Talk:Human/Archive 33

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Contents

path followed in the course of history

Is there any reason why the map stops at ~10,000 years ago? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 11:16, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

I think it's common for maps like this to only show "aboriginals", and although there have been some significant migrations more recently than 10000 years ago, most of them have been of people who are genetically similar to those who were already there. Soap 14:30, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
That seems to be a problem; the map suggests that those who came over the past 10,000 years don't count or "shouldn't be there". Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 15:24, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

I am confused...

Are humans the only species that can communicate with fellow members of their species? Are humans the only species with advanced thought capabilities? Are animals stupid morons without brains? I am so confused, could somebody answer? Please DON'T remove this comment!!!

— Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|contribs]])

No, lots of animals communicate, maybe most. I can communicate to you what I want by walking toward it. You probably mean if we are the only animal with language, a shared system of abstract symbols that can be placed in different combinations to communicate a wholely novel consepts. If that's what you mean, yes, we are the only ones on the planet. There are some primitive precursers to language, but interestingly whether or not they have it seems to be a factor of socialily and need and not intelligence: Honeybees and, I gather, Prairie dogs are able to put symbols in different orders to create a relatively large number of different variations on things like "snake, this direction" or "pollen source, that direction, about this far away". Other animals with more advanced thought capabilities don't seem to develop language. For example, you can read Great ape language and develop you own opinion; mine is that it's all operant conditioning. Read Koko (gorilla), or just try to find some quotes in context from her on the internet anywhere and see if it qualifies as language under your definition or whether it seems more reasonable that's she's just gesturing anything that'll get Penny to give her a treat or at least get a reaction out of her.
Intelligence is a separate question. Brains are metobolically expensive so animals tend to develop only as much as they need and no more, so they can put all that energy into building more practically useful body parts. But they can be pretty stupid compared to us, yeah, when faced with a puzzle we'd figure out easily. The article cetacean intelligence is one you'll want to read, but no one there ever answered my question "If they're so smart, why don't they just jump over the tuna net and escape?" or several other obvious questions.
This has to be a conversation about how to improve the article or it's not going to be allowed here, so if you reply, please answer this: The fact that humans are unique in this way should be easily found and clearly stated in the article. Did you try to find it in the article and have trouble doing so before coming here and asking this question? There might be a way to improve the article by making this important fact about humans clear in as upfront a way as appropriate, so please try the article again and let us know if you couldn't find it or understand it easily. Chrisrus (talk) 06:35, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I was up late, and I was out of it. I was sleep-typing. Very scientific. My second cat seems to be pretty smart, because if I play with her by tossing a string around, she will snatch it out of my hand, and run with it. :D It always makes me laugh when she does that. My previous cat (that died last year) was also pretty smart. I think cats are smarter than dogs. I study biology practically once a week, but computer science is my true calling. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.8.179.16 (talk) 20:35, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Sleep

Please consider adding to the 'Sleep' Section of Homo Sapiens (Human) that we are Biphasic Diurnal. A very critical distinction of evolution is that we are still biphasic. Many humans adopt a monophasic pattern to conform with society. This is not our basic Circadian Rhythm however.Jveteran (talk) 11:34, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Why don't you write and add a sentence or two yourself? Don't forget to include sources. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 11:57, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Main image

why isnt the picture of a "human male and female" of white people?? -anon — Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.208.144.94 (talk) 15:18, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

Please read the previous discussions by searching for "picture" in the search archives box at the top. Further discussions can be found by searching in the same box with "image". KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 15:21, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Because whites are too few. Asians are more representative of Humans than whites because they are so many Asians than whites. The nude photo illustrating the exterior parts of the species features white people, however. Chrisrus (talk) 22:36, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Sure, but you really want to put your best foot forward, you know? I'm not saying that whites are superior, but why not show humans at their best rather than a pitiful couple barely out of the dark ages? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.17.202.233 (talk) 10:08, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Actually yes, that's exactly what you are saying. You're a racist and a troll. ScienceApe (talk) 00:53, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree with you about the importantce of putting the "best foot forward" for the referent of any article. Ideally, all articles should show a typical example of the referent, not an exceptional one. The point is to show the reality of the thing, not some unusual or idealized example of whatever one is talking about, although that may be the case with the anatomical nudes further along. However, although historically, the typical Homo sapiens was a peasant, you might be right if you are hinting that this vision of ourselves might be dated. A picture of a family of factory workers might be more representative of the group as a whole. I'm not sure I agree with that, but it's an arguement with some merit, whereas the "best foot forward" example would lead us to showing a star athelete/supermodel family or some such, which would not be a good idea as I personally see it. Behold yourselves, humans, as you are. Chrisrus (talk) 21:08, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
These guys sound like racist trolls. On another matter, Caucasoids are more numerous than any other "race" as this includes North Africans, Europeans, West and Central Asians and large chunk of Indians -- as a result it also includes the majority North Americans now, and Mexicans and South Americans are a mix between mongoloids and Caucasoids. It may be better to use a representative Caucasoid -- not because of some ridiculous notion of superiority, but the Caucasoid bone-structure is generally the image people tend to have of a prototypical human. Then again the real prototypical humans are sub-Saharan Africans. 94.8.20.136 (talk) 08:18, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
One should be careful about throwing out epithets; they may miss their targets and come back to you. -- Donald Albury 11:03, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Huh. I wish we had a bot that would automatically trout anyone starting a thread like this one. Rivertorch (talk) 17:15, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
The picture should show the most typical, common variety of this mammal. If it in fact not true that the average person is "Caucasian", then it should be changed for that reason alone and I we should not be distracted by irrelevancies. I'm pretty sure, however, that the average person is not. I'm not sure, but I think my conviction about this matter comes from a recent article I recall in the National Geographic magazine which featured a composite picture of thousands of people. It had the phenotype of a Han Chinese male. Chrisrus (talk) 17:54, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
It would seem that it's a composite face of 200000 Chinese men, so it's no surprise that he looks Chinese. Yes you could say he is the most typical because China is a very large country, but it's not (as I thought when I first read your post) a composite of the adult males of all the nations of the world. Soap 11:48, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
What does "most typical" mean when it comes to humans? The differences between individuals within any "variety" one cares to construct are often at least as significant as the differences between varieties. Are humans of Rwandan or Danish or Samoan ancestry somehow less typically human-looking than those of Chinese ancestry because there are fewer of them? No; they're all equally typically human-looking. As long as the subjects in the image don't look unrepresentative of the vast majority of their fellow humans (e.g., with deformities due to disease, accident or intentional modification or because they're wearing highly unusual clothes or no clothes) it really shouldn't matter where they live, what their ancestry is, or what racial classification they'd be assigned by last century's anthropologists. Rivertorch (talk) 05:05, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Look at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B2xOvKFFz4 or http://www.newsy.com/videos/national-geographic-reveals-most-typical-human-face/. A composite picture of a representative sample of all the people in the world might be better than the picture of the one we have. Also, the couple is a little bit older than a typical person. I personally think they should have their kids with them. So the picture might be improved. But the picture is clearly of typical people, not idealized people like in the Viking spaceship drawing we used to have or the anatomical nude further down. It's considerations like these, trying to show average, typical people, that is important for the lead photo. Those other ideas are not important. If someone has a picture which would be of even more typical people than this one, I'd listen. If they want to change it or criticize it for irrelevant reasons, I don't see the point. An equally representative picture could be argued on aesthetics. Chrisrus (talk) 14:51, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

As far as I am concerned, in the Chinese(zh:人) or Japanese(ja:ヒト edition, the picture is a "human male and female" of white people. That's typical enough.

I am just not sure why the Human picture is an 80-year-old-looking Indian,third world couple. I believe the largest race on the planet is Caucasians, although I am not sure. And I don't think that most people live in third world countries.An elderly couple from Guatemala is definitely not the best choice.--Jacksoncw (talk) 16:59, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Not sure if this is relevant but I found this in an article:Scientists usually use three races: African, Asian, and Caucasian. Africans would be what is called black, and originates in the continent of Africa. Asian is what would be the far east of Asia and Native Americans. Caucasian would be what is called white (European), along with Middle Easterns or Arabs, Indians, and Hispanics/Latinos. You may be thinking, how are Indians or Latinos or Arabs Caucasian? Race does not just depend on skin colour, but features, and ancestry. All Caucasian ancestors come from the Caucus mountains, all African ancestors come from Africa, and all Asian ancestors come from the far east. Caucasian would be the largest group occupying about 4/7 billion humans. The next largest would be Asian occupying about 2 billion, then Africans with about 1 billion.--Jacksoncw (talk) 18:07, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Ignore the obvious troll. --Cybercobra (talk) 06:31, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

So much for assuming good faith.--Jacksoncw (talk) 15:58, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

First you say the couple looks Indian even though they don't, and then say they are from Guatemala, insult their age, and then make a bunch of ignorant claims. You're a troll and a racist. ScienceApe (talk) 00:51, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Conservation Status

LOL! made me laugh the part of: Conservation Status: Least Concern. maybe that part is a bit... useless? Chrisrus (talk) 12:39, 31 August 2011 (UTC) <-- This was written by User:201.173.252.29, not me.

Yes, it does seem a bit useless, but this is automatic for articles about particular species. That's why many people find the tone of this article amusing: it doesn't treat humans differently than any other species. Think of it as a report to an alien race unfamiliar with humans, just studying the life forms on this planet. We could delete it without harm to the article, but I think it sets a good tone. Plus, there could come a day when that status changes, if something mega-serious happens. Chrisrus (talk) 12:39, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
It was once briefly set to "Extinct in the Wild". Soap 12:20, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
Chrisrus, have you been talking to yourself above? I agree, I think that showing the status of humans as least concern is potentially harmful. It is all too easy for humans to see other humans in other cultures as different species; of least concern. There are many example where well-meaning conservationists have disrupted human life (of other humans, of course) to protect some endangered species. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:15, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Oh, no, I don't know how that happened. Someone else asked the original question, not me. That's my response, though. Chrisrus (talk) 19:50, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Is that really an encyclopedic argument for excluding the information? After all, capitalists treat people in resource-rich third-world countries as though they are of "least concern", too. Or could it communicate the very serious issue of overpopulation... a threat that very well may change our conservation status in the foreseeable future. All political and moral issues aside, should we be treating our species article differently from every other species article in this encyclopedia. I would vote no, even if it does look a little funny to most people. – VisionHolder « talk » 10:20, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
I do not think we we omitting any significant information by not rating humans as 'least concern'. The rating system was design to show species that were endangered, I cannot believe that it was ever expected to apply to humans. Indeed, ther is no way the system can be used for humans. Changing the status of a bat, for example from 'Vulnerable' to 'Critically Endangered' may cause governments and individual to act differently in their attitude to these bats thus helping conserve them. On the other hand, if, say as a result of a world war, humans were to become 'Critically Endangered', I cannot imagine that it would have the slightest effect on the belligerents, in fact the whole system would have collapsed long before then. The rating system is clearly not applicable to humans and that is what we should say here. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:59, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Regardless of whether it was intended to apply to us, our species has been assessed. I think we would need a very good reason to remove this cited piece of information. – VisionHolder « talk » 15:54, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, we should treat this species like any other, no matter how odd it may seem at times. It doesn't just make the article fun and interesting to read (at least to me), but it also staves of the danger of a POV article and permits insight, as when primatologists or some such write about us, for example The Naked Ape, which might not have been right about everything, but displays the proper way of looking at us if we're to write objective articles about ourselves.
By the way, if we could cite it, (unless it's so WP:SKY that it's not necessary to cite it) we could add that Homo sapiens is the most successful and dominant species on this planet, ever. I'd say that would be a good way to start off an article about this referent written for someone who knew nothing about us except, somehow, the English language. It should be right up front in the lead. Chrisrus (talk) 20:04, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
There should be good sources for that, although I would limit it to just the word "dominant." "Successful" could imply a biased assessment, and the word is a relative term. As for being the most dominant species ever, that's really a hard claim to make given the incomplete nature of the fossil record. What about phytoplankton? When they evolved, didn't they spread rapidly and cause an oxygen revolution, radically changing the climactic conditions on the planet? But otherwise, yes, it should note that we are currently the dominant species on the planet... not in number (obviously), but in our range and control over resources. – VisionHolder « talk » 20:48, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
I meant "successful" in a purely objective evolutionary, Darwinian sense, so the peasant farmer with 12 kids would be more "succesful" than Bill Gates, who has none (I think he doesn't have kids). So it wouldn't be dependant on a person's personal conception of "success", but the same meaning a zoologist would have in mind when they refer to "successful" adaptations and such. And photoplankton aren't a species. I don't know what they are, a phylum or some such. The most successful body plan is probably bacteria, but no one species totally dominates all other bacteria the way humans dominate all other species. Chrisrus (talk) 23:45, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
(Gates has three kids, btw) Soap 00:19, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

FAQ's not helping

This article appears to be written to members of a species not currently present on the planet. Do we (humans) really need separate pictures to show what a typical human girl, boy, man, and woman look like? Encyclopedias are written for humans not for alien life forms that may discover our planet some day and not know what its original inhabitants looked like. There is a lot in this article that use some cleaning up to make it less condescending, keeping in mind the article is written for humans to read. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.59.20.90 (talk) 01:18, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

I moved your comment down here where it's supposed to go. I hope you don't mind, feel free to change the subject/headline. Chrisrus (talk) 06:09, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
How/where is it condescending? And to whom? To other animals perhaps, but that doesn't sound like your concern at all. --Cybercobra (talk) 04:10, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Definitive conservation status inclusion talk

RFC resolved:consensus to keep. Rich Farmbrough, 21:37, 22 October 2011 (UTC).

I see this was lightly talked about above but I think we need some definitive consensus here. I mean with most articles about species, it's a no doubter, you list the conservation status and be done with it, but we're not talking about just any species here, we're talking about ours. I know some said about that this would be POV but I disagree. And even if it was I don't think it's harmful to the article or the wiki to invoke WP:IAR about it. I see this as redundant myself and think it's unnecessary. I know they evaluated us, but to be honest I just see the need to use it in the infobox. I already had one person disagree so I thought I'd bring it here for a definitive community consensus. Long story short: I don't think listing our conservation status is necessary and I don't think it hurts the article or the wiki POV-wise and in any other way to leave it out. In fact, I think it makes us realistic. CRRaysHead90 | Another way... 09:57, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

How does it hurt to leave it in? At lot of stuff in this article falls under "Of course, that's obvious/common-knowledge to me-the-reader as a human", yet we include it anyway because it's still valuable to state it explicitly. Why should we be less informative in this circumstance? The very fact that such a self-evaluation was made is worth remarking upon. --Cybercobra (talk) 10:04, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't hurt it to leave it in, but I think it's stupid. A article is meant to be informative. How does this bit of information better educate the one reading it? You could get the same information essentially by going to China's article and looking at their population. Same with going to the US Census article. Just because the information exist elsewhere on the internet does not mean it needs to be listed on Wikipedia or then we'd have a 10 mile long page listing every musical band and album that ever existed. CRRaysHead90 | Another way... 10:11, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
You say that everyone knows that humans are not endangered or whatever, and therefore it sounds stupid to say such an obvious thing, and I think I can understand that point of view. However, there are times when some speak of humans in ways that seem to indicate that we are in some danger as a species, and there are times when one does seem to have to point out the obvious about all kinds of things. But even if I agree with you that it is something no one needs to be told, I would still support it's inclusion because I think this article is a very important experiment: can people write an objective article about themselves as a species, as if writing a report to an alien race who knew nothing about us other than, for some strange reason, the English language? And more importantly, what would it say? This kind of perspective on ourselves is very enlightening, I feel, as it's not the normal way of talking about humans but a very good one for some purposes and a wonderful contribution to culture. Things like mentioning that we are a highly successful (in a biological sense) species, or even something as obvious as the fact that we have ten fingers and ten toes - these things set the tone for the reader - let him or her (or it? (snark)) know something about the nature of this article, or at least what the article is trying to be.
Tangently, we should maybe make this part of the FAQs more obvious to the user and have a look at it again with an eye to making this clearer, because this objection has recurred many times and is therefore likely to do so again. Chrisrus (talk) 21:23, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Your suggestions require the reader to draw indirect inferences based upon insufficient information and background scientific knowledge; the status quo makes no such requirement. --Cybercobra (talk) 11:55, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Keep conservation status - For a variety of reasons: it is relevant to the topic of the article; it is consistent with other WP articles on species; it is informative; it supports the valid scientific notion that homo sapiens are a species, like any other animal; it is supported by Reliable Sources; it may enlighten some readers (well, at least make them think outside the box); and there is no downside. For all those reasons, it should stay. --Noleander (talk) 00:52, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
    How is it informative? CRRaysHead90 | Another way... 03:01, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
It might inform someone who's not sure whether, given all the talk about humans "digging our own graves" or whatnot that experts have accessed us on the criteria used for any species and concluded that there's there doesn't seem to be much concern about our going extinct any time soon. Bit farfetched, perhaps, but it could happen. It's kinda reassuring and maybe important to remember. But more importantly, to my mind at least, it "informs" the reader about the nature of the article they are reading, as detailed earlier. Chrisrus (talk) 06:35, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Ditto. Plus it reinforces the objective/scientific nature of humans as a species: that is, the article should not treat humans solely as a touchy-feely cultural topic, but should also treat as a cold-hard scientific analysis of a species residing within the 3rd planet's biosphere. Why should humans be the only species in WP that doesnt have the conservation status? --Noleander (talk) 18:34, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Exactly! What about rattus rattus, should we remove that one as well? Chrisrus (talk) 23:30, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Keep for all the reasons stated by Noleander. No reason to give this species article special treatment. mgiganteus1 (talk) 11:49, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Keep the conservation status - Obvious it may be, but I agree with Noleander that it helps to base the article in cold hard science, and that that is a good thing. I also think that including it makes the article more comprehensive, and Wikipedia is aiming to be a comprehensive reference source, after all. I could see a good argument against it based on infobox length, but that doesn't seem to be too much of a problem to me at the moment. — Mr. Stradivarius 14:51, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment - What is the reliable source for the conservation status of humans? How is it based in "cold, hard science"? -- Donald Albury 10:59, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
Here you go: http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/136584/0. Actually, everyone should have a look at the way this WP:RS talks about us, the things they say and the way they say them. I think we should do the same. I mean, I suppose we can't copy the exact words, but it would be nice if we could because it's very much the same style as this article. Chrisrus (talk) 13:35, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
Thank you! That site does have a nice encyclopedic tone. -- Donald Albury 20:36, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Homo erectus soloensis

Currently, most relevant articles (such as Homo, Homo erectus, Human evolution, etc., and also, for example, History of Indonesia and Prehistoric Indonesia) seem to basically ignore H. erectus soloensis, being written as if H. erectus (and stating that directly at certain, usually prominent places, or at least implying it, by not mentioning recent survivals, or only as an afterthought buried deep down the article) went extinct long before H. sapiens sapiens embarked on the voyage out of Africa and went on to populate other continents. (In fact, the article on H. erectus is completely unclear, or even contradictory, on the subject of the species' temporal range.) However, unless I'm under the effect of a gross misunderstanding, that is a flat-out contradiction with the article Homo erectus soloensis, which describes a population of H. erectus living on Java as recently as about 50,000 BP, i. e., after the hypothetical Toba catastrophe and after the spread of H. sapiens sapiens into Australia, and by implication, Southeast Asia! While H. sapiens sapiens did not necessarily encounter this population, and in any case could probably not have interbred with it, anyway, I can't think of a single reason to act as if this subspecies didn't exist. I can't find any evidence of controversy or uncertainty about the Ngandong finds and their interpretation (or more specifically, their re-dating), either; unlike H. floresiensis and the Denisovans, there is not a single hint in this direction. Instead, it seems that most people contributing to the subject in Wikipedia at least aren't even aware of it, as are, it appears, journalists and even, perhaps, many paleoanthropologists. (Presumably due to the lack of sensationism surrounding the finds, or actually their re-dating, as the finds themselves were already made in the 1930s; but then, they are quite surprising, given how strongly they contradict the conventional understanding.) Of course, H. floresiensis, if really a separate species, would presumably also descend from a local population of H. erectus; but it is not necessary to mention him in this respect, as the Ngandong finds seem to suffice to disprove the idea that H. erectus went extinct more than 300,000 years ago, and to establish the significant conclusion that at least two human species existed as recently as about 50,000 BP, and even in the same area. Or is it me who is missing something important here? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:23, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Minor typo.

Near the end of the page, under the title "Science and mathematics", there is a typo in the following line:

"Mathematics is connected to language, and it is argued that special genetic trait of humans, linked to language and abstract tought is responsible for the mathematical ability."

Cheers.

There were three typos, actually. I think that section would be better off gone, since it doesn't tell us anything we don't already know, but I'll leave it in for now. Soap 02:22, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Found two other matters of interest in the sentence that followed. Fixed the grammatical problem and substituted a slightly less vague word (use for do). I still don't much like it. Rivertorch (talk) 06:16, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Please change the human population fromm "6 billion" to "7 billion" in the fourth paragraph of the section "Habitat and population". The United Nations demographers recently said that the human population reached the milestone. Thank you.74.214.42.110 (talk) 05:54, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

"...except Antarctica..."

Is this strictly true? Please read Antarctica#Population. A tweek to the wording at least is in order to clarify what we mean when we call it unpopulated. Chrisrus (talk) 17:56, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

There is no permanent human population in Antarctica. There are scientists at research bases there, but each individual is there on a temporary tour of duty. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 01:03, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but I think that it should clarify the idea something like "...on every continent except Antartica, even on Antarctica, where, even though no one lives there all their lives, there are at least a few people living there at any given moment and many hundreds in the summer". Like it might say "...and even maintain perminently manned stations on Antarctica". Chrisrus (talk) 05:49, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

External Anatomy specimen Picture discussion revisited

Well I don't know about you, but I don't think the female in the current picture is showing any female signs at all except for a vagina. And why have have they SHAVED all their hair? I can definitely accept trimmed hair as that makes it easier to see how man and women are different, in the current picture I might add.

