the very oldest fossil sites of Homo sapiens (after our own speciation) sometimes have animal bones near them, which means we are true biological omnivores. To be exact, we are supposed to be primary-secondary omnivores, which means the animal prey we eat is itself herbivorous. (So, we eat plants and herbivores but not other carnivores.) With some exceptions, we largely adhere to that even today. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:36, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
Please see discussion below under the subject heading Humans Are Biological Frugivores. The cuspids ("canines") are adapted for cracking nuts. Our cuspids are short, stout and slightly triangular, and bear no resemblance to the long, round, slender, curved, sharp canines set apart from the other teeth, which is a feature of all true carnivores (except birds).
Anthropologist Nathaniel J. Dominy of the University of California,Santa Cruz and colleagues have found that Homo erectus has a stable isotope signature that is consistent with a high-starch diet, not a carnivorous diet. Pearl999 (talk) 13:52, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
First of all, with all do respect to Prof. Dominy, Homo erectus falls under paleontology, not anthropology. H. erectus is just that old, and had no developed cultures such that the field of anthropology is designed to study. Second, I never said they were true carnivores. I said they were partial scavengers, which is true. (It was in a History Channel Documentary, and those are very well researched.) So, while they were not true carnivores, they were also not true herbivores. Furthermore, humans canines can't crack nuts. Try it sometime. You'll actually break your teeth long before you break the nut. (Hence: Nutcrackers.) A better explanation is that predators with longer and rounder canines often bite into live animals in order to kill them. (Try watching a pack of wolves attack a deer.) Humans, in the partial scavenger heritage of H. erectus, have always had their animal prey already dead long before biting into the meat. The difference is that Homo rhodesiensis and Homo sapiens had better weapons and could kill prey animals, thereby not having to look for already-dead ones.
Third, I would like to draw some attention to the fact that true herbivores can digest straight-chain cellulose, something humans can not do. Furthermore, the human stomach is proportionally too small to be consistent with a complete herbivores. (Herbivores have more distended bellies to accommodate more material, because plants are still harder to digest even if one can digest cellulose.) The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 15:25, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the opportunity for necessary correction. Human canines are known as "incisiform" canines, which anthropologist David Pilbeam suggests function as extensions of the incisors and by analogy perform the same function.. "absolutely and relatively large incisors are correlated with food procurement tasks, such as biting into large fruits with hard rinds." (Pilbeam D., 'Human Evolution' course Harvard College, Science B-27 handouts, Section 3 - Anatomy II: The Cranium, Mandible And Dentition). Dental and oral anatomy of humans is entirely consistent with that of a frugivorous great ape, with the addition of canine teeth further adapted to a biting plus suction fruit diet. Source:
As noted below in the section Humans are Biological Frugivores, there is good evidence of human hunting skills only around 100,000 years ago, and it's clear they were very ineffective big-game hunters. Some archaeologists and paleontologists don't think humans had a modern, systematic method of hunting until as recently as 60,000 years ago. With regard to scavenging, the opportunistic eating of uncooked carrion by nonhuman primates or humans is likely to result in gastrointestinal illness. See: Pearl999 (talk) 13:10, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Insects are animals animals rather than plants. Therefore, the fact that other great apes (such as gorillas) feed on insects as well as plants makes them omnivores, not true herbivores, even though they mostly eat plants. Also, Homo erectus was adapted to eating partially rotten meat in ways that the descendant species Homo heidelbergensis and Homo rhodesiensis (from which Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens later speciated in turn, respectively) somehow lost. They probably had a better immune system than we do now. All I know for sure is that it was in a documentary on human evolution that they were scavengers at least in part. Furthermore, I'm still not seeing anything to counter argue the fact that humans can not digest straight-chain cellulose, an ability that a herbivore would have a hard time surviving without, considering that plants usually contain that tough polymer. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 01:31, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Humans are frugivores, not herbivores (grazers/browsers). Larger primates may ingest or eat insects, but they comprise a very small proportion of the diet. Pearl999 (talk) 16:53, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
A mostly-frugivore with even a tiny percentage of animals in its diet, even if those animals are small and taxonomically distant as insects are, constitutes a type of omnivore. Furthermore, it is about time I produced a non-Wiki link, so here's one. Our teeth (which actually have a rather hard time cutting through thick rhinds unaided, by the way) aside, the rest of our digestive system beyond our mouth is not consistent with an exclusive plant-eater. I mentioned before that we can't digest straight-chain cellulose, and our stomach pH is more consistent with carnivores than herbivores. The list could continue from there. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 21:30, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't see an external link. To address your points.. 1. An omnivore, according to an accepted definition given below, is an animal who (naturally) eats both animal and plant foods as a primary source. 2. Are you saying that a human couldn't bite into a melon - a large fruit with a hard rind? 3. Carnivores (omnivores are carnivorous) have a much higher concentration of hydrochloric acid in the stomach for break down of proteins and to kill any dangerous bacteria. Their stomach acidity is less than or equal to pH 1 with food in the stomach, while humans have a pH 4 to 5. ( 4. There appears to be no threshold of plant-food enrichment or minimization of fat intake beyond which further disease prevention does not occur. These findings suggest that even small intakes of foods of animal origin are associated with significant increases in plasma cholesterol concentrations, which are associated, in turn, with significant increases in chronic degenerative disease mortality rates. - Campbell TC, Junshi C. Diet and chronic degenerative diseases: perspectives from China. Am J Clin Nutr 1994 May;59 (5 Suppl):1153S-1161S “Although human beings eat meat, we are not natural carnivores. We were intended to eat plants, fruits, and starches! No matter how much fat carnivores eat, they do not develop atherosclerosis. ... Thus, although we think we are one and we act as if we are one, human beings are not natural carnivores. When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings, who are natural herbivores. [frugivores] Pearl999 (talk) 12:26, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
That little superscripted [1] is a link outside Wikipedia, and if someone can tell me how to make the link work better that would be great. 1. Omnivores are NOT truly carnivorous. A true carnivore feeds exclusively on meat in terms of direct consumption. 2. Try it. Many types of melons just might chip your teeth, and our teeth don't grow back. 3. See 1. As stated in the article that I tried to link to above, the stomach pH when empty, however, does not match that of true herbivores when empty. 4. Prehistoric humans got a lot more exercise than modern ones, and that is the real problem with fat content and so forth. 5. True herbivores can digest straight-chain cellulose. We can't. That's more or less a smoking gun for this Discussion. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 00:26, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
The 'information' at the website you've linked is extremely flawed, as a look at the page "Comparison Between the Digestive Tracts of a Carnivore, a Herbivore and Man" quickly reveals. The statement that human "jaw movements are vertical" alone should alert you to the fact that this is nothing more than pseudoscientific nonsense. If "mastication is unimportant" in man, try "wolfing down" chunks of your next meal of animal flesh and you'll rapidly become part of a statistic.. . Your author makes no mention at all of frugivores. Omnivores have carnivorous biological adaptations. Humans do not. The coronary arteries of the extremely active Masai showed intimal thickening by atherosclerosis which equaled that of old U.S. men. Please try to support your claims with credible evidence. Pearl999 (talk) 11:28, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Atherosclerosis can be prevented by balancing red meat (more LDL than HDL) with fish (more HDL than LDL). This provides HDL to help break down LDL, which would otherwise build up in blood vessels. Furthermore, according to the Abstract of your article on the Masai, their fat intake exceeds that of American men on average, thereby balancing out their higher levels of exercise. In any case, fish are animals rather than plants. As for my sources, I seem to remember citing History Channel Documentaries and the like, and those are quite reliable. As for the fossil record, arrowheads have been found at Homo habilis fossil sites, which is part of how the binomial, which translates as "handy human," was derived. Even if their hunting skills were not stellar, they were not exclusive plant-eaters, and the members of H. habilis were the very first humans, for their species was the ancestor of the Genus Homo. According to the History Channel Documentary on Human Evolution, Homo sapiens evolved with at least a minority of meat in the diet, although I forget whether it was 5% or 10%. Furthermore, Homo neanderthalensis, also a type of human, had a diet of nearly 90% meat. The fact remains that exclusive plant-eaters can digest straight-chain cellulose, which humans can not do. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 18:11, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Another type of animal flesh to counter the deleterious effects of consuming animal flesh, you think? The effects of lean fish on plasma lipoproteins, .. Compared with the nonfish diet, the lean fish diet induced higher plasma total and LDL apolipoprotein (apo) B and apo B:apo A-1 ratio, indicating that the substitution of lean fish for beef, veal, pork, eggs and milk provides little benefits with regard to plasma apo B concentrations in a low-fat high P:S diet. Comparison of three species of dietary fish: effects on serum concentrations of low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein in normotriglyceridemic subjects ... the consumption of fish with a moderate amounts of n-3 fatty acids (salmon and sablefish) may cause a deleterious rise in LDL-C and apo B concentrations in normotriglyceridemic males (even compared with lean fish). Try: Effect of a diet high in vegetables, fruit, and nuts on serum lipids. If humans were naturally carnivorous, the Masai, et al. (omnivorous humans) wouldn't get atherosclerosis, period. Homo habilis: declared by most evolutionary paleontologists to be an ‘invalid taxon’ (biological category), i.e. a phantom species composed of a ‘waste-bin’ of fossils more correctly assigned to other species.10 A search on the www reveals no evidence of arrowheads from the early period you are referring to. In any case, what is being discussed is biological adaptation, not behavioural adaptation. Please distinguish between the two, thanks. And again, since you will keep referring to it: humans are frugivores, not herbivores (grazers and browsers). Also, another point I think you need to address, is how our teeth could become chipped from biting into melon. Pearl999 (talk) 12:29, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