Also, what the hell is this about showing boy, man, elderly man and female counterparts from different culture/race anyway? I mean yes, this article is supposed to cover all humans and be politically correct etc, but in it's current state it's just not very outlined what the differences are. I mean why mix race and gender into a picture that is supposed to differentiate between the differences of age, just confusing everything and make it harder to compare? It makes no sense at all. This comparison is more appropriate in a teachers presentation about diversity. And the previous poster can argue all he wants that the camera angle was somehow making comparison more clear but the camera angle helped clarifying two things; that fact females (who are not obese) have hips and thies (can't recall the correct spelling and the dictionary in my web browser ain't helping either) wider than their abdomen and two; have breast.

What do you think should be done to improve the article? Chrisrus (talk) 05:52, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Effect on ecosystems section

Former versions included a section about human impact on other species and the enviroment. Was this removed? I couldn't find it carried over to any other article. I think it is a lot more objectively important subject than stuff like literature or religion, which only really seem important or positive traits when looking from a subjective human standpoint. Harg (talk) 18:06, 7 December 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 15.195.185.82 (talk)

Objection

"Evidence from archaeogenetics accumulating since the 1990s has lent strong support to the "out-of-Africa" scenario, and has marginalized the competing multiregional hypothesis, which proposed that modern humans evolved, at least in part, from independent hominid populations."

That information is 6 years old and it doesn't reflect the present state of knowledge. According to genetic tests 1-4% of genetic information of all non-Africans comes from Neanderthals trough interbreeding. The recent discovery of the Denisova hominin and subsequent genetic testing have also shown that Australian Aborigines and Melanesians interbred with Denisovans, too. This this is a partial confirmation of the multiregional theory and must be included in the article, wile the old information needs to be deleted. --Kmaga (talk) 20:40, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

It's not "old information" that the multi-regional hypothesis isn't accepted by most scientists. 193.169.145.43 (talk) 12:56, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
But this is a new information which makes the multiregional hypothesis partially confirmed. --Kmaga (talk) 08:29, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Only species able to create art?

What exactly are we defining art as? A visual or auditory representation of some kind of thought I would think? If that's the case, there have been other animals known to create artistic representations of their sensory perceptions, such as the gorillas Koko and Michael. Should the statement at the start of the article saying humans are the "only species known to create art" be changed because of this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wavanova (talkcontribs) 02:49, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't think so. Art may be defined variously, but I think we can stick with the basic dictionary definition here, and four of five dictionaries I checked unequivocally define art as a human endeavor. (The fifth arguably implies the same.) Rivertorch (talk) 07:22, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Er, I'm not sure that's the right basis for keeping the claim. If we define "art" such that no matter how many other species engage in it, it's a "humans-only" affair, then the claim "only humans do art" becomes completely trivial. It either needs to be possible (in principle) for non-humans to do art, or it needs to be a tautology lacking in any special significance. I think for now the question is whether any reliable sources actually call the activities of Koko or Michael "art". If they don't, we shouldn't synthesize that conclusion. -Silence (talk) 09:12, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree about not synthesizing, but I've been looking at the article more carefully, and the plot thickens. The statement in the lede really isn't supported in the body of the article, and it's too important a claim for that to be acceptable. So if the statement is to remain, it needs to be repeated (and preferably expanded upon) in Section 6.11, and of course it should be reliably sourced. If there are reliable sources stating claims to the contrary, that should be noted as well, with care taken not to give it undue weight. I'm fairly confident that the preponderance of relevant reliable sources will say that creation of art is the exclusive province of humans. Tautology, then? Possibly, but I rather think it's a significant enough detail to deserve mention. Rivertorch (talk) 03:15, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Ellen Dissanayake seems to have had a major influence on the field of the evolution of art (see, e.g., The Arts After Darwin), and she suggests in Homo Aestheticus that various species "perform behaviors that are remarkably 'artistic'" or make "'aesthetic' products" (using scare quotes), but seems to think that only humans make "art", because human art is uniquely characterized by the attempt to 'make special'. That's a start. (But, again, we shouldn't prejudge whether there are more recent ethology findings that suggest that non-humans have made 'art'. It's an empirical question.) -Silence (talk) 05:14, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree. Throughout history humans have proposed simple abilities that distinguish humans from other animals, such as the use of tools, the ability of self-recognition; these have have generally been shown not to valid. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:40, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Desmond Morris says that apes like to paint, but don't want to look at or show the paintings to others once they are finished. That's pretty different. The bower bird's bower, however, seems more like human art: it has no purpose other than to impress others with one's ability to create an object of beauty that has no other purpose. Chrisrus (talk) 15:33, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Hmm. I can't imagine how we can know whether a bower bird has any concept of "beauty", let alone that creating beauty is the object of its elaborate construction. Beauty, like art, would appear to be a human construct. Might other species share anything of our concept of beauty? Sure. Can we know that they do? Not really.
@Martin: I don't think those examples are quite comparable. The existence of tool use and self-recognition can be determined definitively without relying on any subjective impression. Rivertorch (talk) 21:18, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
I can see where you might find it hard to believe about the Bower Bird, but it's true. It's simply a work of art intended to appeal to a female's sense of aesthetic, and has no other purpose. Here, talk a look, amazing but true: http://videos.howstuffworks.com/animal-planet/28366-fooled-by-nature-bowerbirds-seduction-video.htm and watch:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgHwdLiKIpQ and listen to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgHwdLiKIpQ. Chrisrus (talk) 23:06, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm quite familiar with the bower bird and the purpose of the bowers it builds. Amazing, yes, but I disagree that it's "simply a work of art". In any event, this shouldn't be about what you or I believe to be "true". Rivertorch (talk) 08:24, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

This is practically impossible to claim or answer. Art becomes art when somebody says it is. So you'd have to ask Koko or Michael whether they think their creations are art. Any evaluation by humans is based on human perception. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 09:26, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Sorry I should have said "..., but it's verifiable." The article could be ammended to say "Other than the Bower bird, humans..." Chrisrus (talk) 13:19, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, it could, but not without violating WP:NOR or ignoring WP:RS, anyway. The birds' creations may be artistic (in one or more senses of the word), but to declare them art is a huge leap. The most the article could say is that some people consider them to be art, and that would only be worth saying if reliable sources state it unequivocally. I'd further say that "some people" isn't really a high enough threshold; it ought to be noted artists or people with expertise or notability in a related field, such as art theory or art history. Otherwise, it's WP editors cherry-picking sources to fit the text, rather than writing the text based on the prevalent sources. Seb_az86556 makes a good point: we cannot know with any certainty what non-human species think about their own creative output. Even if we could know that, if the generally accepted definition of art specifies human involvement, then it would be a leap to call the work of another species art. Defining and delineating the boundaries of art is a highly subjective endeavor—and, as far as we know, an entirely human one. Rivertorch (talk) 19:27, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
There's nothing I know of inherent in any definition of the word "art" that implies it couldn't be engaged in by an alien species or some such, that it has to be "Homo sapiens" or another of our genus or it isn't art. And you might try entering "Bowerbird" and "art" into "Google Scholar" or some such. Experts agree: what the Bowerbird does is impress it's mate not with the aethetics of it's feathers, as is accepted case with other birds, but with the aesthetics of it's bower, a one-of a kind personal creation with no other purpose than to aesthetically please a female. For example: http://www.pnas.org/content/83/9/3042.short. Chrisrus (talk) 20:20, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
So one-of-a-kind personal creations intended to impress one's mate are automatically art? I'm afraid I don't see that. The abstract you link to is a good start for sourcing a statement along the lines of the "some people" one I suggested above, but I'd point out that the author's field is physiology, which hardly recommends him as an expert on what constitutes art. Clearly, the word "art" is used in various ways by various people. My original point in this thread was that the basic dictionary definition of the word strongly suggests that it is a uniquely human endeavor. While dictionary definitions shouldn't be strict delimiters of the scope of WP article content, I've found they do provide a good starting point. If nearly all major dictionaries define art as a human pursuit, then suggesting in this article that the definition goes beyond that requires impeccable sourcing and great care to avoid original research, particularly synthesis. Rivertorch (talk) 19:01, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=bmNB7R1yH2sC&oi=fnd&pg=PT38&dq=Bowerbird+art&ots=iBKaPk9tcM&sig=QlRXkzTvQ93GddQ87A-YfCpozEc#v=onepage&q=Bowerbird%20art&f=false

to the distinct styles of individual human artists or schools of art. ... In the end, bowerbird art is just another way for boys to show off their acumen and strength. ..." http://www.akademiai.com/content/66w5h223887j370u/

Is that not enough to cite something like "...with the possible exception of the bowerbird" or some such? Listen to the BBC radio piece by David Attenborough, please, he calls it a work of art. What category of thing does a bower fall into? It's not a shelter, what kind of thing is it?

Did you listen to the BBC radio piece by David Attenborough I posted before? Experts call a bower a work of art because there's nothing else to call it. If it's not a work of art, what is it? It has no other purpose but to attract females with it's beauty.

And about the "human only" definition, it's irrational. Thought experiment: Could a Tralfamadorian create art? Why not?

Also: Given an infinate number of Goldilocks zone planets and all possible time, reason dictates that there could be, nay must be somewhere sometime, some non-human art in the vastness of the universe. How can you delare that art must by definition be Homo sapiens, that no species anywhere ever could by definition create art? It's irrational to delare that art is only Homo sapiens-exclusive given the vastness of time and space. Chrisrus (talk) 03:30, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

This is beyond the scope of what I have time and energy for right now. I know you're arguing in the best possible faith, but we seem to be talking past each other at this point. Two points, very briefly: I've watched every David Attenborough documentary I can find over the years, including the one on bower birds, which I remember quite well. With all respect to Sir David, whom I admire, I don't think he should define art for the purposes of this or any WP article. Also, I don't believe I "declared" what you seem to think I declared. Rather than hunting up sources to bolster your argument, please seek out some really basic sources which define art and see what they say. Rivertorch (talk) 06:07, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

::Well, I hope that your feeling those emotions is a sign you're about to concede to evidence and reason.

Next, we at Wikipedia say that "Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses." Just like the bower bird does. I think that's a pretty standard "non-has-to-be-human" definition, and the one David Attenborough seems to be using, and the I observe in context when people use the word, don't you?
And I'm not saying it's you who "declares" it must be human or it's not art, but definition #1 of Wiktionary's definition of art, (which is unreferenced, as opposed to defintion two, which seems to be David A.'s and mine, here http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/art) and other "exclusively human" definitions that you can find that "declare" that, so to speak, "Klingons couldn't do art" or "there is no art outside of this planet" when they say "art is the human...".
Or it is you who so "declare", if use that definition, but not if "declare" means you made the "humans only" definition up; because we know that you didn't: the "humans only" definition is out there in dictionaries and such, you are right, it's part of some common definitions. But I think that part of the definition comes from the observation that no other animal does it, and would change if a non-human could be found, as the bowerbird has, to perform Wikipedia's main definition or Wiktionary's second defition of "Art".
So can we compromise? Can we something like at least say something like "with the possible exception of the bowerbird" maybe with "at least by one common definition of art", or "is arguably art" or "that many or some scholars say it's art", or "there is some doubt that, given what we know about bowers, whether humans are truely the only known species to create art" or however else it would work in smoothly? Chrisrus (talk) 06:38, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
  • The way you've defined "art", all mating displays qualify as art. You say that only bower-birds and humans create art; but who are we to say that songs and dances aren't 'art,' or to decree that no other species sing or dance? The profound stickiness of the question is why Wikipedia shouldn't make an assertion one way or the other until we see highly reputably ethology/anthropology sources—stuff like other encyclopedia articles—weighing in on the issue. Otherwise, regardless of which view is truest, it's a WP:OR synthesis. -Silence (talk) 08:03, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
Including mating displays such as that in the bowerbird would be equivalent to saying that bees have language. This is a mating display. Dbrodbeck (talk) 14:36, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
@User:Silence: First, it's not my definition. I got it from here: Art, and the "humans-only" definition from Wiktionary's definition, which someone tagged as uncited. Wiktionary's second definition is more like ours here at Wikipedia. So if you don't agree with any of those, you might want to edit those. Second, I don't know why bird dances and songs are not considered art by experts. Well, I have my theory, but I'll not share my original research. But the fact is, David Attenburough and these other experts aren't telling us that bird songs and dances are art. They are, however, telling us that bowers are. But you are correct about the profound stickiness of drawing a fine line around the referent art, so that's a good reason why the article shouldn't say as it does that humans are the only ones that do it. Second, with regard to the type of citations you would require, have you looked at the WP:RSes that I posted above? And about WP:SYNTHESIS or WP:OR; when what your doing is passing along what experts and Wikipedia say, those don't apply. And these two guidelines apply to articles, not talk pages. There is no rule that all points made in how to improve the article discussions must rely on evidence alone. Pure reason may also be used to sway others on article discussion pages. So I don't how OR and SYTHESIS apply. Chrisrus (talk) 04:48, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Section break

I have reverted this change because I think the previous text is preferable and don't see consensus in the above discussion for such a change. Rivertorch (talk) 20:37, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

The way I read this talk page section, it went like this:

  • Wavanova objected to the statement that humans are the only species to create art, bringing up gorilla painting.
  • Rivertorch disagreed, stating that by definition, no species but humans can create art.
  • Silence pointed out that if that is the definition of art, it seems trivial and tautological to say that humans are the only species to do art, but also wondered about whether ape “art” may safely be called that.
  • Rivertorch seemed to agree with silence to a certain exent, but still thought that art by definition could never be done by anything but humans, but still thought it was a significant enough thing to mention. He also wondered if the statement in the lead were supported by the body and therefore there was a problem in need of solving.
  • Silence reported that a prominent expert on the evolution of artwho saw precursers to art in other ‘’Homo’’ species, but seemed to agree that only Sapiens creates true art, but Silence also opined that there could be other non ‘’H.sapiens’’ that do make art, calling the question “empirical”.
  • Martin Hogbin pointed out that, thoughout history, many statements fitting the pattern “humans are the only species that _____” have been proven wrong, implying that he wouldn’t be surprised if this one turned out to be untrue as well.
  • Chrisrus (I) said that experts say that apes do enjoy the creative process of painting but unlike humans don’t produce art to be seen by others or even themselves ever again after they are finished, and therefore lacked an important characteristic of the word “Art”. I then reported that the bowerbird’s bower, on the other hand, does pass this test.
  • Rivertorch was skeptical that we could say that such birds and humans shared a concept of beauty, and responded to Martin by saying that such statements about tool use and self-recognition could be falsified, but didn’t think that was the case with art.
  • Chrisrus (I) said that while it’s understandable that someone might disbelieve that it could possibly be proven that the birds have a sense of aesthetic, and that their bowers really don’t have any other purpose but aesthetics, it was nevertheless verifiable that they in fact do have such a sence and that the bowers actually do have this purpose, and provided evidence in the form of film and published papers that say that the do have aesthetic and bowers have no other purpose.
  • Rivertorch said he already knew about the bowerbird and their bowers but disagreed that they could be said to be works of art.
  • Choyool interjected that because art is subjective, we can’t say whether non-human “art” really is art or not.
  • Chrisrus (I) clarified that experts do say that bowerbirds do create art, that it wasn’t a case of personal perspective.
  • Rivertorch said to remove or soften the statement “only humans create art” would violate WP:NOR and ignoring WP:RS. He then injected is personal take on the WP:RSes that I had provided earlier, saying that they may seem artisgtic, but to declare them “art” would be “a huge leap”. He did agree that we could say that some experts consider the bowers to be works of art, but that these were the wrong kind of experts, so it would be a violation of WP:Cherrypicking for the article to state that a bower is a work of art.
  • Rivertorch agreed with Seb that we can’t know what other species are thingking when they create “art”, so no one can ever know if a non-human species is creating actually is art. He also re-asserted that art is by definition can only be done by humans. He then said that even though defining art is subjective, its entirely human.
  • I (Chrisrus) then questioned whether the “humans-only” definition stood to reason or was supported by evidence. I also asserted that experts say that bowers are art because they fit at least one common definition which I pointed to elsewhere on Wikipedia.
  • Rivertorch then provided his personal opinion that a one –of-a-kind personal, unique creation made to appeal to the aesthetic of others is not necessarily a work of art. Rivertorch agreed that the abstract I provided was “a good start” for citing that some experts think bowers qualify as art, but pointed out that what constitutes art is subjective, and asserted that because art is commonly defined as a purely human endeavor, to make an edit that says otherwise would be WP:OR, specifically WP:SYNTHESIS.
  • Chrisrus (I) responded by providing evidence in the form of WP:RSes stating that bowers fit the definition of art, and an argument based on pure reason that the “humans only” definition does not stand to reason.
  • Rivertorch seemed to feel that the debate was not progressing, but that the expert David Attenborough’s assertion that bowers fit the definition of art was not good enough, and asked that Chrisrus (I) not provide WP:RSes that bolster my argument but ones that define art.
  • I then replied that Wikipedia’s article Art, and the experts I had provided use a non-“humans-only” definition of art, and but that Wiktionary provides both a humans only definition and one that would fit bowers, but that the “humans-only” definition didn’t stand to reason and had not been cited.
  • I then offered a compromise, that we just not declare that humans are surely the only species to do art, and that neither do we declare that they are not.
  • Silence said that because bowers are part of mating displays, they weren’t different from bird song or dance, and that art is difficult to define, so we should avoid stating one way or the other that humans are or aren’t the only species to do art, as it would violate WP:OR either way.
  • Dbrodbeck replied that saying that mating displays of birds is art is like saying the communication dance of honeybees is language, and that they are mating displays. He didn’t address the bowers.
  • I replied to Silence that the definitions were found by me, not invented, so were not WP:OR, that bird songs and dances are not being called art in WP:RSes, but that bowers were, and that removing the statement that humans are the only species to do art is not synthesis or original research.
  • I then waited reasonable amount of time and then re-wrote the statement that humans are the only species to create art to read that art is an important part of human nature, but did not declare that we are the only species to do art.
  • Rivertorch reverted my edit, saying that the way it had been was “prefereable” and my edit didn’t have consensus from his point of view.
  • I believe that I have proven that there is no consensous that bower's aren't art, that humans only create art, or that no other species by definition can create art. I also assert that the points made by others and by Rivertorch himself support this conclusion that to say that only humans create art is shakey at best and should be softened or removed. I request comment. {{RfC|rfcid=F99D073}} Chrisrus (talk) 23:18, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Oh, wow. I think this probably could be resolved without an RfC, but if you want to go that route you might want to add the "brief, neutral statement of the issue" that the RfC directions suggest and sort it (Maths, science, and technology and Media, the arts, and architecture would be logical). For the record, I think that some of your changes were probably salvageable. If you want to broaden the discussion, I guess that's not a bad thing. Rivertorch (talk) 03:14, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Then again, you can just revert. I must say I don't see the urgency. You've canceled the RfC and no one has commented substantively yet, either in support or opposition to your edit. The ideal is BRD, not BRDR, afaik. Is anyone else paying attention or all we all semi-comatose from premature overindulgence in egg nog and holiday cheer? Rivertorch (talk) 18:27, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Possibly

I will proide a source for this additioion. Pass a Method talk 09:51, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Your "possibly" addition[1] is pretty irresponsible. It's inconsistent with the Human#Evolution section and the Human evolution article. And as shown in that article and in the Anatomically modern humans and Recent African origin of modern humans articles, which have better sources than what you have provided, most scientists agree that anatomically modern humans originated in Africa. That's the general consensus among scientists. Your "possibly" addition is akin to saying that the world is possibly round.
And, no, you should not go messing with those articles, replacing their good sources with your sources just to add "possibly." 193.169.145.43 (talk) 12:52, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Why is it irresponsible to update the lede to reflect recent info about fossils findings? Your analogy to the earth being round is pretty stupid. If scientists dispute on a certain matter wikipedia should reflect that. Read all three sources before replying please. Pass a Method talk 14:55, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
It's irresponsible because it is a fringe view. So, no, per Wikipedia:FRINGE, if scientists dispute on a certain matter, it does not mean that Wikipedia has to reflect that. I'm not saying that the other view on this issue (multi-regional hypothesis) should not be mentioned, but giving it validity by saying that it is possibly correct is fringe, and this fringe view is already tackled lower in the article. Since most scientists maintain that this view is not correct, it should not be given validity by corrupting the mainstream view to say that the mainstream view is "possibly correct." It would be like saying that sexual orientation is "possibly a choice." While people can choose a sexual identity, most researchers maintain that sexual orientation is not a choice. Scientists debate on various matters; it does not mean that every debate gets space in Wikipedia or that the fringe view should also get represented or be presented as equal to the majority view. Majority rules when it comes to scientific debate, just as majority rules in most cases in life. My Round Earth vs. Flat Earth analogy was not stupid, except when taking into account that no educated person should believe that the Earth is flat. I used that analogy because believing that the Earth is flat, in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is not, is also a fringe view. 193.169.145.46 (talk) 16:42, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't think adding a weasel word for a minority view is a good idea, see WP:UNDUE Dbrodbeck (talk) 17:06, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Dbrodbeck is correct. The term "fringe" may or may not apply in this case, but it certainly would appear to be undue weight to "weasel up" the lede in this way. The lede is supposed to clearly and simply summarize the main points of the article, and its language shouldn't be watered down unless consensus in the scientific community shifts enought to warrant it. Rivertorch (talk) 19:02, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Okay then. I provided 3 sources, but consensus is obviously against me. Pass a Method talk 19:40, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Thank you guys (Dbrodbeck and Rivertorch) for commenting. And, PassaMethod, your three sources do not matter in this discussion. It's not enough because of what I've gone over in my argument. Scientific consensus is not in agreement with "possibly." 193.169.145.62 (talk) 22:08, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Note also that the Science News article deals with possible finds of a pre-Erectus Homo species nearly 2 million years ago, not about anatomically modern humans. Indeed, the article explicitly suggests the possibility that these early hominids migrated back to Africa, where they evolved into modern humans. The Nature Interview, on the other hand, deals with a completely different find, and is very tentative and speculative. They don't even know for sure what they have found, not do they have reasonably good dating. The Earth Times article seems to deal with the same find, but I have doubts about its status as a WP:RS. If one checks the abstract of the original article, it is even more tentative (Although none of the Qesem teeth shows a suite of Neanderthal characters, a few traits may suggest some affinities with members of the Neanderthal evolutionary lineage.). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:05, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Edit request on 18 December 2011

Category:Monotypic mammal genera

Rkent9 (talk) 00:00, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

As it doesn't show, the request is to add Category:Monotypic mammal genera to the article. However, while Homo sapiens may be the only extant species in Homo, there are other, extinct, species, so I don't think the category is appropriate. -- Donald Albury 11:54, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I've edited this above to a) make the request show, b) stop this talk page being categorised as a Monotypic mammal genera. LukeSurl t c 00:53, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

Disabilities, disorders

Subsection on... how about it, the ones humans seemingly most disposed to and most seriously affected by maybe. Not included at all really at the moment, just isolated mentions re diet (infectious diseases/obesity), the words medical, neurology/psychiatry, mental illness.. did quick search in archives on disability/disorder couldn't see talk about it. Eversync (talk) 10:16, 16 January 2012 (UTC) On the other hand i just realised it doesn't mention sport or play either. Eversync (talk) 10:21, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Mirror test

Humans are one of only nine species known to pass the mirror test—which tests whether an animal recognizes its reflection as an image of itself—along with all the great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, bonobos), bottlenose dolphins, Asian elephants, European Magpies, and killer whales. Despite the reference for this sentence not backing up this claim, there are not even nine species in this list: gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, and bottlenose dolphins are the common names for genera. The sentence needs to be reworded and referenced. Jack (talk) 12:25, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

I changed "nine" to "several", and found a source. Sasata (talk) 06:32, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

GA push

I'd like to format and list-define the references in this article consistently for a possible GA push. Please let me know if this idea offends, or if further clarification is desired; I'll do this in about a week if there's no complaints. I hope to find references for all the citation needed tags, then submit the article for a peer review. Any help (or helpful criticism) is welcome! Sasata (talk) 20:09, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Anatomical Image

Naughty bytes.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Please delete the male/female anatomic image. They violate the obscenity laws of USA. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Syz2 (talkcontribs) 05:41, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

That's funny. Tell us another one. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:07, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Pls see Wikipedia:Offensive material for more info as to why the image is here.Moxy (talk) 05:54, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Alternate proposal: let's use only clothed images to illustate anatomy in all species articles. Rivertorch (talk) 06:35, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Using the burqa would be safest. HiLo48 (talk) 06:39, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Or failing that, the illustration of one of the Pythoneers in fairly modest boxer shorts labeled "naughty bits". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:07, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Whoever said that is clearly a troll. The USA has no obscenity laws governing the Internet except for forbidding the admission of minors to pornographic sites, and of course it's not really porn if they're not having sex (and in the image they aren't). Can we Close and Archive this silly Discussion Section? The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:30, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Will. This is a pointless discussion. - UtherSRG (talk) 11:12, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Etymology: Mankind - Obsolete

The proposition that the word 'mankind' is obsolete as a synonym for humanity may or may not be correct. (I happen to think it is, but this is just a personal view.) However, the footnote reference given on the point provides no support as it merely points out that, according to the OED, the last time anyone applied the label 'man' to an individual woman was 1597 - hardly news to anyone. Indeed, if the footnote is accurate, it goes on to say that the OED does NOT think that 'mankind' is obsolete as a reference to our species in general. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.28.33.54 (talk) 01:56, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

We could just link Mankind Is Obsolete. <grin> More generally, "mankind" appears to still be used regularly as a synonym for "humanity", so without a reliable source explicitly saying it is obsolete, I think the statement should be removed. -- Donald Albury 12:55, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
From 1800 through 1880, "mankind" significantly out ranked "humanity" in book usage according to Google Books, with "humanity" holding steady and "mankind" steadily decreasing. From 1880 to 1980, both were in decline, although not nearly as significantly as "mankind" from 1800-1880. Since then, "mankind" has continued to decline in usage while "humanity" has held steady again. [2] - UtherSRG (talk) 13:40, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Part of the problem here is that things are changing fast, but too many old books (20+ years old) are lying around and easily accessible, making it seem that the term has more widespread usage in the recent literature than it does. (Most people never look at the copyright date.) Similarly, the general public still uses the term from time to time. Unfortunately in this case it boils down to opinion, not science. UtherSRG's analysis is probably the best way to go when determining which word to use on Wikipedia, and I use the same technique when assessing similar disputes... though not with the fancy graphs. (Cool!) The catch here is that—being a cultural issue and not a scientific matter—it becomes impossible to conclude when the term becomes functionally "obsolete", especially over such a short period of time. The OED is a reliable source. I'd be inclined to say that the term is "becoming obsolete". I think both UtherSRG's graph and the OED would support this claim. *BUT*... with all that said, we need to be careful of original research. Are there any recent sources (published within the last 5-10 years) that discuss this issue that we can cite? – Maky « talk » 17:25, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Part of why I said "mankind" is still in use is because of its appearance in quotes from Martin Luther King's speeches. I'm having trouble dealing with a word used in famous speeches given after I had become an adult being called obsolete. -- Donald Albury 01:09, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree with your original post that without a source (and some should exist, I would think), the statement should be removed. However, our personal feelings on the matter carry no weight. Personally, I'm having a hard time dealing with the idea that the cassettes I grew up with are obsolete. But that's irrelevant. – Maky « talk » 03:09, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

"Humans are gradually losing their wisdom teeth"

For sure not true... — Preceding unsigned comment added by 140.247.25.6 (talk) 18:33, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Do you have a source to cite that says we aren't? And was the text you are complaining about adequately sourced? - UtherSRG (talk) 11:11, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I can't generalize to the human race, but I've still got mine, and they're not gradually coming out. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:23, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
How about: "In the course of human evolution the third molars (or wisdom teeth) have shown a tendency to degenerate", with L. Wu (1997)[3] as reference? It's less ambiguous. Iblardi (talk) 10:44, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm not able to get to that link. But what does "degenerate" mean in this context? Obviously, many folks have had to have their wisdom teeth removed for medical reasons. But are there significant numbers of people who are born without wisdom teeth? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:50, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
All are borne without wisdom teeth (or any teeth ;-). However, as far as I know, many do never develop the full set of four. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 11:02, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
The author mentions "impaction, size reduction, pegged shape, or congenital absence" as examples of this degeneration. Iblardi (talk) 11:05, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
I can't get to the book, either. I'm not entirely certain it is true, either. There's no genetic/procreative pressure. What may be true is that because humanity overall has better dentistry, folk who have problems with their wisdom teeth get better treatment than in the past, and so are able to survive. But the ability to have kids and support them to the point they can have kids is generally completed before poor wisdom teeth would have an impact (no pun intended) on survival. - UtherSRG (talk) 11:30, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
I was interested to discover in the wisdom tooth article that about 35 percent never develop wisdom teeth, and even more interesting is that some percentage develop more than 1 set of wisdom teeth. Unless someone can find figures that indicate a significantly different percentage, some centuries ago, then it appears to be nothing more than a genetic variation, as with hair or eye color. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:39, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
I thought that the statement referred to the entire line of human evolution from the Australopithecines onward, not just H. sapiens. At any rate, it turns out that some sources on GB also mention third molar agenesis for H. erectus. Iblardi (talk) 14:00, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
The indenting is confusing but I presume you're referring to Iblardi's comment/ref? If so, it's perhaps worth remembering that if there's no evolutionary pressure either way (from a situation where we can presume there was an evolutionary pressure towards wisdom teeth), you may very well see a tendency to degenerate as mutations will accumulate provided they don't make things worse. Of course without a selective pressure against wisdom teeth, the effect won't be that great and there's a fair chance they'll never disappear. Besides, there some evidence and a fair amount of belief that evolutionary pressure in humans is seen long after reproduction age because of family structures and long rearing times (see Grandmother hypothesis for example). Nil Einne (talk) 21:25, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
According to the sources below it is most likely related to a general process of teeth getting smaller(and fewer) when they're not actively selected for large size.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:42, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
  • As far as I know it is mostly European populations that are not having wisdom teeth.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:49, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
  • "The hypotheses that have been proposed in order to explain third molar agenesis in man are discussed. It is suggested that the loss of the third molar in Homo sapiens could be produced by a heterochronic phenomenon of postdisplacement, as a consequence of the phylogenetic tendency toward the delay of the onset of the third molar formation, and that the genetic factors responsible for the absence of these teeth could be related to the general process of delay in tooth formation." (De Castro, J. M. B. (1989), Third molar agenesis in human prehistoric populations of the Canary Islands. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., 79: 207–215.)
  • "In the evolution of primates there has been a tendency towards reduction in jaw length and prognathism, mandibular canine size and first molar cusp number, and third molar presence. These oral structures were contrasted, and compared with cranial size, body height and weight, and finger length in 118 males and 102 females of the Burlington Growth Centre. Body weight was significantly related to canine width and to jaw length and prognathism. These relationships were stronger in the males than in the females. The evolutionary reduction in these dental dimensions may result from an evolutionary reduction in genetically determined body size. In the males the number of molar cusps was related to finger length and cranial height. Agenesis of third molars was related to the length of the maxilla in both sexes. In the females, canine width was related to the number of cusps of the first molars, agenesis of third molars, and length of a finger. Simultaneous reductions in dental structures were more frequent in the females." (Anderson, D. L., Thompson, G. W. and Popovich, F. (1975), Evolutionary dental changes. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., 43: 95–102.)
  • "The purpose of this research is to study the frequency distribution of the degeneration of third molars in the world populations, and its significance to human evolution. The results show that the frequencies of both the agenesis and impaction of third molar are much higher in East Asian populations than all other populations around the world. The earliest occurrence and increasing rates of the agenesis of third molars varied in different geographical regions and ethnic groups, which resulted in the different frequencies of this trait among populations. The third molar impaction seems to be another expression of human orofacial degeneration, but the factors affecting the third molar impaction are much complicated than those for the agenesis. Present research reveals: the significant continuity of third molar agenesis occurred in the human populations of China chronologically. The agenesis of both third molars on Lantian Man mandible and upper right molar on Liujiang Man skull offers s-trong support for the theory of regional continuity for the modern human origin in East Asia."(L Wu et al. 1996. The degeneration of third molars and its significance to human evolution. Acta Anthropologica Sinica, 1996 )
  • George Richard Scott, Christy G. Turner. 2000 The Anthropology of Modern Human Teeth: Dental Morphology and Its Variation in Recent Human Populations. Cambridge University Press. (p. 128 "Eskimo-Aleuts have one of the world's highest frequencies of upper and lower third molar agenesis")·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:24, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

"Single recent origin" theory proven wrong

How come this article says nothing about interbreeding with Neanderthals, Denisovians etc. ? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16339313 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.7.165.229 (talk) 21:39, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Because those interbreedings were unsuccessful even when they happened. The resulting offspring were sterile not unlike a mule, except of course they were humans (Genus Homo) rather than horses (Genus Equus). If you look at the Y Chromosome studies of Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis men, you would find that no male father-son line has crossed over from H. neanderthalensis to H. sapiens. In addition, if you look at mitochondrial DNA studies of H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis women, there was also no female mother-daughter line that crossed over from H. neanderthalensis to H. sapiens. Thus, there was no Effective interbreeding, although there may have been ineffective interbreeding of sterile hybrids as explained earlier. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:39, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Then why are the studies arguing for DNA contributions to modern populations from Denisovans and Neanderthals? We don't know if the hybrid offspring was reproductively viable, and we also don't know whether they are best described as hybrids since it may be the case that there were not two different species involved but only subspecies.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:43, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Your argument is not complete, Will. mtDNA and Y-DNA combined do not make up the entirety of the human genome. It is certainly possible for both a direct male lineage and a direct female lineage to die out, while the population contains members derived from both lines. Imagine a male Neanderthal and a female H. sapiens interbreeding. All children will have her mtDNA, all males will have his Y-DNA. Any of the male children who then mate with another H. sapiens female would transmit the Y-DNA to his males and all kids would continue to have H. sapiens mtDNA. But what if there are no males? There would still be Neanderthal genes passed down, but all of the mtDNA would be H. sapiens. The reverse situation could also occur, where a male H. sapiens mates with a female Neanderthal, but only has male offspring. When they then mate with other H. sapiens females, the mtDNA and Y-DNA are both from H. sapiens, but other genes are from a Neanderthal. The non-mtDNA non-Y-DNA portion of the genome can't be easily tracked, and some scientists believe they have determined some genes in some populations are from Neanderthals and/or Denisovans. There is no way to determine what the Neanderthal or Denisovan cross H. sapiens sterility rate was during the time when there was more than one species of Homo contemporaneously extant. Even if the sterility rate was high, it may not have been 100%.
That all said, it's not up to us to determine these possibilities. It's our job to report on what the current mainstream scientific thought on these matters are, and to note as best we can the major alternatives to those thoughts. In that light, I'll ask the leading questions: What are the current mainstream scientific thoughts on Homo cross-species interbreeding, and what are the major alternatives? - UtherSRG (talk) 11:10, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
This item at NatureNews sums up the claims and the state of the evidence for crossbreeding between modern humans and Neanderthals and/or Denisovans. It also includes some responses that show that at least some scientists have not accepted the claims. My personal take is that the claims of interbreeding are interesting, but, even if true, do not invalidate the single origin hypothesis, as sub-Saharan Africans are not descended from any putative modern human-Neanderthal interbreeding, and only Melanesians have been identified as having possible Denisovan DNA. -- Donald Albury 11:53, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Intersting. The term "evolved twice" applies clearly to the English word "porcupine" and the scope of the article porcupine because the common ancestor of new and old world porcupines was clearly not a porcupine. So you'd have to prove that the common ancestor of Asians and other races was not a human, but while that species, presumably Homo erectus, is outside of the scope of the referent of this article, its often referred to by experts as another "human" species, an early "human", and so on. So it depends on accepting that H. erectus was not human, which is not as universally accepted as porcupine. Chrisrus (talk) 17:31, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Linnaeus is the type specimen

Some interesting info which should be covered here: http://iczn.org/content/who-type-homo-sapiens and http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/4065043?uid=3737880&uid=2&uid=4&sid=47698796633937 FunkMonk (talk) 22:48, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Self-modifications

I have been bold and added a small section on self-modification. These are almost universal and I think gets us out of cultural issues concerning images with/without hair etc.

And clothes?

I am thinking of moving this section to the top of 'Society and culture' and renaming it something like 'Clothing, adornments, and self-modification'.

The fact is that humans almost universally change their appearance by wearing clothing and modifying themselves in some way. All the pictures in the article show humans like this yet we do not seem to say much about this, almost unique, feature of humans in the article. We do not need to say much; most things can be covered by links but we should say something. Any thoughts? Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:50, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

I'm not familiar with reliable sources, but I think something could be done with how humans use clothing, tattoos, scarification, body painting and jewelry and other adornments such as feathers, as ways of stating their membership and position in cultural groups. -- Donald Albury 22:31, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, along with hair removal and trimming.
I think this approach may help get round some of the problems with picture choice by separating cultural issues from biological and ethnic ones. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:44, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Placing Homo in context in lede

After I reverted SK-KP's edit to the lede to change "are the only living species in the Homo genus" to "are the only living species in the ape genus Homo", that editor posted the following to my talk page:

Hi. Thanks for explaining your reversion of my edit to this article. I'm aware that "ape" covers a wider range of primates than just the genus Homo, but didn't think that my edit suggested that ape and Homo were synonymous. There are lots of examples of articles where we've used a similar form of words to help readers place the article taxonomically: Savi's Warbler to pluck one at random. What I was trying to achieve was to place the word ape into the article so that most readers could place humans taxonomically, without having to navigate away from the page, to Homo, and then to primates etc: I felt that ape was a sufficiently widely understood term which could achieve this. Maybe there is a better way of achieving the same end result - any ideas? SP-KP (talk) 12:17, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

I think this is worth discussing. I do think "ape" is too broad a descriptor for Homo, but we may want to make Homo's taxonomic position clearer in the lede. -- Donald Albury 12:36, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Genus: Homo Homo Sapians

There seems to be a grave error in the taxobox that I don't know how to fix. The genus is only Homo, and "sapians" is wrong in any case. FunkMonk (talk) 15:11, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

You are right. I can't fix it either. What's going on? Strange. Chrisrus (talk) 16:14, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Somebody has messed up the complex taxonomy box templates. I may or may not have straightened it out (in any case, I learned something ;-). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 16:15, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
It's fixed! FunkMonk (talk) 18:40, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Thanks!  Done

Too Eurocentric

Painfully long Section. Let's put this subtopic in a more convenient place.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Scracthing my brains trying to find any images of ancient African artefacts, etc. Instead, I find clusters of European images in agriculture, religion, art, etc. I find it hard to believe that not a single African artefact cannot be found and inserted in the relevant section when the British Museum among others is full of them. This is a major problem in English Wikipedia. French Wikipedia in many cases is more inclusive.Tamsier (talk)

If you are right, please see to it that this is fixed. However, a glance at all the images in the article just now did not leave the same "Eurocentric" impression on me. Chrisrus (talk) 17:35, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
Issues with wikipedia as a whole or perceived bias of ethnic groups represented by a large swath of articles is a topic beyond the purview of this talk page... If your on a mission to de-europanize wikipedia then theres probably better avenues to discuss it and it probably SHOULD be discussed beforehand. — raekyt 10:43, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Hi Chrisrus, Done! One is free to compare A and B. Thanks.
@ Raeky, the issue is with English Wikipedia not necessarily Wikipedia as a whole. This is less of a problem in French wiki. Besides the last time I checked, Europeans were not the only humans in the world. I have neither the time nor the inclination to de-Europeanized Wiki. Europeanization of Wiki should not exist in the first place unless the relevant article relates specifically to Europe. This article is about human beings. Again, the last time I checked, Europeans were not the only humans. Thank you for your contribution.Tamsier (talk) 12:30, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I've restored previous concensus on the image chosen to illustrate the "Art, music, and literature" section. I have two grounds for doing so:
1. The grounds for changing given, in order to balance image Eurocentrism in the article, did not stand up to investigation. If you would, please count the numbers of eurocentric images vs non-eurocentric images and note the prominance of each. You will find that there is no such imbalance, because there are far more non-eurocentric images than there are eurocentric ones. The grounds for changing established section image concensus have proven false.
2. Previous concensus image better illustrates the nature and scope of the section.
Please do not restore the replacement image until you have provided valid grounds for doing so. Chrisrus (talk) 14:37, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I tend to agree that article images should not be based on an ethnicity count but on which one best suits the context. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:02, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

I count atleast 9 images relating to Europe (human beings and the art included). Show me where this discussion was held. The closest to the issues I have raised was in section (see above), but is mainly about anatomical images. Read through the whole of section 1 and the closest I can find is the following comments by these IPs:

"They're all awfully white!" — Preceding unsigned comment added by 121.54.41.121 (talk) 16:07, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
"Having an entire article on humans with almost nothing but whites would be unacceptable; having a few pictures of white people among many others is acceptable." --152.65.39.146 (talk) 21:29, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Consensus appears to have been reached in relation to the anatomy section, but there was no discussion as far as I can see relating to the art and others etc. So my mind boggles trying to figure out what discussion you are talking about. And to think that I have the time and the inclination to edit war over images! Some of us have other things to do than edit war. I don't have to do anything else regarding this article. Any reasonable person who sees this article would realise this article is a joke. Going by the quotes above, it would appear that I was not the first. But hey, if anyone wishes to use English Wikipedia to promote their Eurocentric views they have come to the right place. This nonesense would not be tolerated in French Wikipedia. Only in English Wikipedia. What a surprise.Tamsier (talk) 19:18, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Images:

  1. Lead Photo: Southeast Asian
  2. Plesiadapis
  3. Crania
  4. hominid skeletons
  5. Venus of Dolní Věstonice (Paleo-European)
  6. European farmer, Hard to tell, but seems to be European.
  7. human diaspora map
  8. Brazilian Indians
  9. Anatomical nude, one European, one Asian
  10. Vitruvian Man, (European)
  11. Human embryo
  12. Prepubestent girl (African)
  13. Adult Woman (South Asian)
  14. Elderly woman (Europen)
  15. Prepubescent Boy (East Asian)
  16. Adult man (Amerindian)
  17. Elderly man (Central Asian)
  18. Collection of head shots, (1/4 each European, African, Amerindian, East Asian)
  19. The United Nations (this is in NY but represents the whole world)
  20. Banana Market (African)
  21. Stone tool (Paleo-African)
  22. Nsibidi script (African)
  23. The creation of Adam (European)
  24. Confucius (East Asian)
  25. Allegory of Music (European)

That looks like a good selection to me. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:49, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Clarification is needed

"There is no scientific consensus on the biological relevance of race. Few anthropologists endorse the notion of human "race" as a basically biological concept; they tend to see race as a social construct superimposed on, but partly obscuring, underlying biological variation."

This portion needs to be clarified and amended. Homo sapiens subspecies very much exist. Any amount of social construction affecting these subspecies does not in some way make that less valid. It's like saying that most gender studies experts don't think that gender differentiation is a "basically biological concept" because there are implicated social constructions relating to male and female. In other words, you can't let human behaviour distract or detract from science.