Pearl999, you just resorted to citing a Creationist source. (Namely, That alone concludes my listening to anything you could possibly say. Furthermore, Homo habilis is not an invalid taxon, although some individuals have been invalidly placed in it. A minority of taxonomists want to call it Australopithecus habilis, but the current name (H. habilis) sticks because a majority of experts do consider it valid. Although there is some controversy over its Genus-level inclusion, that is different from being polyphyletic as you suggested. As a Biology Major, however, I am well aware of invalid taxa, such as, for example, the alleged Kingdom Protista. I was taught from the start that it was polyphyletic, and it annoyed me, personally. Eventually, the experts figured out how to discard it (i.e. what actual kingdoms comprised it), hence the Kingdoms Chromalveolata and Excavata to name just 2. See also the alleged Kingdom Monera.
In any case, the Natural History Museum recognizes H. habilis (and I was there as recently as December 2008), as do some quite recent documentaries on human evolution (from the History Channel and the like). As for fish, I have heard from a Registered Nurse about some medical literature that fish can improve HDL:LDL ratios. In order to counter her, what is your degree (level and field)?
When I asked Evolution Professor Edward Gabriel (of Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA) about this very matter, he affirmed that humans evolved with a small portion of meat in our diet, perhaps 5% or 10%. I fully realize that those are far smaller percentages than what most present-day humans consume in meat, but it still makes humans omnivores. Any animal short of 100% plant or animal prey, in either direction, is automatically an omnivore according to the definitions I learned back in High School Biology (College-Prep Level).
Last but not least, I have yet to see an alternative explanation on why we can't digest straight-chain cellulose, an ability without which an exclusive plant eater in the wild is in serious trouble. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 01:57, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Kreger (2005) concludes that "No two researchers attribute all the same specimens as habilis, and few can agree on what traits define habilis, if it is a valid species at all, and even whether or not it belongs in the genus Homo or Australopithecus." . If citing from unreliable sources is a criteria for (not) being listened to, well I wouldn't be throwing stones if I were you. With regards to fish, I've just given you published research. Allegedly reliable TV documentaries, hearsay and say-so don't really cut it here, sorry. Humans are still biological frugivores no matter what percentage of animal flesh there may be in the diet. Frugivores don't need to digest cellulose (which becomes necessary fibre that aids in digestive transit), since our molar teeth are adapted to mash and grind fruits, roots and other succulent parts of vegetables, thus breaking the plant cell walls and releasing the nutrients within. Pearl999 (talk) 11:22, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
At least all the articles I cited were (also, at least) by Ph. D. biologists, and not a single one from a Creationist site. Furthermore, the references from individuals are from experts (Professors of relevant subjects) and experts alone. That's not hearsay. That's more like interviewing experts in the field. The History Channel is not allegedly reliable, but quite well researched. More importantly, the Natural History Museum recognizes Homo habilis. The Natural History Museum is among the ultimate reliable sources for evolution questions. I acknowledge that humans perhaps evolved with mostly plants as food, but not 100%. I acknowledge that 5% or 10% meat is much less than what most present-day humans consume, but it still constitutes a point on a spectrum of true omnivores. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:53, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Barry (mastication is unimportant) Groves, PhD - . Where are humans' evolutionary carnivorous biological adaptations? Why was there no evidence of a threshold beyond which further benefits did not accrue with increasing proportions of plant-based foods in the diet? ( How is it that the relative risk (RR) of colon cancer for the intake of red meat for >0-<1 time/week = 1.38 , and the RR for >0-<1 time/week = 1.55 for white meat ( if humans are natural omnivores? Human dietary habits do not constitute evidence of evolutionary biological adaptation. Pearl999 (talk) 10:09, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Our closest taxonomic relatives do eat insects despite how tiny a proportion of their diet those animals constitute. Our relation to them is not a habit (and you're right that habits alone don't count as adaptations), but a matter of evolution. Furthermore, that 5%-to-10% estimate pertains to what we evolved while doing, not present-day habit, which would show higher percentages of meat consumption. In addition, the examples of Gorilla gorilla and Gorilla beringei, our relatives in the Order Primates, demonstrate even from insects alone that frugivores fall short of eating 100% plant material. These relatives of ours lack the artificial changes of habit that we have. Thus, only herbivores (as in grazers) are 100% exclusive to plants. I should also point out the fact that humans only have mutualistic bacteria in the large intestine, and not in the stomach itself as exclusive plant-eaters do. The human caecum is also far too small to be consistent with an exclusive plant-eater, as is the human colon. Those last 2 items in Italics are not consistent with the adaptations of exclusive plant-eaters. Aside: [35]. I compared my own lower jaw as best I could to this well-resolved image of the lower jaw of a female gorilla. I found, in a matter of anatomy, not habit, that my teeth are in fact slightly sharper and rougher than hers, naturally. (I have never had any crazy tooth-sharpening surgery or the like, so my tooth shape must be as nature had it.) Unless this comparison of a human's and a gorilla's teeth is a gross anomaly, this is an adaptation to chewing a small dietary portion of non-insect meat. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 06:33, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Most forest primates have a frugivorous diet, with a supplement of protein provided either by young vegetable shoots and leaves, or by animal matter (mostly insects) -- a flexible dietary adaptation that allows them to switch between various categories of food items available in different habitats throughout the seasons of the year. The largest primate species, especially anthropoids, consume mainly vegetable matter to provide their protein requirements. ( Diet and seasonal changes in sympatric gorillas and chimpanzees at Kahuzi-Biega National Park - Gorillas rarely fed on insects, but chimpanzees occasionally fed on bees with honey, which possibly compensate for fruit scarcity. Studies of frugivorous communities suggest that dietary divergence is highest when preferred food (succulent fruit) is scarce, and that niche separation is clear only at such times. (Gautier-Hion & Gautier 1979: Terborgh 1983) - Foraging profiles of sympatric lowland gorillas and chimpanzees in the Lope Reserve, Gabon, p.179, Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences vol 334, 159-295, No. 1270. And again, humans are frugivores, not herbivores (grazers and browsers) adapted to consume and digest large quantities of grasses or leaves, so it really is pointless for you to keep comparing the two. Our plant food mashing and grinding molars could certainly also grind insects, but to claim that they're specifically adapted to doing so... well it just doesn't fly, Mysterious El Willstro. Pearl999 (talk) 12:36, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
The contrast between gorillas and chimps advances my point, rather than refuting it like you wanted to do. In the sentence, "Diet and seasonal changes in sympatric gorillas and chimpanzees at Kahuzi-Biega National Park - Gorillas rarely fed on insects, but chimpanzees occasionally fed on bees with honey, which possibly compensate for fruit scarcity," I found a rare gem of argumentation. Despite how gorillas look more like us to the untrained eye, humans are taxonomically closer to chimps than to gorillas. In addition, I do not claim that are teeth are adapted mainly for insects, but rather that human molars are sharper than those of gorillas based on a well-resolved image of a female gorilla's lower jaw. By all means, compare your own lower jaw to hers as best you can. Also, you can make all the Ad Hominem arguments about Dr. Groves that you like, but his table under "Comparison 4" is actually accurate with the possible exception of the one line about mastication. Come to think of it, it depends what one means by "important," as it is often physically possible for humans to swallow relatively small pieces of food with little if any chewing. (Consider an extra-thin carrot stick or such that if anything one mostly chews to maximize taste.) The rest of the table matches what I've learned in class (and since the table is a retrievable source I can use what I've learned in class to reinforce it). As physically unhealthy as he himself may be, I seem to recall reading that he is now in his 70s, coming to be a nice ripe old age. People will start to fade in their 70s onward no matter what. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 21:11, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Plant foods provided ~99% of the food seen eaten by chimpanzees during a year-long study. I must remind you that according to an accepted definition, 'Omnivores... are species that eat both plants and animals as their primary food source'. A food source constituting ~1% of the natural diet can in no way be considered primary. Gorillas are highly folivorous, hence the flatter more herbivorous type leaf-grinding molars that you observe. In contrast, a. the dental and microwear patterns exhibited by Australopithecus are compatible with the additions of roots to a chimpanzee-like diet ( and, b. researchers report that humans have on average 3 times more AMY1 copies compared to chimps, indicating that the consumption of high-starch roots and tubers began early in the human lineage. ( The argument against Dr. Groves is not ad hominem. He's promoted blatant nonsense on those pages despite being an authority in your estimation. If you'd like to pick through what's there to provide us with what you consider to be credible evidence for carnivorous biological adaptations in humans, then go ahead and we'll examine it together. Carnivores can rip large chunks of flesh from a carcass and swallow it whole. Humans cannot. If you think that a physically unfit (why? if humans are natural omnivores) man in his 70's is a 'nice ripe old age', try this: 140 Uygur centenarians among the ages of 100 to 135 years of whom nearly two thirds could take care of themselves and some could even do slight physical labour. .. with (footnotes) (6) Higher than expected levels of serum sex hormones, (7) Intaking of large quantities of fresh maize, melon, fruits and onion all year round; . And yes, vegan men have higher testosterone levels (offset by higher sex hormone binding globulin). They also have low insulin-like growth factor-I, and higher levels of IGF-1 may increase the risk of several types of cancer. Pearl999 (talk) 11:32, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
You mentioned an age range of 100 to 135. The world record for a human lifespan was only 121 years or so. Look it up. That person died in the late 1990s. Let me clarify this: There is no such thing as an expert "in my estimation." A Ph. D. is a Ph. D. Furthermore, animals that can bite into live pray as you just described are pure carnivores, not omnivores. Comparing with wolves and such is pointless when no one is arguing that humans are true carnivores. I will also point out the fact that humans are not forest primates by natural habitat. The Congo plain where Homo sapiens speciated from Homo rhodesiensis is a Savanna region, not a jungle. Trees (a source of fruits and hard roots) would be far scarcer there than meat would. I would be amiss not to mention that the fact that chimps and gorillas (the largely frugivorous apes you cite as analogous examples) both evolved in the jungle, whereas we evolved on the Savanna. That is quite a major habitat difference, and habitats must always be taken into account when interpreting adaptations or potential adaptations, such as tooth morphologies and everything else. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:33, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