Look at the other wiki pages for animal species, many of them have a section called "subspecies" where the subspecies are listed and explained. The same should be done here. Take the social construction debates to a different section OUT of the scientific aspect of this page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.100.150.3 (talk) 22:59, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

There are no scientifically-recognised 'subspecies' of Homo sapiens. AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:55, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
There are, we have Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens idaltu, and perhaps Homo sapiens neanderthaliensis, etc. FunkMonk (talk) 00:59, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant that there are no 'living' subspecies - which is what the IP was trying to suggest. AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:06, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Heh, apart from us, that is. But if they aren't discussed already, it would actually be interesting to mention them. FunkMonk (talk) 10:37, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but we will be going firmly into contested territory if we do. It is pretty well impossible to put two palaeoanthropologists together in one room to discuss such issues without three different opinions emerging on what is classified as what - and with the possibility of a fist fight too ;-). I'm not sure it will be useful to discuss the subject in sufficient detail without having a long-winded section on the different interpretations of each and every fossil, who labelled what as what, and just how much Homo neanderthalensis DNA there is in the average palaeoanthropology undergraduate's genome :D AndyTheGrump (talk) 15:28, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
What's wrong with a good fistfight? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 15:44, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

I'm referring to the races (Australoid, Caucasoid/Europid, Mongoloid, Negroid). If you look the entry for Lions there is a section entitled "subspecies" in which the various subspecies are listed (West African lion, Asiatic Lion, etc...). The same should be done on this page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.100.150.3 (talk) 04:48, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

ATG yes there are. If you believe otherwise, could you tell me what the difference is between human races and lion subspecies? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.100.150.3 (talk) 04:51, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't have to 'tell you' anything. Wikipedia articles are based on published reliable sources. There are no such sources that claim that mainstream science recognises 'races' as 'subspecies'. So no, the same shouldn't be done on this page. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:08, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Those races are not acknowledged as sub-species. If some genetic study one day in the future did do so, we could add it, but it hasn't happened. FunkMonk (talk) 17:56, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Too Eurocentric

Painfully long Section. Let's put this subtopic in a more convenient place.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Scracthing my brains trying to find any images of ancient African artefacts, etc. Instead, I find clusters of European images in agriculture, religion, art, etc. I find it hard to believe that not a single African artefact cannot be found and inserted in the relevant section when the British Museum among others is full of them. This is a major problem in English Wikipedia. French Wikipedia in many cases is more inclusive.Tamsier (talk)

If you are right, please see to it that this is fixed. However, a glance at all the images in the article just now did not leave the same "Eurocentric" impression on me. Chrisrus (talk) 17:35, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
Issues with wikipedia as a whole or perceived bias of ethnic groups represented by a large swath of articles is a topic beyond the purview of this talk page... If your on a mission to de-europanize wikipedia then theres probably better avenues to discuss it and it probably SHOULD be discussed beforehand. — raekyt 10:43, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Hi Chrisrus, Done! One is free to compare A and B. Thanks.
@ Raeky, the issue is with English Wikipedia not necessarily Wikipedia as a whole. This is less of a problem in French wiki. Besides the last time I checked, Europeans were not the only humans in the world. I have neither the time nor the inclination to de-Europeanized Wiki. Europeanization of Wiki should not exist in the first place unless the relevant article relates specifically to Europe. This article is about human beings. Again, the last time I checked, Europeans were not the only humans. Thank you for your contribution.Tamsier (talk) 12:30, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I've restored previous concensus on the image chosen to illustrate the "Art, music, and literature" section. I have two grounds for doing so:
1. The grounds for changing given, in order to balance image Eurocentrism in the article, did not stand up to investigation. If you would, please count the numbers of eurocentric images vs non-eurocentric images and note the prominance of each. You will find that there is no such imbalance, because there are far more non-eurocentric images than there are eurocentric ones. The grounds for changing established section image concensus have proven false.
2. Previous concensus image better illustrates the nature and scope of the section.
Please do not restore the replacement image until you have provided valid grounds for doing so. Chrisrus (talk) 14:37, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I tend to agree that article images should not be based on an ethnicity count but on which one best suits the context. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:02, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

I count atleast 9 images relating to Europe (human beings and the art included). Show me where this discussion was held. The closest to the issues I have raised was in section (see above), but is mainly about anatomical images. Read through the whole of section 1 and the closest I can find is the following comments by these IPs:

"They're all awfully white!" — Preceding unsigned comment added by 121.54.41.121 (talk) 16:07, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
"Having an entire article on humans with almost nothing but whites would be unacceptable; having a few pictures of white people among many others is acceptable." --152.65.39.146 (talk) 21:29, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Consensus appears to have been reached in relation to the anatomy section, but there was no discussion as far as I can see relating to the art and others etc. So my mind boggles trying to figure out what discussion you are talking about. And to think that I have the time and the inclination to edit war over images! Some of us have other things to do than edit war. I don't have to do anything else regarding this article. Any reasonable person who sees this article would realise this article is a joke. Going by the quotes above, it would appear that I was not the first. But hey, if anyone wishes to use English Wikipedia to promote their Eurocentric views they have come to the right place. This nonesense would not be tolerated in French Wikipedia. Only in English Wikipedia. What a surprise.Tamsier (talk) 19:18, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Images:

  1. Lead Photo: Southeast Asian
  2. Plesiadapis
  3. Crania
  4. hominid skeletons
  5. Venus of Dolní Věstonice (Paleo-European)
  6. European farmer, Hard to tell, but seems to be European.
  7. human diaspora map
  8. Brazilian Indians
  9. Anatomical nude, one European, one Asian
  10. Vitruvian Man, (European)
  11. Human embryo
  12. Prepubestent girl (African)
  13. Adult Woman (South Asian)
  14. Elderly woman (Europen)
  15. Prepubescent Boy (East Asian)
  16. Adult man (Amerindian)
  17. Elderly man (Central Asian)
  18. Collection of head shots, (1/4 each European, African, Amerindian, East Asian)
  19. The United Nations (this is in NY but represents the whole world)
  20. Banana Market (African)
  21. Stone tool (Paleo-African)
  22. Nsibidi script (African)
  23. The creation of Adam (European)
  24. Confucius (East Asian)
  25. Allegory of Music (European)

That looks like a good selection to me. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:49, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Clarification is needed

"There is no scientific consensus on the biological relevance of race. Few anthropologists endorse the notion of human "race" as a basically biological concept; they tend to see race as a social construct superimposed on, but partly obscuring, underlying biological variation."

This portion needs to be clarified and amended. Homo sapiens subspecies very much exist. Any amount of social construction affecting these subspecies does not in some way make that less valid. It's like saying that most gender studies experts don't think that gender differentiation is a "basically biological concept" because there are implicated social constructions relating to male and female. In other words, you can't let human behaviour distract or detract from science.

Look at the other wiki pages for animal species, many of them have a section called "subspecies" where the subspecies are listed and explained. The same should be done here. Take the social construction debates to a different section OUT of the scientific aspect of this page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.100.150.3 (talk) 22:59, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

There are no scientifically-recognised 'subspecies' of Homo sapiens. AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:55, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
There are, we have Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens idaltu, and perhaps Homo sapiens neanderthaliensis, etc. FunkMonk (talk) 00:59, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant that there are no 'living' subspecies - which is what the IP was trying to suggest. AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:06, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Heh, apart from us, that is. But if they aren't discussed already, it would actually be interesting to mention them. FunkMonk (talk) 10:37, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but we will be going firmly into contested territory if we do. It is pretty well impossible to put two palaeoanthropologists together in one room to discuss such issues without three different opinions emerging on what is classified as what - and with the possibility of a fist fight too ;-). I'm not sure it will be useful to discuss the subject in sufficient detail without having a long-winded section on the different interpretations of each and every fossil, who labelled what as what, and just how much Homo neanderthalensis DNA there is in the average palaeoanthropology undergraduate's genome :D AndyTheGrump (talk) 15:28, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
What's wrong with a good fistfight? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 15:44, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

I'm referring to the races (Australoid, Caucasoid/Europid, Mongoloid, Negroid). If you look the entry for Lions there is a section entitled "subspecies" in which the various subspecies are listed (West African lion, Asiatic Lion, etc...). The same should be done on this page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.100.150.3 (talk) 04:48, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

ATG yes there are. If you believe otherwise, could you tell me what the difference is between human races and lion subspecies? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.100.150.3 (talk) 04:51, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't have to 'tell you' anything. Wikipedia articles are based on published reliable sources. There are no such sources that claim that mainstream science recognises 'races' as 'subspecies'. So no, the same shouldn't be done on this page. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:08, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Those races are not acknowledged as sub-species. If some genetic study one day in the future did do so, we could add it, but it hasn't happened. FunkMonk (talk) 17:56, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Race/Ethnicity

Why is this a sub section in the biology section? The section clearly states as it should that there is no biological basis for racial or ethnic groupings. It should be moved to culture and instead a section on biological variation should be inserted showing the different aspects of human biological variation and how they intersect with but are different to notions of race and ethnicity. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:31, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes, that's a problem. Experts disagree as to whether there is or isn't a biological basis for race. Doctors and forensics and so on say there is and use it in their work. Some group with a name like "the international association or Anthropologists" or some such came out with a concensus that there is not. Any good physiologist, forensic examiner, or genetic analyst can distinguish people on the basis of race even with just a skeleton, skull, or sometimes just a tooth or a single strand of DNA. I can't understand how the anthropologists could have come out with such a statement because obviously there is a biological basis for race, or DNA analysts couldn't do what they do. It's just that we shouldn't make too much out of that fact. Make sure your doctor knows your race because it might be important. Chrisrus (talk) 18:33, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Here is a popular science presentation of the debate for a lay reader: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/does-race-exist.html. Chrisrus (talk) 18:35, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Forensics and doctors don't use races because they think they are biological categories but because they know they are statistically valid heuristics for the kind of practical work they do. (basically they are not telling anything about race but about geographical ancestry and from that they can infer how the individual is locally classified racially) There is plenty of literature on this. Actual experts are geneticists and anthropologists and they do agree that race is not a biological category but a social category that maps onto culturally selected biological variation in different ways meaning that in some contexts race has biological predictive power. This is not "knowing about race" but knowing how race often statistically relates to biology in certain contexts. A geneticist can tell what country you're from - but that doesn't mean that Belgians are all of a sudden a race. I don't need popular science books about race - I am quite familiar with evolutionary anthropology. You perhaps should try to read some of the wide range of anthropological and genetic literature criticizing the notion that because a concept has predictive power that means that it is the best explanation. Try reading anything by Jonathan Marks, Joseph Graves, C. Loring Brace, Simon Outram, or Troy Duster (on misuse of race in Medical anthropology). And then change the article. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:00, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Your asking me to do too much too quickly. I take your word for it that everyone you name would agree with you and disagree with me that race obviously does have any biological basis in reality. I am just asking that you read at least the second half of that www.pbs.orx link "Does race exist?" article, which is quite a bit less to ask of a person. I'm not planning on using it to cite any addition to the article, my purpose here is to just please hear the author of the second half of the article out. His name is Dr. George W. Gill, professor of anthropology at the University of Wyoming and forensic anthropologist for Wyoming law-enforcement agencies and the Wyoming State Crime Laboratory. My purpose is merely to sway you slightly to the belief that not only is what you say about those experts true, but also it's true that there are a significant number of experts who would disagree completely that there is no biological basis for race because it's their job to determine ancestry of skeletons and DNA droplets and such. These experts maintain that race is not merely an outdated socially constructed concept with absolutely no basis in biological reality but one with an undeniable overload of evidence that it absolutely does have a biological basis in reality. Gill gives enough evidence and reason for you to admit, while maintaining your right to disagree with them, there are many experts do hold this 180 degree opposite position. I take your word for it that many experts do say the exact opposite and concede to your expertese without challenge. Please accept this plea to hear Gill out to ONLY AND AT LEAST concede that NOT ALL experts agree with that. Here it is again, it begins with the "no biological basis in reality" position and then Gill gets his say at the very end: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/does-race-exist.html Chrisrus (talk) 20:40, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I have read Gill's polemical piece many times and he is a forensical biologist yes who specializes in courtcases. His research shows that people ith high degrees of African ancestry have slightly different skeletal anatomy than persons with less african ancestry. He claims that this validates race but fails to realize that race is not just about degrees of African ancestry but about local and individual social categorizations based on the phenotypes connection with geographic ancestry. In the US small portions of African ancestry generally correlate with "black" - but that is not unuiversally the case. Basically he is ´making claims about something on which he is no expert - namely race- based on something that he is an expert on namely biological variation based on ancestry. He assumes the two are the same thing in spite of the fact that anthropologists specializing in race have spent the past century showing with abundant evidence that it is not. There are tomes of critiques even in forensic sciences journals of the uncritical acceptance of the concept of race by forensic scientists "because it works". So it is incorrect to assume that because some forensic anthropologists use race or some geneticists determine geographic ancestry genetically those disciplines believe in race a s a biological concept - many do not and still use it. C Loring Brace is also fully able to determine if a skeleton is likely to have African ancestry - he just realizes that that is not information about race- but that information about racial categorization ncan be inferred from information about geographical ancestry. That does not make it a scientifically defensible standpoint nand it certainly doesn't make it the point of view that Wikipedias article on humans should adopt uncritically. And YES I AGREE that not all experts agree on the biology of race - there is still some debate about the degree of relevance of biology about race among experts - especially as it relates to american forensics and medicine. I agree that that is true - but I also know that generally the coin falls on the other side on the debate than is chosen by this article. Furthermore the article has no section on biological variation - which is not the same as race - but is of course important for describing the biology of the human species. It also has no section on the cultural role of ideologies about race and ethnicity for human political and hierarchical organization - which is equally important. Basically by moving the race question to the cultural part of the article and inserting a section that actually explains the relation between biological variation and geographic ancestry we'd have a much better and more accurate article. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:53, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
The text states "As pointed out in a recent 2000 edition of a popular physical anthropology textbook, forensic anthropologists (those who do skeletal identification for law-enforcement agencies) are overwhelmingly in support of the idea of the basic biological reality of human races". So it is not just Gill but many US forensic anthropologists. That anthropologists in other nations have much higher acceptance of race than in the US have been pointed out to you before with sources. As well as scientists in other disciplines like genetics or anatomy being more being more supportive of race. Acadēmica Orientālis (talk) 21:10, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Also, the section is biased, reporting Lewontin's argument but not the criticisms against it: "Human genetic diversity: Lewontin's fallacy" (scientific paper). Acadēmica Orientālis (talk) 21:22, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
If you had read what I wrote you would realize that I am not saying that it is only Gill. As always your claims about "lewontin's fallacy" being given any credence among people who work with race are fallacious. Edwards show that it is possible to infer geographic ancestry from genetic analysis - not that race is a biological concept. Your statements about "anthropologists in other nations" who love race are also getting tedious - yes racism is still academically acceptable in many other countries - that is of no consequence to science. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:33, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
You seem to be arguing that only the views of some US anthropologists are relevant, ignoring other US anthropologists, non-US anthropologists, and scientists in other disciplines. This is obviously incorrect. Regarding "Leowintin's fallacy", see the link. Acadēmica Orientālis (talk) 06:36, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Well perhaps it seems like that to you but I couldn't really careless what you think.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:50, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
The obvious problem with the word "race" is that in the USA, the home of a lot of our editors, it's a word with all sorts of horrible (and a few good) meanings and connotations. Now I'm no fan of political correctness, but I avoid the word whenever I can because of its ambiguity and loaded meanings. In my country, Australia, race is not a major issue (apart from with a small proportion of ignorant, anti-Aboriginal bigots in the population). Our national census asks about ancestry, not race. Ethnicity is a more meaningful and less arguable term too. Can I recommend a move away from race and towards ethnicity and ancestry, as appropriate? HiLo48 (talk) 21:31, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, except for, they are two different things. One is supposedly biological, the other sociological. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 22:40, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
IN any case it needs to be moved outside of the biology section.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:33, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Again, there is no scientific agreement that biological races do not exist (except among some US anthropologists but they are not the only relevant view). Acadēmica Orientālis (talk) 06:39, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Again you lie <rephrasing: write untruths> and misrepresent the much larger global consensus in anthropology and among geneticist to make it seem as if your viewpoint has more support than it does. Your view builds on one study that does not suggest that there is a general support for the idea of race outside of the US or that the US is not representative of the global mainstream. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:50, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Regarding US forensic anthropologists see the article mentioned above in this section. Regarding non-US anthropologists see: [4]. Regarding some views in medicine and genetics see: [5]. Also, please stop the incivility. Academica Orientalis (talk) 13:00, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
I am aware that you are able to cherry pick sources in favor of your viewpoints. However in contrast to you I am also aware of the actual academic debates about these things.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 13:17, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia relies on sources in order to ensure WP:Verifiability and WP:No original research. Not on the unsourced personal opinions and claims of the Wikipedia editors. Academica Orientalis (talk) 13:21, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
You are clearly editing in bad faith here as I have previously presented you with dozens of sources that show that your interpretation of the matter is in the minority. I will of course do so again if asked. But not by you or to you. I will do my very best to ignore your trolling[rephrase: editing] from now on Miradre. You should not be editing these articles - but at least I can act as if you weren't. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 13:26, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
You seem to be the minority view here. Despite this you have removed the NPOV template in the disputed section stating that this should not be done before there is a consensus and as well edited the article according to your own personal unsourced POV and claims without attempting to form a consensus on talk. That is not how Wikipedia operates. Academica Orientalis (talk) 13:32, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
You wouldn't recognize a minority view if it was a yard up your butt. <Rephrasing for courtesy: I don't believe you are capable of adequately identifying what is or isn't a minority view > You are the only one who has argued that the section is unbalanced. Goodbye.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 13:40, 12 April 2012 (UTC)


Calling All Experts:


Chrisrus (talk) 17:30, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Are you calling for all experts, or only for ones that agree with you? Given that you assert that one side of the debate is correct, I have to ask. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:53, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Please join me in calling for the participation of all experts. Please agree that the article must take a NPOV point of view and simply state the facts using wordings such as maybe "On this date, The Association of Major Antropologists released a statement stating one point of view, and this is what it said. Next, this other group replied in this way. Yadda yadda", as good as we can get it. My or your personal points of view or those of any other editor should not come into it. When there is a major debate such as this, there is a proper way of doing it. Let us speak no more of my POV. Chrisrus (talk) 18:07, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, but I have to disagree: you are mistaken in your understanding of Wikipedia's approach to NPOV. We don't necessarily give 'equal time' to all views, but instead represent them according to their acceptance: and the simple fact is that amongst anthropologists (who are of course those best qualified to answer the question) the clear (probably overwhelming) majority say that 'race' is a social construct, rather than a biological 'fact', and as such of little use as an abstract concept: to suggest that there is 'a major debate', with two balanced sides, is simply a misrepresentation of the situation. Or if there is a major debate, where is this debate being argued out? Who are the people arguing that races are "major subspecific or sub-subspecific branches" of Homo sapiens sapiens, and that people should be classified accordingly? Who is even suggesting that there are meaningful 'subspecies' one can put a name to? What are the proposed names of these 'subspecies'? Please provide sources... AndyTheGrump (talk) 14:22, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
  • This is what experts think: The American Anthroopological Association's educational website on race. [6]. The fact that PBS is able to set up the debate as one for and one against doesn't mean that the two sides have equal standing.72.221.123.196 (talk) 13:23, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
  • This is a detailed explanation of why the genetic evidence doesn't support the existence either of subspecies or divergent lineages in Hmo sapiens.Templeton, A. R. The genetic and evolutionary significance of human races. In: Race and Intelligence: Separating Science From Myth. J. M. Fish, ed. Pp. 31-56. Mahwah, New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002.
  • If that is not enough expertise then the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (which includes forensic anthropologists) issued a statement in 1996.[7]. UNESCO (an expert group of anthropologists under UNESCO of course) has issued statements in 1950 and 1978. And even the proponents of certain ways of seeing race as biologically real (for example cladistically ) agree that the dominant view is that objective biological races don't exist. (e.g. here: [8]). So how many more experts do you need? 72.221.123.196 (talk) 13:44, 14 April 2012 (UTC) (By the way this IP is Maunus editing logged out - I am not trying to mislead anyone just bypassing my wikibreak enforcer. Stupidly. Why can't I just leave it alone...)72.221.123.196 (talk) 14:04, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
@Andy, as you know, experts don't use the term "subspecies" for extant varieties of this mammal, but rather "races". If this were a plant, it'd be "varieties", with dogs we say "breeds" or "landraces". @Maunus, this seems to establish that there is, in fact, great disagreement among experts: http://www.anthro.ucsd.edu/~jmoore/courses/anth42web/CartmillRaceConcept1998.pdf. Chrisrus (talk) 15:40, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
And your source for your assertion regarding 'experts' is where? And how does linking an article that describes race unequivocally as a social construct help your case? AndyTheGrump (talk) 15:59, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
By showing that not everyone agrees with him, he establishes it as controversial. My case is only that it's contraversial, that is all. Not that one is right and one is wrong, whereas you seem to be saying that virtually all anthopologists agree it's simply a cultural construct with no basis in biological fact, yet these other experts who agree with you describe, if only to refute, experts who disagree with him/you. Chrisrus (talk) 16:38, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry but that argument is a non-starter. Everybody knows that this is controversial and has been for the past 100 years. That does not mean the two sides are equally supported. They are not - I have shown proponents of race as biology stating that the non-biological view is dominant. And official statements by very large international groups of experts. You can not counter argue with a single paper by a scholar who argues against race but takes not that not everyone agrees. It makes no sense - please address the substance here - don't pull out red herrings. 72.221.123.196 (talk) 19:28, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

(outdent) Firstly, the paper is 14 years old. Secondly, it is referring to past trends regarding the question - it analyzes data going back to the 1960s - and thirdly, it is specifically discussing the opinions of American physical anthropologists - who clearly cannot be taken as representative of anthropology in general. But what is it saying anyway?