I changed your edit to bring the link outside the "ref" tag to make it more visible. Soap 00:43, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you, Soap! Could you send the syntax for that on my User Talk Page? Apparently, the type of link I originally used works better in Articles themselves than on Talk Pages. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 02:28, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I did mean to edit my comment to note that gorillas do eat insects. However, obviously their canines are not suited to that purpose. All I was saying is that is it scientifically invalid to claim that the mere existence of canines indicates meat-eating, or that canines can only be used for rending flesh. Comparing us to ungulates and rodents hardly seems relevant, so I made a comparison to other Great Apes, and noted that very similar animals use canines for non-carnivorous purposes. Separately, do be careful in how you say that one species of Homo evolved from another. If you dig into the anthropology, you will find that there is really no certainty there. What you claim as fact is more the generally (but by no means universally) accepted hypothesis. The evidence provided by fossils is very scarce; and no anthropologist will say there is certainty about almost any direct descent from one Homo species to another. — Epastore (talk) 05:26, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I said most biologists based on personal experience. Every biologist I've spoken to/met has agreed that humans are herbivores. I don't suggest using this wording in the article. Yes, the sources are from vegetarian web sites, sure, but they are all articles written by biologists with no ties to these web sites themselves. I merely couldn't find the articles posted elsewhere. Also, the third source was meant to be [1] (talk) 20:02, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm a Biology Major. We are true omnivores. Even the very oldest fossil records of humans show at least some meat consumption. Actually, let's go even further back to "Diet" in Australopithecus. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:33, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
I've seen humans in real life several times and they were eating meat, so based on observation alone it appears the the species is omnivorous. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:51, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I have also encountered several humans who, in their natural habitat, were eating meat. Seems to me they're omnivores and should be listed as such.AlexHOUSE (talk) 23:10, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I'll avoid entering this dispute for the time being, but my personal opinion is that humans are unique and cannot be classified in a category with any other animal. Yes, we eat meat, but generally only if it's of an animal that's been dead for a long time (relative to the fresh kills we see in the wild), drained of blood, cleaned of internal organs, and cooked in a very careful way. Yes, there are exceptions, but they're rare, and no human will take all of the exceptions at once, by e.g. hunting a small animal and then eating it raw right then and there. People who do try things like that (see raw foodism) suffer health problems, because it's not just a preference, it's an actual evolutionary adaptation. So there are quite a lot of differences between us and nearly every other "meat eater". Also, we're the only animal in the world that by nature eats grains ... we invented grains. So we're not really much like any of the other herbivores in the world either. Hence, I say that humans are unclassifiable on the herbivore/carnivore/omnivore spectrum, though if we have to pick one, I would say omnivore is the one that makes the most sense because pigs are omnivores and we're the most like them. -- Soap Talk/Contributions 17:16, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
To clarify, the reason I said I'm avoiding the content dispute and then went on to reply to the discussion is because my argument is pretty much classic original research, which is sometimes acceptable on an article talk page if (and only if) it oontributes to the discussion at hand, but is never allowed in the article itself. -- Soap Talk/Contributions 17:18, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Locusts eat grains. Unless i'm mistaken. But I digress. username 1 (talk) 21:06, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Lots of animals eat grains: insects; birds; rodents; many large herbivores as supplements grasses; etc. We're the only animal who eats ground and cooked bread, for example (except for others that scavenge it from humans)... but then, we're also the only animal who eats hot dogs or sushi too (modulo the scavenging thing, of course). There's nothing hard to classify about human diet, particularly; albeit the amount of preparation humans apply to most foodstuffs is certainly more than with other animals. LotLE×talk 22:03, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
We can probably put a paragraph or two on Human nutrition though we need a better source. username 1 (talk) 21:10, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. Evolving to eat cooked meat and processed grains is pretty notable and should be mentioned. -- (talk) 21:42, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Herbivores hmm why do i eat meat? Why did my ancenters have incensors? y does every time i eat meat i dont barf