"In summary, the role played by racial taxonomy in the study of modern human variation has apparently changed little or not at all over the course of the past 30 years. In the 1990s, as in the 1960s, most researchers studying human variation do not make use of the concept of race in gathering and analyzing their data; however, a consistantly large minority continue to do so."

So all this seems to indicate is what we already know - that the issue has been debated in the past, in one particular subsection of anthropology, in one particular country - and even then "most researchers" didn't consider 'race' as a useful concept. If you wish to claim that there is a controversy now, provide the evidence - and provide evidence that the minority position has significant support now. All the evidence I have seen is that the minority position has less support than ever, even amongst the section amongst the 'experts' who had been its most keen supporters - forensic anthropologists. A recent textbook, Forensic Anthropology: 2000 to 2010 (eds Sue Black & Eilidh Ferguson) [9] states that "we can view modern “races” as epiphenomena" (p. 135), and points out that "there is no clear philosophical consensus of exactly what a “species” is" and asks "...if biologists have significant difficulties defining the basal taxonomic unit [i.e. species], then how can they hope to define a subdivision of that unit, namely, the race?". (p. 121) All indicating the non-utility of the generalised concept of race even to forensic anthropology - where the concept has in the past had most support. Without evidence of a significant controversy now, we have no reason to pretend that there is one, just to provide a 'pseudo-balance'. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:53, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Hammonds/ asserts that there actually is just such disagreement and debate among experts. Chrisrus (talk) 20:06, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
So you aren't going to provide the evidence I asked for: that the minority position has significant support now? Unless you can, this whole discussion is a waste of time. We know that there are still those who claim that 'race' is a valid biological concept. We also know that this is very much the minority view. We aren't going to mislead our readers by claiming that both positions have equal support - and unless you can provide evidence of significant support for the minority position, we have no necessity to discuss this at all. As the article you link makes clear, there are some significant political forces behind this, and there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that this 'controversy' is being exploited by those who wish to legitimise 'race' as a broader concept - for sometimes-questionable objectives. And finally, it must be noted that yet again this is an article discussing the issue from a US perspective. Wikipedia is an international project, and the subject matter here is the whole of humanity, not just that portion of it that is involved in contemporary US political discourse. Far too often, Wikipedia suffers from US-centrism: in this article it would be particularly reprehensible to allow this to happen. Find evidence that this is truly an international debate, and that it is being discussed in a significant way beyond the narrow arena that it appears to be, and maybe we will look again. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:03, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
These seem to be more recent: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.1086/662279?uid=3739832&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=56038021093 and http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/POSC_a_00048
Chrisrus (talk) 22:43, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Are you going to respond to my comments regarding US-centrism in any more helpful way than by posting more links to US journals? AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:52, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Quit "moving the bar" on me. All I am supposed to establish is that there is in fact such a debate, not whether it is limited to the USA, only. It may be, for all I know. As I recall, it was an American association of experts, wasn't it in the first place, who jointly published that there is no scientific basis in biological reality "race". I've never heard of it being questioned until that day. Everyone in Brazil and Mexico and Korea that I've met seems to carry on discourse with reference to the concept as a part of the reality of the world. Has anyone so outside of the USA ever declared that race has no basis in reality but is purely a socio-cultural concept? Chrisrus (talk) 23:54, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
You are claiming there is a debate - it is for you to provide the evidence, and if it is only going on in the US, it is probably not justifiable to include in the article. As for whether race is a 'reality', of course it is, as a social construct. The question is whether it is a biological reality (and BTW, neither Maunus nor I are Americans, both of us have a background in anthropology - Maunus much more so than me of course - and both of us are telling you precisely what you ask). But remember, we aren't asking you to show that there is a debate, we are asking you to show that there is a significant one - and as yet, you don't seem to be providing the evidence for this. AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:14, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I have provided many links to WP:RSes from Google Scholar from both sides of the issue stating that there is in fact, such a debate. Here is another: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/gb-2002-3-7-comment2007.pdf. Hey look at this: that stuff about the races not being tree-of-life claddistic realities? Here on page three they have a very nice cladogram quite like the ones so many other taxon-based articles. The Figure One caption says "The evolutionary tree of human races. Population genetic studies of world populations support the categorization into five major groups, as shown", but to see the text for details. That's the specific kind of biological cladistics that you two said was universally rejected by experts. Chrisrus (talk) 05:26, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
How is it that you cannot understand that you can find single articles to show just about anything. To show that a view is significant you need to secondary and tertiary sources such as review articles, textbooks and encyclopoedias. Yes they make a cladogram - but no they are not representative of their profession of melecular biology of human differences (look e.g. at Relethfords textbook "Human biological variation - he is a recognized expert summarising the field). AAA and AAPA are not just representative of "American" but are the main organizations of anthropologists in the world with members all across the globe. Their publications are the most representative of any kind of mainstream in anthropology. The UNESCO is not an American organization at all. Now, yes there is debate about raace, but debate is not about whether Homo Sapiens have subspecies - the debate is about whether allele frequencies cluster in ways that are best described by continental races. Here there are some scholars saying yes (mostly the ones working with applied sciences - e.g. doctors and forensic anthropologists, and a some molecular biologists) and some that say no (mostly anthropologsits and many molecular biologists). We can and should describe this debate - and the article currently does. But there is no significant debate about whether races can be understood as subspecies anymore. That view is obsolete even among those who believe that racial categories reflect the most significant clusterings of allele frequencies.72.221.123.196 (talk) 12:57, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Is this debate not just about which section 'race' should come under? Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:12, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes, we all know the debate is not about whether to refer to them as "subspecies". Experts haven't done that for a very long time. They are called "races" and the debate is whether they are biological facts or mere cultural constructions. Chrisrus (talk) 13:31, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Could I ask whether everyone agrees that there is some biological aspect to race? Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:36, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
That's a vague question. It depends on what precisely you mean by race, since the word is used to mean various things. My understanding is that it's sometimes used by biologists almost synonymically with subspecies (although not with reference to humans, afaik). Rivertorch (talk) 14:46, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
The WP article starts, 'Race is a classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by heritable phenotypic characteristics, geographic ancestry, physical appearance, and ethnicity' so I guess that is what I mean. According to this definition there is some biological aspect to race. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:15, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Sigh. Nobody denies that there is biological variation that clusters in different ways. What is at question is whether the idea of major continental races is the best way to represent that clustering. By most accounts it isn't, because it is just one - arbitrary - way of describing the clusters of allele frequencies. That is why it is better to have a section generally on biological variation in the human species that mentions the ways in which "race" as a concept is a contested way to describe huyman biological variation (because race is usually not used in a scientific sense but describes social categorizations of people oftne based on arbitrary phenotypical traits that vary between different local classificatino schemes (how much african ancestry makes a person "black"? (answer: "that depends"))). The article does so now - after I moved the part about ethnicity to the culture section.128.148.211.79 (talk) 16:41, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Arbitrary is a wrong description. As noted earlier, forensic anthropologists can with great accuracy determine a person's race from only partial skeletal remains. Similarly, molecular geneticists can determine a person ancestral origin with great accuracy. Like differentiating between Chinese and Japanese. Regarding if race has utility, see the views here: [10][11] Regarding the view of American anthropologists, I note again and refer to the sources given earlier in the section for that non-US anthropologists differ greatly from US anthropologists with many being more supporting of biological races. As well as US forensic anthropologists disagreeing. Yes, the AAA has issued a statement condemning the existence of races but it cited not scientific sources for its claims unlike, say, when climatologists issue a statement on global warming. Academica Orientalis (talk) 17:12, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
It does not seem that you read what I write at all. You keep regurgitating the same arguments over and over presenting sources that do not say anything that I hvae not already said and presented other, better, sources for. The ARTICLE ALREADY STATES THAT MEDICINE AND FORENSICS FIND RACE TO BE A USEFUL CONCEPT!! I WROTE THAT AND PROVIDED CA. 20 SOURCES! That is not the issue. The question is whether it is the most scientifically accurate way to conceptualize human biological variation. The fact that it is usefull does not mean that other conceptualizations might not be just as useful or more so - and that is exactly the argument critics of "racial medicine" keep making - using racial categorizations as if they are objective entities glosses over the ways in which they do not adequately descirbe the phenomena. E.g. sickle cell anemia is not just found among people with African ancestry, but people with ancestry from other places where Malaria has been endemic as well such as southern Europe. Calling it a racial disease leads to underreporting for "white people" who happen to also have the genetic variant. Race is a useful heuristic - but not an accurate description - that is the argument. Now address what I actually write instead of what you believe communists like me are supposed to write and we may actually have a conversation. Read what I wrote in the section and point out what you disagree with or where you think you have a better source saying something else. 128.148.211.79 (talk) 18:05, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I think the greatest problem with current version is the last paragraph which does no take into account the opposing sources I mentioned above. These sources show that many scientists accept races as having a biological reality, although not necessarily in the "subspecies" sense, and are not dropping the word race. Most concepts have somewhat ambiguous borders to other concepts. That does not make the concepts meaningless or inaccurate. See also UNESCO discussion below. Academica Orientalis (talk) 18:32, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
The rest of the sectin very clearly describes the kind of relatin that exists between "races" and genetic variation. The last paragraph makes two statements for which ample sources exist: 1. homo sapiens have no living subspecies, and races whatever they are are not subspecies. 2. most studies of biological variation prefers to use the terms ancestry and population rather than "race" (both because of the connotations of the term and because of the way the fourway classificaiton oversimplifies the complexities of genetic-geographic clusterings). I don't think any of these points are contested or even really contestable (the forensics textbook for example shows this very clearly - and it is a source that considers race to have a biological foundation). I have not been shown a source that states that a sigificant group of scholars continue to use race as the main term to describe human biological variation - we have seen single instances of scholars arguing that it should be used - but all review sources state the opposite that the term is becoming less and less used. the source by Strkalj and by Lieberman that have studied usage also show the decline of the usage of the term - noting that the development is slower outside of the US and Europe. They ascribe it not to scientific differences but to a slower rate of acceptance of new scholarship outside of Western tradition.128.148.211.79 (talk) 19:00, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but when the AAA did that it was a very significant event that can't be ignored by us. Which we don't do, we address it, but when it's not phrased as a description of a debate, the section simply seems to assert that two opposite things are both true and as a result it's incoherent. Chrisrus (talk) 17:17, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Agree that we should describe the debate more fairly and neutrally, Furthermore, the current section gives great weight to the views of several UNESCO statements. First, the 1950 statement was heavily criticized and a 1951 revision issued that among other dropped the rejection of the word race: [12]. The current text is misleading by only mentioning the 1950 version and not the 1951 one. Unlike the 1950 and 1951 statements the 1978 statement was primarily drafted by human rights experts and not by experts on human biology.As such it is primarily a political statement rather than a scientific ones as can also be seen in its lack of scientific sources. [13] Academica Orientalis (talk) 17:38, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Refresh my memory please. Which source analyzes the UNESCO statements? You refer to honesthinking.org? How is that a reliable source? To me it looks like an anti-immigration pro-racialism blog.128.148.211.79 (talk) 18:45, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Same test here from UNESCO. See the 1951 statement: [14]. Academica Orientalis (talk) 18:57, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
That is the text of the statements. Of course making a claim about the statements validity or scientific foundations requires a good secondary source and not OR.128.148.211.79 (talk) 19:02, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
No double standard please. You are citing the 1950 statement. I am citing the 1951 statement including a preamble which explains why the 1950 statement was revised. Academica Orientalis (talk) 19:06, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
If you want to read an actual analysis of the relation between the statements try this: [15].72.221.123.196 (talk) 20:25, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I trust you have a very solid source supporting your evaluation of the three UNESCO statements. And that you will present it. Also note that the survey you keep referring to has been characterized as useless because it does not ask what kind of biological entity race is supposed to be... I might for example agree if the question is whether there are identifiable clusterings of physical traits that correlate with geographic ancestry (which would mean that being icelandic or maori is a race). But I wouldn't agree if the idea was that this implies that races are separate evolutionary lineages or subspecies. 128.148.211.79 (talk) 18:09, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Sources given except possible for the claim that the 1978 statement was a political one. It was however drafted by human rights experts, not experts on human biology, and lacks scientific sourcing as my source shows. If you referring the survey on non-US anthropologists views on race it clearly shows that they differ markedly from those of US anthropologists in many nations.Academica Orientalis (talk) 18:27, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

So is there a consensus that the section now called 'Biological variation and race' can stay where it is, saying nothing about whether we should revise the title and content. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:01, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

At the moment, I don't see that there is a consensus for that, given the clear majority view amongst those best qualified to comment - anthropologists - is that 'racial' categorisation has little to do with biology. One again, I ask for evidence that there is any significant 'controversy' over the question at present. If there isn't, we have no reason to discuss any supposed relationship between race and biology at all. AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:43, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Why should American anthropologists be more qualified than, say, geneticists or non-US anthropologists? Sources have already been given above for widely different view among non-US anthropologists and other scientists. Academica Orientalis (talk) 19:01, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
What? Where have I suggested that American anthropologists are more qualified than others? Anyway, are you going to provide evidence that there is a significant ongoing controversy? If one cannot be found, there is no reason to pretend there is, just to suit the objectives of a POV-pushing fringe. AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:05, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Already done but I can do it again: Many US forensic anthropologists argue that biological races exist: [16] Many non-US anthropologists argue the same: [17]. Here is an article regarding recent discussions of race in medicine and genetics showing the diversity of views: [18]. Academica Orientalis (talk) 19:09, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
George W Gill is not "many Us forensic anthropologists" - and I have already explained above that what they argue is that race exists as a useful heuristic which has also been shown by reference to a US textbook in forensic anthropology. The Lieberman study clearly argues that lack of rejection of race is a sign of heistancy to revise conceptualizations based on newer knowledge, not of differing scientific conclusions. You selectively present its conclusions. Again AAA does not only represent American scholars - but is the umbrella organization of anthropology in the world. Also geneticists are not generally in favor of reducing genetic variation to continental clusters as Templetion and Graves, Collins and many other molecular biologists have argued at length.~~ 19:24, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
IDINDNTHEARTHAT. As already pointed out to you before and which you ignore, the source states: "As pointed out in a recent 2000 edition of a popular physical anthropology textbook, forensic anthropologists (those who do skeletal identification for law-enforcement agencies) are overwhelmingly in support of the idea of the basic biological reality of human races" The Lieberman study clearly shows differing opinions regarding race. Liberman's personal interpretation of the causes of these differences his own hypothesis that does not change that differences exist. The AAA is obviously dominated by American anthropologists. It it not the international anthropological association. Regarding genetics, see the source which gives many different views from different scientists.Academica Orientalis (talk) 19:35, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
So yet again, the same old sources, and no evidence of any significant ongoing controversy. If the AAA is"obviously dominated by American anthropologists", what about the [[European Association of Social Anthropologists]? Can you provide a source suggesting that there is an ongoing debate there? Or indeed, can you provide a source that says that such debate is taking place anywhere? Unless you do, we have to assume that there isn't. AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:52, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
The source already given states that Europe differ from the US with lower rejections of race than in the US. Not sure why you are ignoring the sources already given? The article about genetics and medicine clearly shows an ongoing debate between different sides. Academica Orientalis (talk) 19:59, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
But as we have documented that debate is not about what you claim it to be about.~~(talk) 20:09, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
"The source already given states that Europe differ from the US with lower rejections of race than in the US" So what? The source doesn't state that there is any significant ongoing controversy. You have utterly failed to provide evidence for any controversy outside the US. On this basis, we can only assume there isn't one. End of story. AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:11, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
That is an unclear argument. The sources shows that there is lack of worldwide agreement among anthropologists and thus there is controversy. There may not be much discussion in Russia and China regarding race if everyone there thinks that races exist as Liberman's study indicates. This obviously does not mean that the issue if definitely settled. Academica Orientalis (talk) 20:27, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Nonsense. Provide sources which actually state that there is significant controversy, or stop wasting our time. AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:33, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Sources already given showing large-scale controversy among anthropologist and non-anthropologists. But I agree we now seem to be wasting time and going around in circles which is obviously not constructive so I will not continue unless significant new arguments are introduced. I have given my views and arguments with sources above. I hope other editors will add their views. Academica Orientalis (talk) 20:43, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
The sources you have provided show a clear worldwide trend towards rejection of race as a biological category with some areas being slower to adopt the trend than others. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:32, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Andy, are you saying that race has nothing to do with biology? Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:14, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
What I say is beside the point: the sources clearly indicate that the overwhelming consensus amongst anthropologists is that 'race' plays no useful role in 'classifying' human beings. It is a social construct which attempts (and fails) to subdivide a diverse population into a limited (but poorly-defined) subsets, in spite of the evidence which demonstrates that such arbitrary divisions have no basis in biological fact. It may be 'useful' to forensic anthropologists (who seem to be well-represented amongst the few making use such 'divisions') on occasion, but even then, many do not find it useful: and as I've already pointed out, a recent forensic anthropology textbook makes clear the flaws in such arbitrary classifications. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:35, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Repeating the same thing over and over does not change that sources show that many non-US anthropologists disagree with you. As do scientists from other areas. Oh, I will quote from another recent forensic anthropology textbook in order to add something new to the debate: "Moreover, such ancestral information is undeniably helpful in the search for an identity. Therefore, to react to the term race (or ancestry) as a vampire to sunlight is counterproductive... ...when allele frequencies were clustered into five groups,the resultant groups corresponded to the world’s major geographic regions: Africa, Eurasia (Europe and West, Central, and South Asia), East Asia, Oceania, and the Americas (see also King and Motulsky, 2002). Moreover, there was excellent agreement between individuals’ membership in the clusters and their self-reported regions of ancestry." (FUNDAMENTALS OF FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY, LINDA L. KLEPINGER, 2006, John Wiley & Sons, p. 65).Academica Orientalis (talk) 00:54, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
How does citing another book from an American forensic anthropologist constitute evidence for what non-US anthropologists think? It doesn't. If you are going to claim that there is a significant controversy elsewhere, you have to provide a source that says so explicitly. Put up, or shut up... AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:19, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
IDINDNTHEARTHAT. Source for non-US anthropologists views have already been given earlier several times as you well know. I will quote another interesting study (my bolding): "Subjects identified themselves as belonging to one of four major racial/ethnic groups (white, African American, East Asian, and Hispanic) and were recruited from 15 different geographic locales within the United States and Taiwan. Genetic cluster analysis of the microsatellite markers produced four major clusters, which showed near-perfect correspondence with the four self-reported race/ethnicity categories. Of 3,636 subjects of varying race/ethnicity, only 5 (0.14%) showed genetic cluster membership different from their self-identified race/ethnicity . On the other hand, we detected only modest genetic differentiation between different current geographic locales within each race/ethnicity group. Thus, ancient geographic ancestry, which is highly correlated with self-identified race/ethnicity—as opposed to current residence—is the major determinant of genetic structure in the U.S. population."[19]
No, you have not provided a source which explicitly states that there is an ongoing controversy amongst non-US anthropologists. You are engaging in synthesis to concoct one. If you persist in doing this, I may consider raising the matter at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Enforcement. Put up, or shut up... AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:35, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately content disputes are not resolved there. I have never claimed that the last two sources are about non-US anthropologists. The last two sources show that some US forensic anthropologist and geneticists argue that race exists. Academica Orientalis (talk) 01:42, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The last source shows nothing of the sort. Your claim is highly questionable. —ArtifexMayhem (talk) 01:51, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

I think the quote speaks for itself. Here are some more views from geneticists showing the ongoing debate: [20] Academica Orientalis (talk) 01:59, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
  • "Phenotypic traits have been used for centuries for the purpose of racial classification. Developments in quantitative population genetics have allowed global comparison of patterns of phenotypic variation with patterns of variation in classical genetic markers and DNA markers. Human skin color shows a high degree of variation among geographic regions, typical of traits that show extensive natural selection. Even given this high level of geographic differentiation, skin color variation is clinal and is not well described by discrete racial categories. Craniometric traits show a level of among-region differentiation comparable to genetic markers, with high levels of variation within populations as well as a correlation between phenotypic and geographic distance. Craniometric variation is geographically structured, allowing high levels of classification accuracy when comparing crania from different parts of the world. Nonetheless, the boundaries in global variation are not abrupt and do not fit a strict view of the race concept; the number of races and the cutoffs used to define them are arbitrary. The race concept is at best a crude first-order approximation to the geographically structured phenotypic variation in the human species." Race and Global Patterns of Phenotypic Variation. John H. Relethford. Am J Phys Anthropol 139:16–22, 2009. (Review Article 2009 by population geneticist John H. Relethford - this entire issue is dedicated to the state of the art regarding Race and biology. This one is particularly interesting as well: Understanding race and human variation: Why forensic anthropologists are good at identifying race (68–76)

Stephen Ousley, Richard Jantz and Donna Freid)·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:00, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

  • 1. Not talking about a single trait such as skin color but possible millions of genes that vary together systematically in clusters. 2. True, populations from geographically close ancestral origins have only gradual variations between them. The same do not necessarily apply to populations from geographically widely separated ancestral origins such as the populations in the US which were taken from widely geographically separated ancestral origins. Which explains why geneticists have so few errors when classifying DNA from US populations. The DNA from different persons can easily be classified into very distinct groups depending on geographic ancestral origin. Again, "ancient geographic ancestry, which is highly correlated with self-identified race/ethnicity—as opposed to current residence—is the major determinant of genetic structure in the U.S. population"[21] Academica Orientalis (talk) 02:26, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't disagree with that, but the keyword is "in the US population". Race is important in the US (both genetically and socially) because of its particular colonial history that has brought people from the four different continents together in large amounts. Nobody contests that. The issue is that race is useful becaus eof that particular history - not because of any particular scientific validity of the particular grouping - if the US had been settled by mostly Sami and Maori then the "major races" would be very different. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:33, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
That is true. Rather distinct US clusters/races are not evidence for that this is a global pattern or that the US clusters/races correspond to any distinct global races. On the other hand, this is not an argument for that geographically separated populations cannot differ markedly on traits on average. Japanese and Bushmen, two geographically widely separated populations, may differ markedly on average on many traits, including possibly also psychological. Academica Orientalis (talk) 02:46, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm not taking that bait. That is not an issue for this article.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:59, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
"Japanese and Bushmen, two geographically widely separated populations, may differ markedly on average on many traits, including possibly also psychological". True, they may, but you cite no evidence (as usual) that they do. And even if they do, it is utterly irrelevant to a discussion on whether there is an ongoing debate about the scientific validity of 'race', since this doesn't merely look at 'geographical separation', but tries (and fails) to create a system of categorisation from a continuously-varying sample. And why do differences in 'psychological traits' have to have a biological basis anyway? There is no evidence whatsoever that mainstream science thinks that there is any correlation between 'psychological traits' and 'race' - though a number of dubious fringe pressure groups would like to pretend otherwise. Politically-motivated (and almost entirely US-based) pressure groups shouldn't be determining Wikipedia article content. AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:10, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Pardon me, but if I may: Hello experts I hope you are enjoying your debate. Please do remember the matter at hand, however. The article in the future should not talk about race as a biological reality for several paragraphs while in another part simultaniously stating that race is a mere culturally contructed illusion with no basis in biological fact. It's incoherent. What do you think of this reader's suggestion that we (well, you, if you would) state things in terms of a NPOV description of the debate? Perhaps chronological? And some kind of transitional adverbial would help: "on the other hand" or "however", followed by a summary of the fact about what the antropology association said. Thanks again for your kind attention to this matter and I'll leave you to it. Chrisrus (talk) 03:59, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Well, as I have showd for most scientists those two claims are not contradictory. Race as a classification is a social construct because it arbitrarily chooses to classify based on certain phenotypical traits and not others - that choice is a result of a colonial history in which people of one color traveled out to "meet" people of another culture and bring populatoins that used to be gradually distributed phenotypes together in a big "melting pot". Phenotypes are of course a biological phenomenon - but they are not race. Race is a system that classifies phenotypes along arbitrary lines and usually also attaches social value to them. That is why race is simultaneously "a biological phenomenon" and "a social construction". Any textbook on race will tell you this.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:21, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
What debate? Nobody has provided any evidence that there is a significant debate at all, beyond the narrow confines of the US - and even there, much of the 'debate' seems to be driven by fringe pressure groups, rather than by a real academic disagreement. By and large, anthropology isn't interested in arguing over the validity of 'race' as a biological system for classification, because it is basically useless as soon as one starts trying to use it in a meaningful way, outside of situations where it is actually being used as a 'scientific legitimisation' for a social construct - or more often, abused as such. As with all academic fields, anthropology can become a hotbed of contested issues, and outright hostility - but it isn't contesting this one. If some people from the anthropological community think that 'race' is a useful concept as a biological concept (which is what we are discussing here), they don't seem to be arguing the point - or if they are, nobody seems to taking a great deal of notice. If there was a 'controversy' over the issue, there would be evidence. No evidence has been provided... AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:23, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I have provided you with many such links aleady, but you don't seem to look at them because just for a start you speak as if you don't know what about what Gill said about the clines, for example. They are easy to find. Simply putting "debate", "biological" and "race" into the Google Scholor search engine gives you several. Chrisrus (talk) 05:31, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
"debate", "biological" and "race" gives me about 245,000 Google Scolar hits - but "no" "debate", "biological" and "race" gives 253,000. Please see Google result counts are a meaningless metric here [http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jonathan.deboynepollard/FGA/google-result-counts-are-a-meaningless-metric.html. And as for what Gill said about clines, I know what he said. Though I'm not sure what you mean by 'the clines' - which makes me wonder if you understand Gill. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:42, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
So were you able to find any papers that seem to state that there is such a debate? Chrisrus (talk) 06:15, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Were you? If you want Wikipedia to include content, find sources. Not meaningless results from Google. Sources... AndyTheGrump (talk) 06:48, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Of course. Scroll up please, we've been through this before. I have provided you with several that say there is a debate on both sides of the issue. Then you said they were too old, so I got you a new one? Remember? Scroll up, please.
Andy, the section is called, 'Biological variation and race'. Now, 'Biological variation' must by definition come under biology and your concerns over the social basis of race can surely be addressed in the text. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:17, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Wikibreak
  • Does anyone know how I can stopt my wikibreak enforced from working. It really serves no purpose now...~~ 18:08, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry I cannot help you but there are probably better places to ask that question. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:13, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
It would also be more helpful if you placed your comments here rather than left them as edit summaries. In what way have I (or is it someone else) misunderstood you? Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:16, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
That was to Miradre who routinely bypasses arguments made and regresses to IDINDNTHEARTHAT and repetition.~~ 18:45, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Who is Miradre? Martin Hogbin (talk) 20:31, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
My former username. Not sure why some keep using it. Academica Orientalis (talk) 20:43, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
because it is ca. ten characters shorter than the present one and requires no special characters.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:28, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Who coined Homo sapiens sapiens?

Linnaeus obviously named Homo sapiens, but Homo sapiens sapiens is a much later invention, so who named this sub-species? FunkMonk (talk) 19:06, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

The trinomial apparently goes back to the debate on whether the Neandertals were a separate species, Homo neanderthalensis, or a sub-species, H. sapiens neanderthalensis, which leads to H. sapiens sapiens to distinguish us from the Neandertals. Even on sites that give the naming authority for most species, including Linnaeus for H. sapiens, no naming authority is listed for H. sapiens neandethalensis or H. sapiens sapiens. I would say that there is a possibility that no naming authority for the trinomials is generally recognized. -- Donald Albury 01:23, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
But whoever made the combination first should be the author, right? It didn't manifest by itself, but I guess it's an obscure case. FunkMonk (talk) 01:38, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Declaring Neanderthals a subspecies of Homo sapiens meant that the standard Homo sapiens was also a subspecies, which received the Homo sapiens sapiens designation by convention. As to who did this it isn't usually noted because subspecies aren't really looked at as being named, they are looked at as a sort of "denaming" a supposed species. --Khajidha (talk) 21:22, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Replacement of anatomy image

Painfully long Section that got racial after a while. Let's continue any further "too White" debate in the new Section below.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
Previous image
New image

I suggest that the anatomy image shown in the biology-section should be replaced with a new one. Everyone is welcome to participate in the discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Anatomy#Replacement of human anatomy image. Mikael Häggström (talk) 03:40, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Support: This image is clearer. In particular, it gets rid of the camera angle distortion on the female human. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 01:04, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

They're all awfully white! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 121.54.41.121 (talk) 16:07, 6 November 2011 (UTC) Having an entire article on humans with almost nothing but whites would be unacceptable; having a few pictures of white people among many others is acceptable. --152.65.39.146 (talk) 21:29, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Can you give any legitimate reason why we should go out of our way to find pictures of different races? Or are you just trying to purposelessly be politically correct? Not done because there is no reason.--174.49.47.34 (talk) 17:00, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

I can. That's what we would do for any plant or animal with several main varieties. Think of it as a report from Dr. Phlox to the Denobulans or some such. They're going to want to know about the basic types of this animal and want to see an example of each. It's not all that different from this picture: It has nothing to do with political correctness.
Chrisrus (talk) 18:09, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
No. If he wanted to show us all varieties, he woud just do it. Choosing one white female and one Asian male helps nothing, it only confuses people. It looks like the 2 belonged together. --Kmaga (talk) 23:37, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
I was talking about the picture of the different races, here:
. I don't know why the artist chose a white and an Asian were chosen for that picture, but maybe it's because those are the two most common varieties of this animal. What would you prefer, that they both be Asian? We have an Asian couple in the infobox. Maybe it was just the two models he had available and didn't think it mattered. You can't show "all varieties" when the picture has to be of two individuals. Chrisrus (talk) 01:28, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
But the prupose of the image isn't to show all varieties and races, its purpose is to describe the human anatomy. Both sexes must be of the same race in order not to create confusion. --Kmaga (talk) 11:24, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I'd thought you were talking about the composite picture of all the different races. About the anatomy picture, what "confusion" does having them be two different races cause? Chrisrus (talk) 16:23, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
This picture is an improvement but I agree with Chrisrus and others questioning whether these pictures of a white 'couple' are close to the ideal. In an article on anatomy, there is no need to be restricted to pictures of a couple (a social concept); given that the aim is to improve accuracy, an image where pubic hair is not shown and the woman is standing with a slightly odd posture are also shortcomings since these are not typical of the human anatomy; the fact that they both appear white is particularly inaccurate when the image is to be used (as suggested) in an article about human evolution. In this case, the idea of excessive political correctness appears to have been used (as it often is) to defeat valid points rather than invalid ones.
There are several possible solutions, none ideal but all improvements. First, choose different races and body types for the two sexes and label them so as to make it clear that there is variation (eg "Older Caucasian male", "Small body type, African female"). Second, use an outline/sketch rather than a photograph of models to convey the idea that these are generalities. Third, show three variations of both male and female and label them to emphasize the variety of shapes of the human body.--174.7.25.37 (talk) 19:04, 6 January 2012 (UTC)


I suggest that for the Anatomy image, we find a picture of a man with a bigger penis. 108.9.107.14 (talk) 05:11, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

The new picture, the one on the right has the female human standing unsymmetrically, leaning to the side. It is awkward and needs replacing.Dogru144 (talk) 05:50, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
I completely agree, not only does the guy have penis problem + but the 2 figures are extremely anorexic aswell. Someone may also be partially motivated to promote exaggerated stereotypes. The picture before with moderate figure had been used for long time and is good representation of average human figure.WarriorsPride6565 (talk (talk • contribs) 5:09, 12 march (UTC)
100 percent dont see any racial discrimination or malaise intent at all. The image is better in quality and presentation - who care what race they are. Both images of the females are not perfect one is to fat the other to skinny - but the new image is a better angle and overall is easier to see. Moxy (talk) 21:22, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
What Moxy said. Oh and who cares about the penis size, that is just an odd thing to complain about. Dbrodbeck (talk) 21:34, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Just because you don't see someone showing racial discrimination doesn't mean someone ain't intentionally using "biasness" to promote racial discrimination. And to begin with the picture of the Asian guy and blonde women is skinny as hell with no body mass whatsoever. SO WHY WOULD SOMEONE REPLACE MODERATE FIGURES WITH ANOREXIC FIGURES? There was an similar incident before, someone in the Australian aborigine wiki page decided to used the most ape looking australian aborigine to promote the stereotypes Australian aborigines look like apes which created quite an stir among some wiki users. Even though the person says there is no racism, he chose the most ape looking Australian aborigines... this is what I called "BIAS RACISM". WarriorsPride6565 (talk (talk • contribs) 5:37, 12 march (UTC)

So, you are accusing Moxy and I of being racists then? Your most recent edit summary seems to say this. If you want to 'report this page' as your edit summary says, I suggest you do this. Take me to ANI and call me a racist then. I just think it is a clearer picture with poses that match. Dbrodbeck (talk) 21:58, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

How can I accuse you or moxy being racist? the best I could say you're more bias than racist, I have no evidence to call you racism. BUT anyone can be intentionally racist without showing it. As for you claiming the new picture is clearer? is too heavily bright to be honest so I don't know how it's good quality, the old picture shows an medium color just like their figures should be. WarriorsPride6565 (talk (talk • contribs) 6:14, 12 march (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.175.118.39 (talk)
I don't know that anyone's being intentionally racist or stereotyping, but that male nude Asian illustration is offensive. He might as well be named "Shorty". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:04, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Give me a break. I haven't weighed in on this before, mostly because I think either image is acceptable and neither is optimal, but this has become profoundly silly. Based on my own—cough—personal experience with penises, Asian and otherwise, the one at issue here looks to be within a standard deviation or so of the mean. In fact, allowing for the apparent difference in angle, I don't think that there's necessarily much difference in size between this one and the one in the alternate image. If anyone seriously believes there is any question of actual abnormality (i.e., unfitness for the article), he or she might consider leaving a note at WikiProject Medicine and see if anyone there might care to weigh in. Otherwise, it's quite subjective, and discussing it borders on the inane. (I include my own comments in that assessment, of course.)

Both images could use some judicious tweaking for color and contrast, but the alternate one has lighting problems on the woman that cannot be corrected adequately at this stage. As for the issue of race and the question of bias, I do sort of see where WarriorsPride6565 is coming from, and that's a discussion it should be possible to have somewhere on-wiki if the various participants will be thoughtful and patient with one another. Of course, there's no excuse whatseoever for edit warring. Rivertorch (talk) 07:18, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

It seems to me WarriorsPride6565 is the one being offensive here. There's zero evidence presented that the model has a 'penis problem'. He really shouldn't be suggesting a living person has a penis problem based solely on one photograph, I would go far as to say it's not his place to comment on whether someone has a penis problem unless he's a doctor who has personally seen and diagnosed such a problem and received permission from his patient. It's also unclear to me that the penis is erect as has been suggested. It may look that way in the image but it may also be simple an illusion from the angle. Our own penis size article suggests the average size of the flaccid length may be around 8.9cm, so really it doesn't seem that the penis is that much below average. Nil Einne (talk) 09:38, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
BTW if you check out the centralised discussion there's some decent discussion of the image. The issue of penis size was not raised there before WarriorsPride6565. Note that according to their user page, the photographer is a medical student. Nil Einne (talk) 10:27, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Then they're not paying attention. Maybe someone should put the two male images side by side, along with the caption, "Why the Allies won the War." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:25, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
The two images have been sitting side-by-side above for a while now, and it never occurred to me to compare the size of the men's penises. I still prefer the newer version. -- Donald Albury 12:08, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
And now we've crossed the border into truly inane territory. This is helping the discussion how? Rivertorch (talk) 19:29, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Hoping that the lightbulb will go on for some of you, and that you'll see how racially offensive that image is. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:18, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
From where I stand both WarriorsPride6565's comments in particular, but also yours, have been what's racially offensive in all this. Nil Einne (talk) 06:57, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Why? For pointing out the obvious? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 09:26, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
For trying to use an image of an individual to justify a racial stereotype. -- Donald Albury 11:30, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
You've got it backwards. The first rule is "try not to make wikipedia looks stupid". That illustration makes wikipedia look stupid, especially compared with the previous illustration. In y'all's good-faith desire to have multiple races in the article, you've managed to create a racist-appearing joke. That doesn't make you racist. But it makes wikipedia look racist. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:36, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Which further demonstrates the problem with your comments. It's clear from this and the centralised discussion that a desire for having multiple races was only a small factor, if a factor at all in the preference of this photo over the other one for most participants. The photographer has now also clarified that the race of the subject was just a coincidence. In other words, the 'good-faith desire to have multiple races in the article' never really came in to it. Nil Einne (talk) 20:53, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
In your case, for making offensive racist comments (like the Allies thing), for continually making claims without evidence (so far no evidence has been presented that the penis is significantly below average without even bringing race in to it), for making derogatory comments about living people without any real evidence (see earlier). (I've already discussed WarriorsPride6565 here and elsewhere.) Nil Einne (talk) 20:47, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Your blindness to the obvious, and how stupid this makes wikipedia look, is your own problem. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:12, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
As a brief follow up, I had a quick look at the study linked above and the flaccid length given in the study was 8.85cm +/- 2.38 for 1 SD, so the penile length would need to be shorter then 6.47cm to be below one standard deviation of the average determined from that study. (The measurements were performed from pubo-penile skin to meatus as is fairly standard.) I don't see how you can draw any conclusion it's below 6.47cm from that single photo. (And in the study they say they consider anything within 2 SD of the mean or 4 cm flaccid to be within the normal range anyway.) Really I still have no idea why people here are so concerned about flaccid length. As the article I linked to notes, as does the study, flaccid length is a fairly poor indicator of erect length and (WP:OR) most men care a lot more about the later. Finally while I resisted saying this before, since others can't seem to resist making offensive comments I guess there's no reason to hold back. I've been wondering since I first became aware of this discussion if part of the problem is some people are getting their ideas of average penis size from pornography. If this is the case, unfortunately I have to say that it's generally accepted this is a rather misleading indicator. And yes, if you have distorted views of average penis size, that's your problem not wikipedias or anyone elses. Nil Einne (talk) 01:09, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

As the initiator of this discussion, I'm sorry if my absence from it until now may have caused some confusion, but I can ensure that there was no bias towards choosing an Asian person. The only male model who fitted the ad simply happened to be Asian. Also, I see no reason to suspect any dysmorphology. However, I do agree that the image is a bit too bright. And indeed, I can recall that the photographer intentionally made the originals a bit too bright, because it's easier when digitally retouching them, but in this case I considered the non-retouched ones to be preferable. I made a minor gamma correction of the image to make it look a bit darker, and I think it looks more like in reality now. Mikael Häggström (talk) 19:08, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Yes, that's better. Thanks! Rivertorch (talk) 05:37, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

I suggest that we archive this section now, because there's a substantial risk that future additions come from people who notice some particular flaw on the bodies in the current picture and use this section to complain about it, which was not the intention of this discussion. The current picture is not perfect, but neither was the previous one, and by just looking at the bodies there's a risk of missing improvements such as the higher resolution, more detailed data on model heights and weights, written consent from the models about usage in Wikipedia etc. Future comments can still be made in new sections, and will probably be even easier in the absence of having to scroll through this section first. Mikael Häggström (talk) 05:27, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

I object to the closing suggestion at the bottom of this section. Obviously, the discussion is quite active, with many participants. Also, back to the shadow and angle question, the pictures at left are more interesting and more practical for the reason that they can be seen with shadows. This is owing to the side angle composition of the shot. The straight ahead posture of the characters at the right is definitely most dull. Additionally, the color is VERY washed out. I don't think all commenters were commenting on race when they recognized that the models are quite white (washed out). Ditch the photos at the right, return to the ones on the left.Dogru144 (talk) 08:42, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

There are shadows in the new picture as well but they are less pronounced, thereby creating less distortion to the anatomical visualization, and the representation of the symmetry of the human body is partially lost when taken in side angle. Also, I think the newer image is still more colorful than the previous image, so we still need to replace it with a completely new image instead of reverting if we want to improve the situation. Mikael Häggström (talk) 05:53, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

No body hair

This is ridiculous that the figures lack body hair. Hairless privates biases the picture to a current cultural trend among westernized peoples. There is hair there for a reason. And caption on latest picture says that scalpal hair has been trimmed. That is only apparent on the male.Dogru144 (talk) 08:51, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Since both the earlier version and the current version shown at the top of this section show people with body hair removed, you are arguing against both versions. You need to nominate another image set to illustrate human anatomy if you want the images to include body hair. Then, the issue is, do you want to see images of people with completely untrimmed hair (full beard on the male, etc.)? Or will you settle for some intermediate condition of hair removal? As for the removal of pubic hair being a cultural trend among westernized people, are you aware of the Sunan al-Fitra? -- Donald Albury 09:19, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Dogru, I understand your points and think that they are reasonable. I pointed the lack of body hair out some time ago. On the other hand there are good reasons that things are how they are. I was the one who added the captions to the image and this was generally accepted as a good solution, we should at least tell our readers that the images show humans with hair altered or removed. If you think there are errors in the captions then these should be corrected.
One suggestion I have as a way forward is to show additional picture(s) of humans with completely untrimmed hair. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:08, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Citing Fitra kind of supports my point: hair generally is to be left be. It's not an outright deformity. Unpleasantries such as hair that is excessive can go. But back to the point: hair trimming under 40 Westerners in the world are a minority compared to the global population at large. I'd wager that most adults in the world have their private hair untrimmed. If we are going to have human specimens we should have them look like most look.Dogru144 (talk) 05:23, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
That they appear under 40 seems quite beside the point. I think you make a valid point about body hair, though. It's a bit analogous to depicting a trimmed poodle to illustrate canine anatomy—it's not typical across the board for humans to be shaved like that. Nonetheless, unless an image of equal quality using unshaved subjects becomes available, it will have to suffice. Rivertorch (talk) 05:53, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
We should look for some images of humans with completely untrimmed hair. We already have, for good reasons, images with hair trimmed or removed. If we also show some with completely untrimmed hair we can simply point out that many cultures have different styles for the modification of human hair and refer our readers to the appropriate articles, such as hairstyle and beard. This makes for a completely neutral article. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:32, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
We should probably also have comments a link to body modification this then covers all the angles in this area. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:36, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
So the next step is for someone to find or offer one or more images for consideration. I don't see the current image being removed unless and until an image is available that a consensus here agrees is better. -- Donald Albury 13:42, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but I am not suggesting replacing the current image but adding some just to show what completely unmodified hair looks like. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:54, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
Is completely unmodified hair really optimal? It seems sort of undue-ish. Rivertorch (talk) 05:01, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I think we should show what humans look like with no modifications. I am suggesting just one more image to show what unclothed, unmodified, humans look like. It need not be especially prominent It is actually something that most people do not know; how long does your hair grow if you just leave it? What is the objection?
The advantage, as I say below, is that we can then separate the ethnic and biological from the cultural, thus defusing some of the discussions like this one. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:11, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
I understand what you're saying, I think it's reasonable, and my objection (already given above) is a mild one. To expand on it a bit, I'll just say that humans with untrimmed, visible body hair aren't something that very many people are likely to encounter. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's pretty much true globally. So it sets up a situation in the article where this article, which provides a general overview of a species, depicts something that's extremely rare among the species. That strikes me as undue weight. Not a big deal, perhaps, but there you have it. Rivertorch (talk) 18:22, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
It is the same reason that we show some humans with no clothes on, even though they are hardly ever seen that way. The best images, in my opinion, would be the anatomical images with all hair removed to show details obscured by hair, including the shape of the skull, and some images with hair completely untouched, to show how it grow naturally if left. Everything else is culture. Unfortunately such image sets may be hard to find. Martin Hogbin (talk) 20:36, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
Umm, no. Humans with no clothes on are seen quite frequently in certain settings in most cultures. There's a world of difference between naked humans and naked humans who've never had haircuts. Rivertorch (talk) 23:02, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
Some classic recentism on display here. Humans have been around for what, 2 million years. For 99.9999% of that time there was very limited cutting of hair and facial shaving in men, and no removal of hair from other body areas. That's all very recent fashion, especially the removal of pubic hair. For most of that time too clothing was minimal and only designed for protection from the elements and environment. The article is called Human, meaning the whole story of humans, not just Young humans in first ten years of 21st century. HiLo48 (talk) 23:29, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
All nonsense - for centuries in anatomy we go out of our way to remove hair so parts of the body can be seen better. Best to ask experts then make random guesses ................ Pls read a book and note how hair is not there so we can see..........Moxy (talk) 23:57, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
Gerhard Wolf-Heidegger; Petra Köpf-Maier (28 September 2006). The Color Atlas of Human Anatomy. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. ISBN 978-1-4027-4200-2. 
Saladin, Kenneth. Human Anatomy' 2007 Ed.2007. Rex Bookstore, Inc. ISBN 978-0-07-125971-2. 
OK, change my figure to 99.9% of human history, and it covers enough centuries to keep you happy. HiLo48 (talk) 00:32, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry I guess I sounded mean... What i was trying to say is that in anatomy we remove hair a seen at Vitruvian Man ca.1487. Removal of hair is the norm for anatomy since the beginning of the topic as it is in this article.Moxy (talk) 01:00, 7 April 2012 (UTC)