I don't know about you, but I've seen plenty of meat-eating humans. Making the majority of humans omnivores. Black Cat Claws (talk) 18:11, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

The overwhelming majority of biologists classify humans as omnivores. Just look at homo sapiens the way we would look at any other species: what does this species eat, and not just recently, but over the history of the species? Going back tens of thousands of years, at the very least, our species eats both meat and plants.--RLent (talk) 16:25, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

What about the fossil record? We've always eaten meat. The fossil record is unambiguous. Chrisrus (talk) 13:18, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
That's right. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:39, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:15, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Homo sapiens doesn't have any specific adaptations that make it a better meat-eater than, say, a chimp. (talk) 07:14, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

We don't have a chimp's frugivorous jaw shape, for one. Also, our outward adaptations (IE visible morphology rather than metabolism at a molecular level) may be similar, but one must account for the fact that unlike chimps, who evolved in jungles, humans evolved on open grasslands where fruit-bearing trees are nowhere near as plentiful. All this was covered in the archived debates. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 01:56, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
The horse is not only dead but has in a state of advanced decomposition. Will this thread ever be allowed to be autoarchived? Rivertorch (talk) 04:08, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
That's one clever reference to the idiom "beating a dead horse"! Anyway, I agree. It's been conclusively shown twice now that we humans are perfectly natural omnivores. For some reason, people keep trying to challenge this, using these activist vegetarian Websites as sources, as if it will change something. Personally, I would like a 2nd item under FAQ for this very subtopic, so that certain people (myself, Martin Hogbin, Soap, and others), do not have to rewrite these arguments repeatedly anymore. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 04:39, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

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Political Correctness of single modern species

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Realized from deer mouse that if the same standards were applied to humans as to other genera, modern humans would break out into a number of different subspecies. Seems like this should be able to make its way into the article but have no desire to fight the fight myself. Lycurgus (talk) 23:00, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

The chance of you finding a reference are quite small I think. Dbrodbeck (talk) 23:02, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Actually I doubt that, but the chance of me expending the effort to do so is nil and the chance of me expending the effort to then introduce the result of that research here is zero. Lycurgus (talk) 23:11, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Subspecies is a pretty uncertain concept. It describes "geographic isolation or other factors" as the reason they exist. The former is clearly not the case today, and would be a time-frame based debate. Not sure what "other factors" might be. HiLo48 (talk) 23:16, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
If you have no references, and no desire to find them, then this thread has little use. Dbrodbeck (talk) 23:20, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Canis lupus familiaris, the domestic dog, is an example of a subspecies that has wide variation in its gene pool, and even greater differences in appearance, but is still a single subspecies because the various dogs can and do mate with each other. According to the subspecies article, for a group to be its own subspecies, there must be no interbreeding even if it is physically possible for them to interbreed. The subspecies article gives the example of two hypothetical populations of frogs that are separated by a tall waterfall and don't mate with each other even though they're the same species inside. Neanderthals are classified as a subspecies because there is no firm evidence of mixing between them and the Sapiens humans, even though it is quite likely that we would be interfertile with them. But there is a lot of intermingling between the different racial groups of Sapiens humans today. So we're more like dogs than frogs. Soap 23:30, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Actually, it says "they often do not interbreed in nature due to geographic isolation or other factors" and prior to that positively states that they can and therefore implicitly that they (the officially designated subspecies) do sometimes interbreed. It's clearly a somewhat arbitrary and socially constructed taxonomy. Lycurgus (talk) 23:56, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
A. There were subspecies of Homo sapiens in addition to other types of humans altogether. Homo sapiens idaltu and Homo sapiens archaeus are both extinct, leaving Homo sapiens sapiens as the only surviving subspecies in the entire Genus Homo.
B. Surviving humans lack the genetic divergence for subspecies or even infraspecies classification. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 04:31, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Yes, Willstro is right. This article is pretty much about the Homo sapiens sapeiens subspecies. There are other extinct subspecies like H.idaltu, he's correct. But that's not all, and dbrodbeck is right, something like political correctness is involved. When taxonomy first started, both dogs and humans were considered species and assigned subspecies to the various existant main types, roughly corresponding to breed or racial groups. This is not done anymore. The reason that they stopped doing it in the case of dog is mostly because when they found out dogs were for sure domesticated Canis lupus wolves and not jackals or some such as had been suspected, they re-assigned all domestic dog types to two subspecies, C.l.familiaris and C.l.dingo. They still recognize all the old names like "Canis aquaticus and many more as official biological taxonomic synonyms, though. But the point is, now that dogs are a subspecies, they can't really have subspecies anymore. People shouldn't put too much emphasis on the reality of taxons, though. They are just an important tool. The best way to think of it is in terms of branches on a tree, with smooth transitions and fractal shapes. That's cladistics. The reason we stopped calling the major races "subspecies" of Homo sapiens is quite different than the dog case. It's just not done anymore. A zoologist from Mars probably would, but it's just not done anymore by earthbound experts; it's tacky and makes people feel wierd and uncomfortable and is probably bad for human progress to talk about ourselves that way. But objectively, there's no real biological justification for not calling the main extant subtypes of humans "subspecies". Varieties of other animals are so called for much more minor variations. Chrisrus (talk) 04:53, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

A. Domestic dogs are derived from gray wolves, but no longer gray wolves in their own right. Note that "wolf-dog" hybrids are generally sterile. That is, the former Canis lupus familiaris (by former I mean evolution, not reclassification) became Canis familiaris when it speciated in captivity. Speciations do still happen; it's not like they stopped at some point and now only subspecies can evolve.
B. The variations in other animals you refer to may be phenotypically more minor (at least to an untrained eye) than human ethnicities, but genetically they are more major.
C. Needless to say, Point B is more relevant to this Article on humans. Frankly, it would be a shame and an insult to science to subordinate the system of peer review to "political correctness," and fortunately I have not yet observed such a thing in my studies.
D. There is more than one type of cladistics from what I've read. (Ranked/Hybridized, unranked/unhybridized, etc.) More to the point, they do branch like a huge bush, but there are some sort of jumping points, leaps and bounds as it were, as part of the branching. Tattersall (in Becoming Human, by the way) made a convincing case that while the Synthesis has its applications, a distinction between microevolution and macroevolution can not be entirely explained away, contrary to what the supposed purists of cladistics tend to argue. (Despite the age of that book, I've read it and found that everything apart from some obsolete neurological theory is consistent with a good amount of more recent research. Being that neurological theory is not relevant in this particular context, I rest my case for now on that note.) The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 07:20, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Chrisrus that, 'People shouldn't put too much emphasis on the reality of taxons, though. They are just an important tool'. Even if different races were classed different genera it would make no difference to who and what we are. It might make a difference to how we thought about one another though. Whatever taxonomic basis we choose to classify ourselves under no doubt someone will find a way to misuse it. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:09, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
You are mostly right, but although we were taught that being able to interbreed without subsequent generations having sterility problems was a part of the definition of "species", but that's no longer the case. It turns out that many animals concidered separate species can reproduce without the sterile offspring problem. So this strict grounded-in-reality definition of "species" didn't hold up. I felt disappointed about that. The other point that you weren't right about was the sterility of the wolfdog, they reproduce just fine, it's the same animal genetically, as is the coywolf. The Red Wolf turns out to be a coywolf. There's also the Sulimov dog. The whole thing about there being a genetic reality to what is a subspecies that we were taught didn't turn out to be true. So you're right about the strict line reality of taxa. But we can't say "look, they can/can't have fertile offspring, it is/isn't a species" test that we were taught so long ago. Chrisrus (talk) 12:20, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
The wolfdog article seems to disagree that wolfdogs are generally sterile, and also states that they are still the same species; there is no "canis familiaris".Soap 12:57, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
Other Wiki Articles are not reliable due to the fact that Wiki consensus is not honest-to-God peer review (which is open only to people with Doctorates in the appropriate field, not to just anyone who can start an online account). See also Wikiality. That said, here's a source that refers wolf hybrids as true hybrids []. (True hybrids are sterile in 1 direction if not both.) At least it's not a forum (most of the things contradicting it in the same Google search were fora) nor another Wiki Article. However, I have seen somewhere that "wolfdogs" are at least sterile in 1 direction (IE it depends whether the parents are a female gray wolf and a male domestic dog or vice versa). Even sterility in 1 direction breaks the criterion for species level classification: Consistent fertility of offspring barring a new mutation. I could find a more detailed (on this topic anyway) source later, but it wouldn't be relevant to humans. Also, species level classifications are, last time I checked, still frequently revised to yield reproductively coherent and isolated populations as the true species. That is, things that were "concidered" species because they were formerly thought to be reproductively isolated are not immutably considered species. This can happen above species level as well, and this is extremely frequent in invertebrate taxonomy for example. So: Yes, the litmus test does work; we just need to drop wrongly classified taxa to match the litmus test, not vice versa. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 08:50, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Taxonomic synonyms

Most pages which contain a taxobox contain a section listing taxonomic synonyms for a given species. It would be informative to include this information for Homo sapiens sapiens as well. however I wanted to bring it up here before implementing it because in the case of humans, (what are now considered) synonyms have been erected in the scientific literature of the past based on outdated or controversial philosophies of politics or especially race (eg. Homo sapiens asiaticus and H. s. afer, Linneaus 1758, etc.). Are there any objections to adding synonyms to the taxobox? Perhaps a section on the history of classification of humans, controversy over the type specimen of H. s. sapiens, etc. could be added as well. MMartyniuk (talk) 14:32, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

These synonyms seem pretty official. There are quite a few! Chrisrus (talk) 15:38, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
And those synonyms are either for fossil specimens, or early 19th century names for supposed races or ethnic groups, i.e. Homo sinicus! That looks like fringe theory to me. -- Donald Albury 16:02, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
MSW3 says

Most of the synonyms have fossil specimens as their type specimens; Bory de St. Vincent’s names refer to living geographic varieties of modern humans.

It's what we normally do in taxoboxes. We usually include them at the very bottom. Chrisrus (talk) 16:13, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
MMartyniuk, my understanding is that synonyms for species normally refers to different names assigned to a given taxon by different authorities who were not aware of other descriptions, or where taxons have been merged or split. I doubt we can find a legitimately used synonym for Homo sapiens or H. s. sapiens as a whole. There may be synonyms for various sub-species of H. sapiens, i.e., there may be a synonym for H. s. idaltu, or, depending on what classification you accept, either H. s. neanderthalensis or H. neanderthalensis would be a synonym for the other, but none of those would be a synonym for H. sapiens. As for sub-species names, none of them would be synonyms for H. s. sapiens, either. In short, I can think of no synonym for H. s. sapiens, so unless you can point to a reliable source for a synonym of H. s. sapiens, there is nothing to put in the taxobox. -- Donald Albury 16:35, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
You're correct that most synonyms are of subspecies, but the present article itself is explicitly about the subspecies H. sapiens sapiens, not the species H. sapiens which is a different article. Therefore any subspecific synonyms, if discussed, should go here (or at some hypothetical page on the history of human classification). MMartyniuk (talk) 21:37, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
What specific synonyms are there for for H. s. sapiens? Names such as H. s. europaeus Linnaeus or H. sinicus Bory de St. Vincent are NOT synonyms for H. s. sapiens, as they were sub-divisions of what is now called H. s. sapiens. There is a place to discuss attempts to define sub-species of H. sapiens along racial lines, but such so-called sub-species are not synonyms for H. s. sapiens. -- Donald Albury 00:45, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
You are right about things you say, but we're supposed to put them at the bottom of the taxobox. If Marty does that, we can't revert him without explaining why an exception should be made in this case. If he wants to discuss them in the article, however, it really depends exactly how he does it. But there's no rule for or against discussing taxonomic synonyms in such articles that I know of. Many articles do, and I think it's encouraged. They come up during sections about the evolution of thinking on the topic and during discussion of sub-types of subspecies. Chrisrus (talk) 17:39, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Barring a reliable source that says there are synonyms for H. sapiens sapiens currently in widespread use in the scientific community, I can see no reason to amend the infobox. A brief discussion of past synonyms may or may not be beyond the scope of the article. Rivertorch (talk) 23:20, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
By definition synonyms are not in current use, because the principal of priority says only one name can be correct. Synonyms are included for reference when dealing with older sources that may have treated them as correct for whatever reason. MMartyniuk (talk) 23:29, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Synonyms of H. s. sapiens, by definition, would have to be names used to describe H. s. sapiens in its entirety, and not some sub-division of H. s. sapiens. H. neanderthalensis is a synonym of H. sapiens neanderthalensis, but not a synonym of H. sapiens. Similarly, H. s. europaeus, H. s. afer, H. s. asiaticus, and H. s. americanus, all from Linneaus, are not synonyms for H. sapiens. Names such as H. capensis Broom, H. columbicus Bory de St. Vincent, and H. cro-magnonensis Gregory are also not synonyms of H. sapiens sapiens since they were applied to various sub-parts of H. s. sapiens. Please list any proposed synonym here on the talk page before adding it to the article, so that we can discuss whether it is in fact a synonym of H. s. sapiens. -- Donald Albury 00:45, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry but that's not my understanding of how it works. Following the ICZN H. neanderthalensis is indeed a junior synonym of H. sapiens because it is a different taxonomic entity (though a coordinated one) than H. s. neanderthalensis (species vs. subspecies). A subspecies name can never be synonymous with a name of a different rank and vice versa, even if their content is the same. That's why they're taxonomic synonyms, not functional synonyms. I never said H. afer etc. were synonyms of H. sapiens, but I'll point out again that Homo sapiens is not the topic of this article. This article is specifically about Homo sapiens sapiens according to the taxobox. H. sapiens is a redirect to here because under the current taxonomy they have the same exact content, but they are nonetheless distinct taxa, even if the broader one is monotypic. That's Linnaean taxonomy and binomial nomenclature for you...MMartyniuk (talk) 11:09, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
We have List of alternative names for the human species, though I think they are all used philosophically rather than scientifically. Soap 00:48, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
They don't have to be synonyms like "rock" and "stone" are synonyms, they just have to be taxonomic synonyms. Normally, in articles like this, we just faithfully report whateverall MSW3 say. This is because, I gather I haven't checked into them personally, it's a production of some kind of committees elected by something with a name like "The International Society of Mammologists" or some such, and they have a look at all the relevant papers and sit around and hear each other out in some kind of rational way and then elect different people to write up the findings and published it traditionally in a book but nowadays also on line. And so, if they say those words are synonyms, normally, what is done on many, many, such articles on Wikipedia is we don't question, we just report the synonyms at the bottom of the taxobox where they always go. It's the way we do things. So if Marty carefully transfers them from this page: [|], I can't see how to justify reverting. The only justification for doing so that I have been able to come up with is about the effect on the reader. I mean, it's all well and good to report facts but if there is a high likelyhood that the reader is going to see a fact and misunderstand it, then until there should be some sort of "lest there be any confusion" text or some such good faith attempt to stave off the misundertanding, because if not, then maybe the fact should not be added. That arguement might defend a revert. Or it might not, because, even then, it might fail to convince because of the weight of precedent of doing so in so many cases as a routine taxobox thing; that arguement will still be rhetorically strong. But taxonomic synonyms can be true synonyms or hyponyms, so that line of arguement can't work. Chrisrus (talk) 05:03, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
This is exactly what I was concerned about. among taxonomists there is no debate that the "races" (and others like H. s. monstrosus for things like people with deformities, giants, other legendary creatures thought to exist at the time) are objectively taxonomic synonyms. But a good see text link or something should accompany term, but of course the history of scientific classification when it comes to humans is nowhere to be found. MMartyniuk (talk) 11:25, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
For the record, MSW3 does not seem to list any subspecies at all, including H. sapiens sapiens, only species-level names and synonyms. Yet this article uses the subspecies name Homo sapiens sapiens which is not used in MSW3. neanderthalensis is nowhere to be found so I'm assuming this database only includes extant species. MMartyniuk (talk) 11:27, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
If you search for Homo sapiens at Wilson & Reeder's Mammal Species of the World at the Smithsonian (which is what is linked from MSW3) you will get the list that is at the Bucknell site. If you run a search for Homo sapiens sapiens, you get "No Record Found". So that source does not establish any synonyms for H. s. sapiens. Does any know of any other reliable source that gives any synonym for H. s. sapiens specifically (not just for H. sapiens). -- Donald Albury 10:31, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes-Linnaeus 1758, for starters... Not only is it a reliable source but according the the rules governing taxonomy it is the quintessential starting point for all biological nomenclature. MMartyniuk (talk) 11:11, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Once again, if you would just click here |, you will see, you may have to scroll down a little, those are the official taxonomic synonyms for "homosapiens". Again, the comments are "Most of the synonyms have fossil specimens as their type specimens; Bory de St. Vincent’s names refer to living geographic varieties of modern humans." Chrisrus (talk) 12:25, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