(@HiLo48) While it is well to guard against recentism, and your point that the article is about ancient as well as modern humans is well taken, certain limitations of technology preclude the introduction of photographic illustrations depicting humans outside that pesky one-ten-thousandth of a percent (except for certain images that won't do the trick, of course). Rivertorch (talk) (one of the 0.0001%) 05:42, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

My intention was to try and avoid exactly this kind of argument by showing humans in two different culturally neutral ways: with all hair removed to show the bits that hair covers, and with no hair modification at all to show how hair grows if it is left untouched. All other forms of hair treatment are cultural and fall between those two cases. These can then be treated under culture along with other ways that culture causes humans to modify their appearance. Martin Hogbin (talk)

The main problem I see in the image is that the sexual dimorphism isn't pronounced enough (too small breasts and penis), and therefore not representative. FunkMonk (talk) 01:00, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for noticing this issue. Indeed, it's another thing that should be considered when finding a new picture. Mikael Häggström (talk) 09:09, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Male and female anatomy
Until we find such a picture, it might be worth considering having the image that is currently displayed in sex differences in humans, showing both the front and back. Mikael Häggström (talk) 05:11, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't understand why we don't use a drawing/artificial representation of the anatomy like the kinds used for posters. Instead of arguing over races, gender, portrayal of pubic hair, just use images of specific systems such as a human skeleton anatomical poster image or muscles or skin, laid in the same format. Or just use an artificially drawn poster image, such as this one, this, this, or this, etc. - M0rphzone (talk) 00:41, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Personally, I would prefer to use line drawings for all depictions of anatomy. I believe that they can more clearly exhibit pertinent facts about anatomy than photos, and would be more in keeping with WP's role as an encyclopedia. However, that is a minority viewpoint, and I very seriously doubt you can find a consensus to use line drawings instead of photos to illustrate anatomy in WP. -- Donald Albury 10:50, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

About all this bickering over too many White people in the Article, etc.

I, for one, am seeing pictures of Whites and Asians and Black Africans in the Article exactly as it stands. We already have an ethnically diverse picture representation, if you look at all the pictures in the Article and not just the anatomy picture. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 07:13, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Myriad topics --except clothing???

Homo sapiens is the only species to wear clothing, as the article says, yet the article is faulty because it fails to note that homo sapiens CANNOT survive in most parts of the world without clothing. Moreover, at which point in time did humans take the highly unusual step of beginning to wear clothing. Dogru144 (talk) 08:08, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

As far as time period goes, humans (Genus Homo) started wearing other animals' fur before the speciation of the surviving type (Species Homo sapiens). In other words, clothing was worn by humans before the exact type of human that survives today even existed. This Article, by earlier Consensus, is about the surviving type. Therefore, your point would be more effective if you redirected your comment to the Article on the Genus Homo. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:23, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
"This Article, by earlier Consensus, is about the surviving type." That is an unfortunate error. There are countless wikipedia articles that deal with the history of particular species.Dogru144 (talk) 08:47, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
I have suggested a section on this subject below. It is not something that we can ignore. Martin Hogbin (talk)
To Martin Hogbin: No one is saying we can ignore it, but I really think clothing is best discussed on the Genus Homo Article. Yes, Homo sapiens is the only species wearing clothing today, but extinct types of humans (which were separate species within the genus) also wore clothing. Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) certainly did, while Homo rhodesiensis and Homo heidelbergensis both probably did.
Unless untanned animal fur is dogmatically not considered clothing, that is. That would be an incredibly Western, and even particularly Fundamentalist, thing to say. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 07:23, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Clothing is a fundamental part of human existence. I fail to see the significance of other (extinct) species of Homo. Yes, they may have worn clothing too, so what? I see no reason not to mention clothing here. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:36, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
The significance of extinct types of humans is that they did exist. I've seen many complaints about recentism in other Sections of this very Talk Page, so let's be consistent. Then again, pre-existing Consensus says this Article is about the surviving type of human, whereas the Genus Homo Article is about all humans. So, it's a delicate balance.
The best solution is probably a brief Clothing Section in this Article, with links to a longer Section in the Genus Homo Article, and to the Article entitled Clothing. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 15:26, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry but I cannot see your point. There is no claim that Homo sapiens is the only species to have ever worn clothing, just that clothing is a fundamental part of the existence of Homo sapiens.
If you want to remove everything in the article that is not unique to humans be my guest but I think you may encounter some resistance from others. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:54, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Clothing is and should be mentioned in the section on material culture and body modification.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:26, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I added that section in response to this discussion. I could do with a little expansion. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:10, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Martin Hogbin, you misunderstood me. I never said clothing was not entirely unique to humans (it is), just that it wasn't quite unique to modern humans. Being a human is officially defined in terms of the Genus Homo, not just the single species Homo sapiens, which is why the Article could ideally be moved to Modern humans, although that isn't the point of this thread.
(Just in case someone replies about hominid versus human, the answer is that hominid includes Australopithecines, Paranthropans, and Sahelanthropans, all of which are separate genera. The limiting term for the Genus Homo is therefore human, not just hominid. As for hominid versus hominin, a honinin is a modern great ape, as opposed to a hominid which is a human ancestor.)
I was also not talking about removing clothing, but rather making the Section brief and having most clothing information on the Genus Homo Article, with a link. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 00:46, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't know anyone who would use the word Human to include other species in the genus homo than Homo sapiens. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 01:16, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
That's the biological meaning of human. It's kind of like how the word "horse" biologically includes zebras (Equus zebrae) whereas "domestic horse" would be limited to Equus caballus. Similarly, "human" in evolutionary/biological circles denotes the genus, whereas "modern human" denotes Homo sapiens.
Besides, there's nothing encyclopedic about conversational use among your personal acquaintances.
If you look up the word "human" in the Oxford American, one of the definitions given is, and this is an exact quote, "of or belonging to the Genus Homo," so there's one source. Also, the word "Homo" in Latin means human, not human-like. In Becoming Human, Tattersall refers to the rest of the genus in terms of other types of humans, just as I do, and so do a number of other paleo-anthropologists in a number of other books.
If anyone wants my credentials in biology by the way, I'm graduating with a BS this coming weekend, so I obviously do know what I'm talking about at any rate. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:38, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Congratulations. Rivertorch (talk) 06:58, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────This article currently says, 'Humans (known taxonomically as Homo sapiens, Latin for "wise man" or "knowing man")' If you want to change that you need to discuss with others here. Martin Hogbin (talk)

WP:COMMONAME·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:20, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
The Article also contains the Hat Note "This article is about modern humans. For other human species, see Homo." The Hat Note clearly acknowledges extinct humans as other types of humans but humans still, and I would oppose removing the Hat Note over that. I'm talking about adding Links, not completely gutting the Article. As for clothing, I'm all for a short Section with Main Article Links. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 20:49, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Exactly! "This article is about modern humans". Which part of that do you not understand? Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:24, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
Not linking to the Genus Homo Article at the Clothing Section would make it look like modern humans were the only humans to use clothing, which is false. I thought we were talking about how to go about a Clothing Section. Short Section, maybe 2 or 3 good paragraphs but not an overwhelming Section, with links to Homo and Clothing. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 07:24, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
Why specifically at the clothing section? We already have 'For other human species, see Homo' at the top of the article. Are you suggesting that clothing is the only part of this article which might apply to other human species? Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:25, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
That's a great point. There should be a "Fire" Section with similar links. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 07:18, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Poorly writen poorly sourced?

Dbrodbeck, you said it was poorly written and poorly sourced? Which part is poorly written and poorly sourced? Can you be a bit more specific? Pass a Method talk 12:15, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Sure, thanks for taking this here. OK, here is some choppy writing 'Human babies are more helpless at birth compared to other mammals.[62] Humans are unique among mammals in being bipedal and walking with a vertically erect posture.[63] The average life expectancy for all humans is roughly 66.57 years.[64] The average human body temperature is 37 degrees celsius.[65] Humans are omnivores,[66] and have vocal folds which they use to communicate'. Here you have a bunch of very short, unrelated sentences.
As for sourcing, a book entitled " LifeConscious: An Alternative Theory to Evolution and Creationism" seems dubious (perhaps I am wrong), the golden rule stuff has a 1937 cite. Those are just examples. Dbrodbeck (talk) 12:24, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Wow I didn't even catch that bad sourcing. This can and should be done better. Also the article's treatment of culture is ridiculous. (I've gotten over the fact that it appears to be written by a Martian zoologist) ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:35, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
They are grammatically correct sentences. There is no rule on wikipedia about short or unrelated sentences either. As for the 1937 cite, is there any wikipedia rule against old sources or did you make that up myourself? Pass a Method talk 12:32, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
There certainly is a preference for "brilliant prose" - this isn't it. And regarding old sources no of course no - but it really should be obvious that newer sources should be considered preferred over 80 year old ones when possible. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:35, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
We use language to communicate, not vocal folds, is another example. There is a rule in writing, in general, that sentences in the same paragraph cover the same point though. Dbrodbeck (talk) 12:43, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
And I don't see any reason a sentence about ethics should be tagged on to the biology section - ethics is cultural not biological (which is why only some people subscribe to the Golden Rule).·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 13:30, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
CIA factbook is also not an RS about humans. The part about bipedalism should be sourced to a human evolution textbook. The body temperature should also be sourced to a better and more medically reliable source. (not challenging the information of course, but the best source should be used for each claim). The omnivorous diet is already mentioned below and sourced to a much better source.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 13:33, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
@ Pass a Method: "Human babies are more helpless at birth compared to other mammals": I wouldn't call this sentence "grammatically correct". One can say "more helpless than" or "helpless compared to", but "more helpless compared to" makes no sense. Rivertorch (talk) 15:46, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I just looked for each of these examples and they have all been edited to fix the "poorly written" issues.

I added this template box 5/20/12 - as far as the poorly written pieces go I think they look better now. Not sure if this is the right template to use. Gbeeker (talk) 12:42, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Putting complaints about the Article being too White in 1 place

I don't think the Article is too White, but if you do just bring it up here, and we can close the 2 painfully long Sections on it above. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 02:39, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

Dead Link NOT found in Neanderthal page on same picture

Remember the picture of the six skulls? On the Neanderthal page, the link that says "Euhominid" goes here. On this article, it is a dead link. Why not remove it or create a redirect to the human page if you click the link? There was nothing I could do due to the page being semi-protected — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.163.104.111 (talk) 22:13, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

I've unlinked it here at Human, since there'd be little point in redirecting it back to the same page. The word really shouldn't be piped to link here from Neanderthal (or other articles) unless it's defined here, which it isn't. Anyone like to take a stab at that? Rivertorch (talk) 08:07, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Human evolution

There is a statement on here that says orangutans are humans closest kin, but we know this to be untrue, most scientist today fully accept that humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor around 4 to 6 million years ago. Please somebody edit this, this is NOT the 1960s anymore!71.200.244.226 (talk) 02:50, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

where does it say that? That sounds like just a misstatement.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:56, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
As far as I can see it says the opposite "orangutans were the first to split" + "nearest relative are the two chimpanzee species".·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:58, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

Neanderthal gene flow and race

The study of the neanderthal genetic influence in non-African populations does not validate the concept of race, and it does not claim to. It shows that non-African populations have certain gene variants that have arisen after departure from Africa - this is not new, all populations accumulate new variants over time so obviously any population outside of Africa will have some genetic variants that populations in Africa do not have and vice versa. The new aspect is only that a part of this variation is due to gene flow from neanderthals in non-African populations. Furthermore since African and Non-African populations have not been isolated and there has been gene flow from Europe back into Africa for the last many thousand years (if not as long as since OOA) this means that African populations will also have the neanderthal genes, just presumably with lower frequency. There is no basis for reintroducing race because of neanderthal gene flow, especially not until reliable sources actually start suggesting it.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 11:43, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Modification of skin color line

Hi, guys. This page used to say " Human skin hues can range from dark brown to pale pink." I did not feel that this appropriately covered the gamut of skin colors, which I hope others will agree, so I was bold and changed it to this: " Human skin hues can range from dark brown to pale pink, or even nearly white or colorless, such as in cases of Albinism." I hope no-one opposes; if you do, you know the drill. As this page is semi-protected, I figured I'd bring up this change on the talk page. Cheers! "Yes...It's Raining" 05:26, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

History Section Incomplete?

I bring this up again, knowing that this topic has been discussed and archived many times. While this may never be resolved completely, I feel that the current history section suffers from a lack of bias. Namely - creation of humans as another possible way we came to be. Starting with evolution is fine, but to not make any mention of creationism as a possible history in the human history section is not fully covering this topic. Did I miss seeing something about creationism on this page elsewhere? Gbeeker (talk) 13:20, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

It's not a viable "alternate". Nobody but a small cadre od fundamentalists maintain special creation. Also see Last Tuesdayism. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:30, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
There's no need to mention religious beliefs in a scientific history section. --NeilN talk to me 13:42, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
First of all, Gbeeker, I think you mean "suffers from bias," not a lack thereof. Secondly, NeilN, although I agree with your statement, I disagree with its application here. Due to the quantity of individuals who believe in creationism, I believe it deserves a mention. Perhaps something like "Although there is agreement within the scientific community that humans evolved into present-day homo sapiens, some believe that Homo Sapiens emerged as the product of creationism; that is, some believe that God produced the first Homo Sapiens (directly, and not as the result of evolution)." Perhaps, afterward, a discussion/citation of information regarding the validity (rather, of course, lack thereof) of creationism would be appropriate. Again, (even ignoring my personal belief in and understanding of evolution) this is a "hot topic," it is relevant, and, as the opposition between viewpoints holds such great history, I cannot see how creationism could possibly be omitted from this article. Cheers, "Yes...It's Raining" 03:14, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

Definition of "Human"

"Human" = Homo sapiens???

The Wikipedia definition of "Human" as synonymous with Homo sapiens is clearly incorrect. The Oxford English dictionary defines "human" as (and I quote):- "A human being, a person; a member of the species Homo sapiens or other (extinct) species of the genus Homo." I would go further and say the term is frequently used in connection with closely related species which demonstrate strongly human features, for instance Australopithecus and Pithecanthropus.

I don't have a problem with the article's content, but to reflect general practice, the article "Human" should embrace the whole genus, while Homo sapiens should have its own article in Wikipedia. (Darorcilmir (talk) 11:19, 29 June 2012 (UTC))

FWIW - I've Not Been Able (so far) To Find The Oxford English Definition You Mention In Your Post Above - My Findings (with online references) Seem Different -> Oxford Definition of "HUMAN" -> "a human being." Oxford Definition of "HUMAN BEING" -> "a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance." - In Any Case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 12:28, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
We clearly need a separate article on Homo Sapiens and the most commonly used way of referring to Homo Sapiens in the English language is "Human", and at the same time the most common way to refer to extinct members of the genus Homo is not as Humans but as "Hominins" or "Hominids". There is no force behind this argument.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:44, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
You are right. When speaking in certain contexts e.g.: "Primitive humans such as Homo habilis", the referent of expert usage of the word "human" does actually have a much wider scope than that of this article, which might be called "fully modern Homo sapiens sapiens". There are many good reasons for this, not the least of which lies in the fact that this referent is way plenty wide enough a scope for any one article to effectively handle, and so any attempt to widen this scope is probably doomed, so let's not try. What this article needs to do, however, is to address this concern in as blunt, upfront, and as clear a way as possible that, although this article is going to draw the circle around its referent where it does, that doesn't mean that experts don't often use the term to refer to a wider scope. I'm not exactly sure the best way to go about it. Re-reading it just now, such a sentence would seem to fit quite well in the section on Etymology, which I'd then retitle "Etymology and Semantics" or some such. We'd start a new paragraph at the end of that section and frame the sentence along these lines: "Althogh in this context blah blah "Fully Modern H.s.sapiens, .... nevertheless true that some experts ... any of the Homo (genus) "humans"... yadda yadda even Australopithecus..." and whatnot, but to keep it really brief and to the point. Having done this, your concern will have been addressed and acknowleged and at the same time the article to have the referent with the scope it wants. Chrisrus (talk) 20:00, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
Done. Good idea. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:12, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

FWIW - The Recently Added Text Seems Excellent - And Seems To Cover The Issue *Very* Well - Thanks For Related Effort - And - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 20:48, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Excellent. It could be tightened up somewhat, I suppose, like most new passages, but it sure does the trick. Actually, the section's purpose may be to spell out the scope-redirect hatnote to Homo (genus) in full sentences. Chrisrus (talk) 16:10, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I don't think the introduction of "modern" before "humans" in the definition is necessary or an improvement. The article is about humans as a species and that includes archaic Homo sapiens. I also don't know of any sources that call fossil hominins "humans" - not even Neanderthals or Homo erectus. humans without qualification can very generally be taken to mean Homo sapiens - also in texts about human evolution.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:34, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
    • We don’t know much about archaic humans. We don’t know how well this article speaks for them. With how much confidence can we say this article speaks equally well for Archaic humans? Reason dictates that they have been different than us to one extent or another in one or more of the ways humans are described by this article. Let’s not burden this article by claiming that it speaks for anyone but fully modern humans, which, despite the treatment of ancestry, evolution, and close relatives, indisputably fully modern humans are the referent of this article as written. Otherwise, we'll have be careful that everything this article says is equally true of archaic humans. Chrisrus (talk) 22:17, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't see that as a problem, no. The vast majority of humans that have lived are fully modern, and the vast majority of the literature is about and by fully modern humans. The issue of separating out archaics and other early hominins is so small that it doesn't deserve to determine the first word of this article in my opinion. In 99,9999% of the instances in the literature "human" means "modern humans" and if speaking about archaics one will write archaic humans or homo heidelbergensis or something like that. There really is next to no potential for confusion.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:23, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Great Discussion - Nonetheless, Seems The Word "Human" Is A Part Of The Oxford Definition Of "NEANDERTHAL" -> "an extinct species of human that was widely distributed in ice-age Europe between circa 120,000 and 35,000 years ago, with a receding forehead and prominent brow ridges" - Seems Relevant To The Discussion - But Maybe Not - In Any Case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 22:36, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
The article Homo (genus) covers pretty much all of the animals commonly called "human", albeit often with some kind of modifier such as "primitive", "archaic" or "early". So that article is about "humans" in the broadest sense of the term. The scope is this article is more limited than the scope of that one. Then we have articles about Homo sapiens of other subspecies, but despite the mention of other kinds of humans in this article, it's clear as written that this article is speaking about modern Homo sapiens, not other subspecies. How do we know if other subspecies had religion like us, lived in families like us, or were otherwise the same as the animal described the different subsections of this article? We don't because some we know about only from literally just a fingerbone or a knee or something. Then there must have been others we don't have any proof of at all. Doesn't this article have enough to do in describing indisputably fully modern humans? It's so much easier this way if we're clear from the outset what the scope of this article is and stick to it, which is what the article already does as written, despite the discussion of origins and the wider genus Homo and other subspecies of Homo sapiens aside from H.s.sapiens, the only surviving memeber of the genus and the only surviving subspecies of the species. That's a good idea to add that fact. Modern humans are defined as not only the only living Homo species, we're also the only surviving subspecies of the species Homo sapiens, and acknowledge that there were other things that experts call "humans" but this article is going to have to limit the scope to fully modern Homo sapiens sapiens and that's WAY WAY plenty wide enough a scope for one article, thanks, so that's what the referent of this article is and has been and is going to continue to be, if for practicality reasons alone. Chrisrus (talk) 23:27, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
We agree about the scope, but we disagree about whether the limited scope requires us to put the qualifier "modern" before humans. I think we don't need to do that since it will be abundantly clear to a reader that in the context of this article (and in 99,99% of all other contexts) humans=modern humans. The qualificatioon "modern" is liabel to cause more confusion than clarification - necessary clarifications are in the hatnote and etymology section.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:37, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
With this edit, we don't need that hatnote anymore. With that one word "modern" in the subject noun phrase, we summerize the supporting body text you refer to. By saying "Modern humans, it says to the reader "this article is using the normal around 99% common definition, fully modern humans, only, H.s.s., the only existing species. I want to add subspecies, then we'll have it. The only existing subspecies as well. Lead sentences, especially the subjects of lead sentences of articles, should clearly identify referent and scope. This is what the lead is supposed to do. The referent is humans, but also the scope is, we're limiting it to modern humans, only.
By the way, fabulous work today, Manus. Keep up the good work. Chrisrus (talk) 00:37, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Edit request 2

I tried but don't know how to make the following edit to the taxobox:

The taxobox should be changed to specify the received referent of this article, the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, so to be consistent with this article.