I wasn't asking about Homo sapiens but Homo sapiens sapiens (i.e. anatomically modern humans) but I've changed the taxobox to reflect what everyone else seems to think we should be talking about. MMartyniuk (talk) 14:37, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
I've been bold and added a collapsed list of the species synonyms from MSW3 as a proof of concept. Feel free to revert if there are issues with the list. I've assumed that all of these names were originally published under the genus Homo and at the specific rank - could someone confirm that this was indeed the case? mgiganteus1 (talk) 15:02, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

(unindent)Say wha...?! This article is on Homo sapiens sapiens. I have no further comment for now on the synonym question but don't understand the change from trinomial classification. Suggest an RfC to get some more eyes on this might be a good idea. (Sorry for brevity; RL beckons.) Rivertorch (talk) 15:49, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

The main problem is that there was no article on Homo sapiens in general so people assumed this article was meant to cover both even though things like H. s. idaltu are not covered here. Basically this article does not know what taxon it is supposed to be covering. There was already an article anatomically modern humans which is explicitly about H. s. sapiens so I simply moved the trinomal taxon entry there, which seemed to be the simplest solution. MMartyniuk (talk) 16:16, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Request for comment?

The referent of this article seems to be both Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens sapiens, because both direct here. Yet the taxobox is for all H.s., not H.s.s. Some object, giving good reasons to have a trinomial taxobox, as it used to. If we do this, where, if anywhere should the Homo sapiens direct? Would Anatomically Modern Human be a solution? If it is not moved, should the article explain this to the reader? If so, how?


Couldn't find the word mammal in there...Ryans.lewis3365 (talk) 20:45, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

We have 'Class: Mammalia' in the info box but that seems to be all. Martin Hogbin (talk) 21:23, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

The nature and scope of this article and taxobox and that one

Ok, you've made your point, you are right and I was wrong. Roll that back, please, and let's get this straight and do it right. How's it going to work? Like this?

  1. The article anatomically modern humans, because it is about both H.s.s., H.s.idaltu, and all others that might have existed, will be at taxobox Homo sapiens; i.e.: both the referent of this article and extinct subspecies we know basically nothing about. That's what "Homo Sapiens" will mean from now on and this page has to make that clear that despite what one might think, this article can't hope to speak for all imaginable H.sapiens varieties that might have existed. That article then gets the full contingent of taxonomic synonyms.
  2. This article becomes taxobox H.s.s, only, aka "fully modern humans" or "behaviorally modern humans", which should redirect here if they don't already. It gets only those taxonomic synonyms that it claims to speak for, i.e.:those indicated by MSW3 to represent existant Homo sapiens varieties. And text or hatnote or some such to say that despite what one might think, this article isn't about Homo sapiens per se sorry but it can't speak for all extinct varieties. Chrisrus (talk) 00:33, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

Is that correct? Chrisrus (talk) 00:33, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

I think that's correct/ So, I got it backward when I swapped the taxoboxes because AMH does cover idaltu and Human doesn't, though I've never heard idaltu referred to as non-human... MMartyniuk (talk) 13:13, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't think this is quite right. The anatomically modern human article is not about H. sapiens as a whole, but only those "early individuals of Homo sapiens with an appearance consistent with the range of phenotypes in modern humans" - in fact, it appears to be specifically about the extant subspecies (older H. sapiens are covered in archaic Homo sapiens). I preferred the previous arrangement, with the H. sapiens taxobox in this article, since sources tend to equate "human"/"human being" with H. sapiens, not the subspecies (e.g. [36]). I'd propose restoring the H. sapiens taxobox here, adding a H. sapiens sapiens taxobox to AMH, redirecting Homo sapiens sapiens to AMH, adding a hatnote to AMH directing readers to this article, and expanding the coverage of H. sapiens idaltu in this article (currently it's a single sentence). How does that sound? mgiganteus1 (talk) 13:40, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
I think it may be a bit hard to pin this all down. I notice that the WP article on Archaic Homo sapiens includes H. heildelbergensis, H. rhodesiensis, H. neanderthalensis, and "sometimes" H. antecessor in H. sapiens, making those all synonyms of H. sapiens. I found this university site equating H. sapiens (archaic) with H. heildelburgensis. I also notice a lot of news articles about the announced discovery of H. sapiens idaltu, but not much about the sub-species on non-news sites. I wonder if WP has given too much prominence to H. sapiens idaltu simply because the announcement of the discovery came in the Internet Age. -- Donald Albury 20:54, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Whatever system we go with, I think we should avoid the current arrangement. Anatomically modern humans are logically a subset of humans and not vice versa, yet this is what we have now. If the term "anatomically modern human" is confused/ambiguous or not a 1:1 match with H. sapiens sapiens then I'm fine with redirecting both H. sapiens and H. sapiens sapiens here, as the article deals with both. It's fine to treat both the species and the nominate subspecies in the same article, while covering a second subspecies on a different page; many snake articles do this already. mgiganteus1 (talk) 21:12, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

By the way, if you'll look at the article wolf notice it has the taxobox for Canis lupus but a hatnote apologizing that it's really not about the taxon, per se. We could do something like that for one or more of the articles in question. Hope it helps! Chrisrus (talk) 02:36, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Wolf redirects to Grey wolf, which links to Subspecies of Canis lupus, which in turns names the Eurasian Wolf as the nominate subspecies, and doesn't mention the grey wolf at all (local varieties in North america are listed). So our articles on "wolf" seem to be even more confused than on "human". Not much help there. -- Donald Albury 10:36, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
What do you think about the hatnote at the top about the imperfect corelation between taxon and referent? Chrisrus (talk) 12:12, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
The hatnote at Grey wolf is in effect saying that the article is about 37 of the 39 subspecies of Canis lupus (i.e., not a clade). The situation here depends on what "human" means. I guess a hatnote could explain that "human" here means H. sapiens (modern)/H. sapiens sapiens (which is a clade), with the implication that H. sapiens (archaic), H. sapiens idaltu, H. sapiens neandethalensis, H. heildelbergensis, etc. are sub-human/pre-human/archaic human. On the other hand, Modern Human wouldn't be the best title for this article. -- Donald Albury 13:17, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
The analogy is very limited, but my point is, in cases where the taxon and article referent are not perfectly the same, we could just stick a hatnote at the top saying so and be done with it. Chrisrus (talk) 13:24, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I see your point. This article is about "anatomically-modern" humans, but "Human" is the preferred title because that is (presumably) what most readers will be expecting. Perhaps some others can comment on just how to word that. -- Donald Albury 13:31, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
I suppose that this article in its origin and evolution section does cover everything from the earliest of homonids and anthropithicenes and farther back, all the way forward to us fully modern H.s.s., so if you look at it that way, this is the most broad of referents of the word "human". But I don't think so. That section as I read it is just background, and those sections seem just be the background for the main referent being referred to in all the other sections, which don't claim to speak for any of our branch except %100 fully modern H.s.s. So if you see that the way I do, let's think about the referent of the article anatomically modern human. That article as I read it teaches that, even though there were these fossils of creatures that seemed fully modern from the bones and such, the other artifacts show that they weren't fully like us because they weren't behaviorally-modern humans. Look where the link behavioral modernity links, behaviorally-modern human could also link there I suppose but if it's correct for "behaviorally modern human" to link here then "behavioral moderity" should link here as well instead of to that article. Then this article might even be moved from simply "human" to Behaviorally modern human, which is, do you agree, the same as "fully modern human". Then anatomically modern human could get the full contingent of taxonomic synonyms and this article could either go without or only show those that refer to existant varieties, and maybe also others that refer to behaviorally modern humans, or else just go without any taxonomic synonyms.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Chrisrus (talkcontribs)
I'm afraid I don't understand what "fully modern human" means. Does that refer to the acquisition of cultural traits, or to the development of innate ability? -- Donald Albury 01:50, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
Please just read the article behavioral modernity. If that doesn't mean "fully human", then it's a bit closer than simply anatomically modern humans. Read that article if you haven't recently. It's clear that, I think you agree, according to those two articles, that, even though there were these pretty much anatomically modern humans, the other artifacts show that they didn't do normal humans stuff like, for example, art and such, thing that make them seem not capable of abstract thought. Without abstract thought, they wouldn't have been fully the referent of this article. Don't take it from me, check those articles and see if you agree. I mean, why even call them "anatomically modern" if not to distinguish them from something? The point of calling them "anatomically" modern is to distinguish them from those that were not only anatomically but also behaviorally human. It is obviously that even though they were pretty much anatomically human, in some other ways they weren't like the referent of this article, namely behaviorally modern humans and therefore not fully modern humans. The difference between this article's referent and that of behavioral modernity is very slight but, please see if you agree, it seems to be that article is about the event or process or some such that made us into the referent of this article. Maybe this article and that might be merged, but if not the distinction should be clarified. Chrisrus (talk) 02:07, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
Lack of evidence for something (say, abstract thought in humans) is not evidence for lack of it. The argument that the Upper Paleolithic Revolution occurred only 50,000 years ago does not explain how the ability for abstract thought spread to all humans. Note that the most recent common ancestor for humans in the patrilinear line (Y-chromosomal Adam) is estimated to have lived between 60,000 and 90,000 years ago (or even earlier), and the most recent common ancestor for humans in the matrilinear line (Mitochondrial Eve) is estimated to have lived 200,000 years ago, and that the initial migration out of Africa is estimated to have occurred 60,000 to 70,000 years ago, and maybe as much as 125,000 years ago. Now, what do reliable sources explicitly state about when humans became "fully modern" in a biological sense? I'm not talking about the acquisition of culture, which has built up and become more elaborate over time. A statement that the Upper Paleolithic Revolution was cultural (and presumably not biological) is: "Other anthropologists think that the creative explosion may have been the result of a critical mass in the accumulation of cultural knowledge. Once there was a significant body of knowledge to draw on, then an explosion in creativity became possible."Quinlan, R. "Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition". Retrieved 2 June 2011.  -- Donald Albury 12:12, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
I'm not the one who brought up the article anatomically modern human, but if you read it and the subarticles that it sends you to, it says that there is a distinction between those which were simply anatomically modern and those that were not only anatomically modern but also behaviorally modern which implies mentally modern. If it's not a useful concept then there is no need to refer to the article anatomically modern humans because all it means according to those articles is a fossil which is anatomically modern but in situ maybe not always mentally modern because what they've found there. They've done the digging and they have degrees in this stuff so if they say the evidence shows that there are cases of anatomically modern humans that didn't seem to be fully behaviorally modern and if that doesn't make sence to you, don't ask me, ask them, I'm just passing along what they say. It is obvious that this article is fundementally about modern humans who are modern in every way and therefore this article is not about all anatomically modern humans but more specifically humans that are not only anatomically modern but also behaviorally modern and therefore mentally modern. Chrisrus (talk) 13:39, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't see grounds for making a distinction in the biological classification of humans. Without input from other editors, however, this discussion is rather fruitless. -- Donald Albury 01:20, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. Shall we do a "request for comment"? Do you know how? I don't. Chrisrus (talk) 02:58, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
So, the question for the RfC? How about, "Should the article Human be about Anatomically modern humans, or behaviorally modern humans?" -- Donald Albury 12:09, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Or, "Is the article Human about Homo sapiens or H.s.sapiens, and when we choose one, where should the other taxobox go? For example, if one answers that this article is about H.s.s., which article is best to get the full taxobox for Homo sapiens, those you have indicated, or even perhaps another. In short, if Human is about H.s.s. specifically, where does the H.s. taxobox go? Chrisrus (talk) 13:31, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Reading the above over I think Donald was right about how the evidence for the anatomically but not metally modern Homo Sapiens sapeins might be explained by the theory he cited here ."Quinlan, R. "Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition". Retrieved 2 June 2011.  that the evidence might just be a case of them not having had any shoulders to stand on, if you catch my drift; that they had to build up to stuff such as art culturally and that would have taken some time. But what convinces me isn't the point so much as that I think this citation as I read it does prove that this idea about non-metally modern H.s.s. is at least not fully accepted by all the experts, see if you agree. Therefore, maybe putting any taxobox on Anatomically modern human might not be a good idea. Chrisrus (talk) 03:28, 14 June 2011 (UTC)


Tribe? I have never seen this used. It is not in the taxonomy section. I was disappointed to see this, I have always defended wikipedia, but this is nonsense. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:50, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Tribe (biology). If you learned your biology from high school in the 90's or earlier, you may be familiar with the seven level system. Things have gotten more complicated now and the concept of "tribes" is well integrated into the system. Soap 00:59, 14 June 2011 (UTC)


This article reads like a bunch of aliens talking about us. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:17, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

Please read the FAQ near the top of this page. Rivertorch (talk) 05:12, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

I think it makes us sound cooler in the 3rd person perspective :) KrisPwnz (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 04:22, 24 June 2011 (UTC).

The living link on the first row leads to something else - it needs to be fixed

I cannot fix it because the term is semi locked and I am new here — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ranitz (talkcontribs) 20:20, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Assuming we're talking about the same link, it leads to extant taxon, which seems appropriate. Where do you suggest it should link instead? Rivertorch (talk) 04:08, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
I notice that on the Living disambiguation page the phrase "living species" pipes to Extant taxon. There might be some wiggle room here between "living" -> Extant taxon and "living species" -> Extant taxon, but overall we probably should leave it like it is. -- Donald Albury 10:54, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Diet SE

"In any event, let's consider Diet Plus a replacement of the original Diet, just as Macintosh Plus was that of the original Macintosh." So, I continued that reference for 1 more generation, but I certainly don't intend to have Diet Sections corresponding to present-day Intel Macintoshes.

More to the point, now that we've conclusively established that we humans evolved as omnivores, should we not go through the trouble of copying references used in those debates to the FAQ Answer that has since been added? If so, this should be a multi-person job, but by the end, people will no longer have to dig through Archives to verify that the FAQ Answer is correct. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 22:57, 26 June 2011 (UTC)


The following religions are listed as the most common: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Baha'i

I feel that "Shinto", "Taoism" and "Confucianism" should be added to that list since they are all bigger than Sikhism and significantly bigger than Judaism and Baha'i. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:11, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

According to one web site (I can't vouch for it's accuracy); they cite the Encyclopedia Britannica for their estimates, which are the following:
  1. Christianity:  2.1 billion
  2. Islam:  1.5 billion
  3. Secular / Nonreligious / Agnostic /Atheist:  1.1 billion
  4. Hinduism:  900 million
  5. Chinese traditional religion:  394 million
  6. Buddhism:  376 million
  7. primal-indigenous:  300 million
  8. African Traditional & Diasporic:  100 million
  9. Sikhism:  23 million
  10. Juche:  19 million
  11. Spiritism:  15 million
  12. Judaism:  14 million
  13. Baha'i:  7 million
  14. Jainism:  4.2 million
  15. Shinto:  4 million
  16. Cao Dai:  4 million
  17. Zoroastrianism:  2.6 million
  18. Tenrikyo:  2 million
  19. Neo-Paganism:  1 million
  20. Unitarian-Universalism:  800 thousand
  21. Rastafarianism:  600 thousand
  22. Scientology:  500 thousand
Make of this what you will, Hamamelis (talk) 00:41, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Given the inclusion of Juche, I wouldn't make too much of it. At any rate, neither the Adherents nor the ReligionFacts estimates (both listed at List of religious populations) fully supports adding those three. The cut-off needs to be somewhere, and I guess maybe it will always be arbitrary. Rivertorch (talk) 05:11, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
And note the somewhat different numbers at Major religious groups#Largest religions or belief systems by number of adherents. But then, why would I expect consistency across WP articles? -- Donald Albury 12:20, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't expect too much consistency elsewhere, either. I poked around a bit on the Web and in common reference books yesterday and came to the conclusion that even when multiple sources agree on the numbers, they tend to present the numbers in different ways because they disagree on what constitutes a religion, whether a given religion is a subset of another religion, and so on. From the standpoint of trying to provide definitive figures for this or any article, it's a little frustrating. Rivertorch (talk) 05:57, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Yep, that's partly why I wrote 'make of this what you will'... also wanted to see what others would write, myself having no solid opinions about it. Interesting to see the discussion, and would hope will add to this again. - Hamamelis (talk) 06:58, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Pun on original research policy. (There is no Wikipedia policy against jokes, so do not remove it.)

 - Why do wikipedia claim that the Dutch are the tallest people in the world?   

- - Because wikipedia still consider the fact that Masai are human to be original research! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:51, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Can I remove it because of poor grammar? Wikipedia is singular, not plural. The question should read "Why DOES Wikipedia....". Similarly for the answer. HiLo48 (talk) 10:46, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
It's correct British grammar, but it should be removed on the grounds that it's off-topic. It's main point; that there are cases where blatantly obvious things are removed on the grounds that they are "original research" (I once lost on WP:OR grounds, my case to include encyclopedic words to the effect of "many people like whales"); might be well taken if this joke were moved to the WP:OR's discussion page, and maybe some others. Chrisrus (talk) 17:55, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
It's not against policy. However, did Wiki ever actually claim that the Dutch were the tallest humans on Earth? Also, I'm pretty sure that the tallest individual in the world is a citizen of Austria. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 22:30, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Where is science?

There are 10 subsections in Society and culture, but none of them is about science?! It is an activity of humanity that has about a million times larger effect on the earth (including humanity itself) than philosophy, and is about twice more fundamental than technology (e.g., as opposed to technology, I don't think that other species are known to be developing science). --GaborPete (talk) 05:18, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

The question recurs! See Talk:Human/Archive_32#Science_section, but in brief the reason is that it's not even a cultural universal. This may be a candidate for the FAQs. Chrisrus (talk) 05:32, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I think it's important enough to mention even if it isn't a cultural universal. I mean, it's the reason we've left Earth. If a sentient AI spontaneously forms out of the electronic aether, it should know that we've been to the moon. (talk) 18:50, 10 August 2011 (UTC)


the better japanese link is ja:ヒト. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sky6t (talkcontribs) 07:57, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

If you're sure about that, please feel free to fix it. (You may need to make a few more edits elsewhere first, since it's a semiprotected article.) Rivertorch (talk) 20:30, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

I can't because it is semi-protected... Sky6t (talk) 11:07, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

See the first clause of the parenthetical statement above. There's no rush, I assume, and since I don't speak Japanese . . . Rivertorch (talk) 17:20, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
It seems like a pretty reasonable request, but could you explain why the other one is better? I think also it will need to be changed on the Japanese side as well, since the Japanese "人間" article contains most of the links to other wikis and "ヒト" has just a few. And as Rivertorch said, you only need 2 more edits to be "autoconfirmed" including the reply to this. Soap 02:11, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

That was a mistake in the japanese site, you know...

"ヒト" can better represent the biological meaning of "human", or say Homo sapiens.Sky6t (talk) 11:10, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

To compare, may we know the approximate meaning of 人間? Rivertorch (talk) 18:03, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

ja:人間 is about the social science meaning of human. However, the biological meaning- of human- is of course "ヒト"...Sky6t (talk) 05:44, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Hmm. In that case, I wonder if the change was warranted. This article isn't specifically about human biology; it's a broad overview that relies at least as much on anthropology as anything else. Rivertorch (talk) 18:58, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Why not divide this article into two? but I don't know. Sky6t (talk) 07:36, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

That was proposed a while ago and widely derided as controversial and unnecessary. There's no need to let article structure be dictated by other languages. --Cybercobra (talk) 22:19, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Sorry that I didn't know.Sky6t (talk) 07:43, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

Of course the anthropology meaning of human can be found in ja:ヒト. Sky6t (talk) 07:40, 12 August 2011 (UTC)