This would eliminate all pretence that this article is trying to speak for any and all other subspecies of Homo sapiens there there are known to have existed or must have existed, but about which we know very, very little or nothing about, and therefore we can have no confidence that they were like H.s.s. in all the ways the subspecies is described in the many sections and subsections of the article. Chrisrus (talk) 01:39, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

I still don't think the argument makes sense. The scope is Homo sapiens - and the article writes as much as necessary about the possible subspecies and the ways in which they might be different from modern humans. We don't need to restrict it to one subspecies - the scope is "humans" and the principle of weight determines that the buk of the article has to be about modern humans and that other humans are treated according to their relevance to the main topic.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:16, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
This edit should be done if for no other reason than that on Wikipedia, taxoboxes follow the lead sentence. We can't have articles saying that their referent is this in their leads and then having a diffent scope in the taxobox. Leads summerize articles and taxoboxes are determined by the lead. Having one taxon in the lead and another in the taxobox is just not done for good reasons. Chrisrus (talk) 03:56, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
The lead sentence says "Humans", and the species should be "Homo sapiens" not "Homo sapiens sapiens". I don't see where you got consensus for changing that to a specific subspecies. The article should and does include information about other possible subspecies such as the Neanderthal question. Also the sources given does not support Sapiens sapiens - only Homo sapiens.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:46, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Also try to read the rest of the article - it very clearly treats Homo sapiens in general and not just sapiens sapiens. There is of course more information about the latter so that predominates, but it is related to knowledge of earlier species pretty much throughout the article.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:49, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Another issue is that there is no agreement about subspecies status. Writing Homo sapiens sapiens - presumes the existence of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and/or Homo sapiens idaltu (or even Homo sapiens erectus)- these aren't generally accepted as subspecies and we shouldn't take a stance either way. I think the correct thing is to mention that there is disagreement about the status of these groups and then simply treat Homo sapiens as synonymous with Homo sapiens sapiens.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 13:10, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Ok, I see what you've done, you've made taxobox and lead consistent by editing the text, not the taxobox. That works as well. The important thing is that the article be coherent about it's scope. I stand down on my efforts to narrow the scope of the refernt of this article to anything greater than fully modern Homo sapiens sapiens. The only thing left to do with regard to scope is to re-read the article again to ensure that it doesn't seem to be saying that what we say about H.s.s. is necessarily true about H.s.whatever; i.e.: to ensure the text is consistant with taxobox and lead. There may some text tweeking needed to keep the scope of the box, lead, and body the same. There's no need for this "try to ... article" comment. The rest of the article makes all kinds of statement about humans that can only be confidently made about fully modern H.s.s. and not so made about any other subspecies such as there must have been and we don't know much about. You are correct that it does speak about human ancestry and our close and distant cousins, even those which are not human. This the article deals with the gray areas and imperfect overlap between common name and taxon quite well. But dealing with gray areas well and discussing the relationships of animal X and animal Y does not widen that the topic of an article about animal X to to include animal Y. Otherwise, when the article "horse" talks about eohippus and zebras and mules, it would cause the scope of the article Horse to be Equis or something instead of Equus ferus caballus. Chrisrus (talk) 17:02, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes, that was what I tried to do. We can certainly look over the article to see if it makes claims that are contradictory - I don't think it is contradictory to say "Humans have X" if they have so now but didn't 150,000 years ago - only if we claim that "HUmans have always had X", which i don't think we do.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:33, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

A few questions

It's been a while since I've started a talk page discussion, so bear with my verbosity. First, should the second paragraph possibly start with something akin to "Based on available evidence..." or " The majority of anthropologists believe...". I ask this only in the sense that it seems presumptuous to assume this information will not change in the future. Understand, I'm not advocating pseudo-scientific alternatives, rather I'm suggesting that this is science's best explanation at the moment, and like most good science this information may be subject to future changes. Or is this just overdoing it?

Second, I'm curious as to the context of articles like this on Wikipedia. Articles are supposed to represent as complete a worldview as possible. However, this assumes that Wikipedia is only to be read by Earthlings (don't worry, I'm not crazy, keep reading). The article asserts such claims as "Humans are uniquely adept at ... language." In the context of Earth or even our solar system, this assertion is true. In the context of the known galaxy or universe, it probably is not. Again, I'm not advocating alien origins or UFO contacts. But I am curious on a broad scope (related specifically to articles such as this) if Wikipedia is designed as a resources exclusively for use in the context of any other Internet media. Or is it a record maintained to both educate current generations and additionally provide an archive of information should humans be wiped out? (I don't think this will happen, but we keep seeds on ice, so why not information?)

Okay, if you're still with me at this point, I'd appreciate any thoughts. Again, I'm not advocating anything crazy, I'm just curious how Wikipedia regards these "issues" in the context of an article as broad as this one.— Preceding unsigned comment added by DKqwerty (talkcontribs) 20:04, 4 July 2012

On your first point, no article like this is set in stone. We merely try to present the facts as understood by the mainstream scientific community. Parts of the article may have to be revised if and when the mainstream scientific understanding of the subject changes, but we cannot predict, and should not anticipate in this article, what in this article might change, or when.
On your second point, Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia states, "An encyclopedia is a written compendium which conveys information on human knowledge." It is implicit that our readership is human. (On the voice used in this article, please see Q5 in Talk:Human/FAQdraft, or, as Chrisrus once said on the question of how we can maintain a neutral tone in this article, "We do our Mr. Spock impression.") As we know nothing about any intelligent extraterrestrials, we do not write for them. -- Donald Albury 10:34, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Regarding your first question, "Based on available evidence" is a given. Obviously it's not based on unavailable evidence, but I think it pretty well goes without saying that that paragraph and others are based on evidence. The sources we cite generally don't include such qualifiers, so why should we? If consensus among scientists changes, we'd change the article. And it's not a question of the majority of anthropologists; it's a broad consensus within the field of anthropology and beyond. I think your second point is quite interesting. The phrase "as far as we (humans) know" is implicit in the article, and I think that's the key. If compelling evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial life came to light, assertions about unique adeptness would require some tweaking, I suppose. Rivertorch (talk) 10:47, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Encyclopedias are written by humans for humans, based on the knowledge that humans currently have. We don't need to take all speculative eventualities into account.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:15, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Dk, the article already does things such as use the word "known" quite a bit, as in "...the only known animal..." This covers your objection where it is done, because it concedes that there could be others we don't know about. If you find another place where to add such a word or phrase would be helpful without disturbing the flow and too much or something, then be WP:BOLD, but as others have said, "According to current general expert consensus..." and "Based on available evidence,...." and so forth are implied clauses for basically any article and therefore not necessary or helpful to say explicitly most of the time, so keep that in mind when making such edits. I'll probably have a look at it and see what I can do.
Donald and Maunus, you are right that we write for people, not aliens, at the same time that's a pretty good description of what we do. Wikipedia articles like this one assumee ignorance of the referent by the reader, but our readers are human so they can't be ignorant of many of these things. Many readers have commented that the net effect of this is an article written for someone who needs to be told that, for example, humans are bipedial and hold things in their hands, but still for some strange reason knows English. People that know English but don't know anything about this subject don't exist, but this is nevertheless the best way to do it because it imposes a certain objectivity which leads to insight that comes with striving to look at yourselves from the outside. Personally speaking, it's what I enjoy most about this article, but more to the point it's just what happens when you try to write an objective article about yourself. Chrisrus (talk) 18:14, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I find that style to be phony and stilted and give only the illusion of objectivity. If I were writing this article alone I would write "We humans" instead of using the third person.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:39, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Funny, however...

The "Soldiers" link in the "War" section links to a Jean Claude Van Damme movie. Probably not right. 98.24.199.213 (talk) 17:43, 10 July 2012 (UTC)Guy

Good catch; fixed. It probably wasn't intentional. OhNoitsJamie Talk 17:55, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Is lanky an offensive word?

In Biology => Biological Variation. There are 2 pictures. It is saying how people from different climates have different physical characteristics. The first picture shows a few people of the Masai from Kenya. Under the picture, it says the following:

"People in warm climates are often relatively slender, lanky, and dark skinned such as these Masai men from Kenya."

definition of lanky: Ungracefully thin and tall. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/lanky

Lanky seems a little offensive. Maybe replacing lanky with tall would be ideal, because skinny is already listed in the characteristics. Why list skinny twice, especially when the second skinny(lanky) means ungainly, or not pretty. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.204.9.41 (talk) 17:48, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

I wrote the word which only know from biology texts describing human body proportions with no negative contexts. I guess "stocky" with the opposite meaning can also be used pejoratively. Change it if you like - I certainly didn't mean to offend tall slender people in tropical areas when I wrote it.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:51, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
meh, its not that big of a deal. You are right too, stocky is in the other one, so it does even out. 67.204.9.41 (talk) 17:56, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
Maunus, I think there is a very mild negative connotation to 'lanky' in popular usage, more so than with 'stocky' but in any case you have solved the problem, what is wrong with 'tall and slender'? Martin Hogbin (talk) 21:47, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
Nothing, I just used the word I've encountered in sources assuming it wasn't loaded. I've removed it now so no problem.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:37, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
If 'lanky' is negative, it is only mildly so, at least in British usage. I think that 'gracile' is probably the scientific term, though 'tall and slender' would probably be better in this context.
Gracile is not tall though just the opposite of robust, and mostly applies to bone thickness.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:06, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
Hobgoblin, you should try calling a random woman lanky some time, and then call a different random woman stocky, and see which has a more negative connotation! Actually don't try this, because if you call a woman stocky you are sure to offend. ((Sorry, I couldn't resist)) 71.212.244.104 (talk) 03:39, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
How about Ectomorphic? Chrisrus (talk) 06:34, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
The article lists "diffculty achieving muscle mass", "smaller frame and bone structure" and "broader hips, slender shoulders" as defining characteristics of ectomorphs. Does this also apply to tall people from the tropics, generally speaking? (I doubt it does.) Iblardi (talk) 07:44, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
It does. Manute Bol, for example, is an ectomorph. It is supposed to be a technical term for something at "lanky" devoid of connotation, but I don't know how people would feel hearing it. It's not a phonetically melifluous word. Chrisrus (talk) 13:51, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Clothing

The humans in the main picture are performing gender with "clothes." This is not a natural phenomenon; therefore, the photograph doesn't adequately illustrate the human species, other than where faces and hands happen to be located on humans. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 110.165.229.242 (talk) 11:30, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

It is very natural for humans to perform gender with clothes. Indeed the vast majority of human populations does so.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 11:41, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
It is pervasive, yes; however, it is not natural. Performing "cigarette" is pervasive; however, it is not natural. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 110.165.229.242 (talk) 05:56, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
When it comes to human activity, the question of what is "natural" is not an easy one to answer. One could argue that if the creation of stone tools is "natural", so is the emission of vast amounts of greenhouse gases through fossil fuel burning. It's a sobering thought, but the human species and its range of behaviors arises from nature just as does any other species and its range of behaviors. Of course, humans create some synthetic materials that aren't found in nature, but that's neither here nor there. (Maybe it's somewhere.) Rivertorch (talk) 08:34, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
1. Humans are naturally cultural, Clothes are part of our "extended phenotype". 2. Many animals have different sexual morphs, and different behavior between the sexes. 3. There is no reason we should depict "natural humans" in the infobox, what we should depict is a good representation of what humans look like. Humans wear clothes. 4. You can see naked people in the anatomy section.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 13:10, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
An unnatural hermit crab - it isn't naked!
Agreed on all points. The IP used the word "natural," and I was just noting that the word "natural" is used to mean different things in various contexts. Rivertorch (talk) 17:37, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
I guess I was replying to the IP and just following the indentation. :)·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:56, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

Typo: "off spring"

There appears to be a typo in the last sentence in the "Anatomical adaptations" section (which ends with "due to the prolonged infancy of off spring"), where "off spring" is used instead of "offspring". 2CanToo (talk) 00:22, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Resolved: Fixed (by someone else). Thanks for pointing it out. Rivertorch (talk) 05:49, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Ungrammatical sentence under "Sexuality and love"

There's something wrong with the sentence "Humans also frequently have sex a hedonistic sense to the enjoyment of activity involving sexual gratification". I'm not certain of the original intent, but perhaps the word "sex" needs to be removed? 2CanToo (talk) 11:19, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

I've removed the sentence. — goethean 16:01, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Sumerians

Please consider the below. sumerians were the first human civilization. (Industrial and scientific) Transition to civilization

and the Indus Valleys. <insert> Military forces were formed

About 5000 years ago, in Sumeria, the first human civilization come into being in the form of industialised agricultur, complex architectures (using brick), and science & mathematics like wheels, writing & literatures, accounting and irrigation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.233.119.148 (talk) 16:16, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

I'm afraid this would need a thorough overhaul before anyone seriously considered adding it to the article. For instance, wheels are neither science nor mathematics; they're just wheels. It might be helpful if you'd identify what you perceive as deficiencies in the article's current wording. (I do love the juxtaposition of accounting and irrigation, btw.) Rivertorch (talk) 19:29, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

The definition of "human"

This is not a forum. This article is not about 'spiritual souls' or resurrection. Our articles are based on published reliable sources of relevance to article content. Please do not reopen the discussion.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.


I have noticed that there is no mention in the article of a "human" being defined as (in line with Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa) a "rational substance". Rationality implies spirituality, intelligence, understanding, morality, and personality. Actually, a person in general is a "rational substance", not just a human. A "human" or "human person" (as distinct from a divine person or an angelic person), specifically is a corporeal rational substance.

Every primate of the genus homo that has ever lived is indeed human. While the bodies of different humans differ and have differed even today in shape, size, color, etc., the nature of any given human is one. What is specific, particular, and definitive of a human is the union of a body and a rational, spiritual soul. The humans of every species of the genus homo that ever lived are not human just because of bodily evolution nor just because of the rationality according to their nature, but are human because of the unique union of corporality and rationality in every single one of them.

Thus, without further ado, I must also reveal and/or affirm to you, the reader, that, for some time now, there has arisen a new and eternal human "species". The first of this species is Jesus Christ, followed by His virgen mother. They are the first to resurrect from the dead. Since humans by definition have spiritual souls, the death of a human is but the separation of a human's body with his or her soul, and is not the complete end of the human. Moveover, since that which is spiritual is eternal and since the soul of a dead human, being eternal, cannot remain separated from his or her body forever because the natural perfection of a human is to have his or her soul united to his or her body, all the deceased humans that have ever lived will resurrect. For God did not create humans to die in the the first place, but to live from the moment of their conception until the end of time and beyond, i.e., forever. Human death (as distinct from the death of other living substances) is a consequence of sin. God answers to sin and death with resurrection and life. All humans are invited to resurrect with Jesus, God the Son, and to live truly human lives.

Thank you. Steveng86 (talk) 08:57, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Er . . . thanks for revealing and/or affirming that to us. Good to know that other animals aren't sinners, I guess. Rivertorch (talk) 11:35, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

You are welcome, Rivertorch I would just like to correct an error of judgment I realized I committed.

Resurrected humans are not of a new and eternal "species", nor of a genus, family, order, etc. This is because the body of a resurrected human did evolve from any other body, as that of a Homo Sapien like us did, and it is by the bodies of living beings that biological classificaiton takes place. Therefore, a resurrected human, with its resurrected body, is at once of the new and eternal biological sort of humans and of material substances in the universe. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Steveng86 (talkcontribs) 22:53, 16 August 2012 (UTC)


N.B.: The information I have written, as I disclosed in my first sentence, paraphrased as it may be, is taken from St. Thomas of Aquinas's Summa Theologica, a "published reliable source of relevance to article content." The substantial form of a human is its spiritual soul. The spiritual soul of a human is more relevant to it than its body. God creats humans "little less than the angels". Resurrection is specific to humanity and so is indeed relevant to the article as well. Steveng86 (talk) 02:05, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

The problem is the fact that St. Tom believed it about humans doesn't mean it's true about humans. It's not evidence-based proven facts that humans have soul and were created below angels by God or whatever he said about humans, but it's a proven fact that St. Tom said that humans do. So you can use these citations to cite the knowable fact about what St. Tom thought about humans to improve the article St. Thomas of Aquinas. The citations you have given prove only that St. Tom said that, which is a knowable fact not about humans but about St. Tom. Chrisrus (talk) 15:21, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Anyone who is open to truth would believe what St. Tom believed about humans. The problem here, Chrisrus, exists only in your mind. Judging from your statement, your intellect is not sharp or educated enough for you to have discerned that what St. Tom believed about humans is what is true, probably because you assign yourself to a closed empiricistic mentality. Knowledge begins with experience like with children but does not end there. I highly recommend you read his Summa Theologica little by little, since it is dense, deep, and revelatory.

Also, your argument defeats itself when you state that "it's not evidence-based proven facts that humans have soul and were created below angels by God or whatever he said about humans". The fact that you and I have a spritual, rational, eternal "soul" or "mind" (not to be confused with a brain, which is an organ, which is part of a body) is self-evident. How else would you I live, exist, think, desire, plan, understand, reason, construct, communicate? Let anyone who can understand, do so. Steveng86 (talk) 23:20, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

This is way beyond the scope of this talk page and is bordering on a personal attack. Steveng86, you won't find consensus for changing the article to reflect your viewpoint. Feel free to raise the issue at the WP:NORN if you'd like to verify that, but please do not reopen this thread. Rivertorch (talk) 11:18, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Shouldn't conservation status be "domesticated"?

Wikipedia defines domestication as "the process whereby a population of animals or plants is changed at the genetic level through a process of selection, in order to accentuate traits that benefit humans." Seems to me that humans themselves fit this definition. Our species has changed at the genetic level through a process of selection (natural) to accentuate traits that are favorable to us (humans). Darthmix (talk) 20:36, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

While I can see the logic of your argument (though I suspect that others might not, in that it possibly implies group selection), we'd need a reliable source that actually describes us as 'domesticated' in this regard to include such a suggestion in the article. AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:42, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Even having that field for humans is ridiculous. I've removed it. Another example of inane science fetichism.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:55, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Um, yes - I'd not realised we'd actually included a 'conservation status' in the article. Silly... AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:01, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree. It is crazy. Martin Hogbin (talk) 21:25, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Not disagreeing or agreeing, but it might be helpful to explain why it is "ridiculous", "silly", and "crazy". Such adjectives are highly subjective, and I believe we're attempting as much objectivity as is (humanly) possible in this article, as we are with our other articles about animal species. Rivertorch (talk) 21:43, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
'Conservation' is a term used by humans for the process of trying to reduce the adverse effect of humans on other species.
I also object on different grounds, which I have raised before. Describing humanity as of 'Least Concern'. It would not take much for someone to take this literally. Martin Hogbin (talk) 21:54, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Taxonomy looks all messed up

Scientific classification

  • Unrecognized taxon (fix): Human
  • Species: H. Human
  • Binomial name
  • Human Human
  • Linnaeus, 1758
  • Subspecies
  • †Homo sapiens idaltu White et al., 2003
  • Homo sapiens sapiens
Binomial name is "humans humans"? Unrecognized taxon? What? Cadiomals (talk) 00:55, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
I've decided to revert the edit which caused these unwanted changes until they can somehow be fixed. Cadiomals (talk) 01:01, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
I've sorted it out - Maunus had somehow deleted the 'taxon' field. AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:03, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Two Things

  • Humans are not the only species to use fires to cook foods.
  • Why is the page not 'Homo sapiens'? 'Homo erectus' is called 'Homo erectus', so why isn't 'Human' 'Homo sapiens'? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.3.173.234 (talk) 14:08, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

You are right, erectus and others also used fire and many other things stated in this article, so in order for such statements to be true, the found definition of the word "human" is broadened to something wider than simply H. sapiens. Moving it to "Homo sapiens", while it would violate WP:COMMONNAME but better comply with WP:PRECISION. On the other hand, maybe the article "wants" the freedom to widen and narrow its scope at different points. If so, we could just clarify when this is being done. Chrisrus (talk) 16:06, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

Two things:
  • Homo sapiens is the only LIVING (extant) species to use fires to cook their food, and that is mentioned
  • "Human" is the WP:COMMONNAME for modern Homo sapiens. If any other type of human (or really, hominin) is mentioned it will be mentioned by its specific species name so as not to cause confusion.
Cadiomals (talk) 16:27, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
IMO WP:COMMONNAME should get more weight than WP:PRECISION. This is an encyclopedia and the idea is that it will be used; many more people will search the term "human" than the term "Homo sapiens". Lova Falk talk 17:22, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
You are right. The article shouldn't be moved to Homo sapiens, it should stay at Human. We should just be careful when we say things like "Humans are the only animal that uses fire" to notice that we've widened the scope beyond simply "sapiens" and word things appropriately. In that example, in order for the statement to be true, we have widened the scope of the word "human" to sapiens + other Homo species. In other cases, we may be making a statement that is only confidently true about fully modern Homo sapiens sapiens humans and maybe not necessarily true about all H. sapiens that have ever lived. Maybe we should look at the taxobox and taxonomy sections again and maybe say something that frees the article to wander a bit from the taxonomy a bit where we feel it wants to or should. Taxonomy is just an indispensible system of putting things in boxes with clear black and white borders with no gray areas and even though we can't do without taxonomy, we should understand that in evolution there are no such clear dividing lines and there always is or must have been gray areas where one taxon washes smoothly into the next. Chrisrus (talk) 19:36, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
I mean, non Homo species use fire. Just one example, is http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/30/kanzi-chimpanzee-cooking-with-fire_n_1176518.html 94.3.173.234 (talk) 20:47, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
The Huffington Post is using the Daily Mail as its source, [22] which is less than ideal. More to the point though, even if the story is correct (and coming from the DM, that is a big 'if'...) the bonobo in question was taught how to use matches by Dr Savage-Rumbaugh. To stretch that to an assertion that 'bonobos use fire to cook food' would be rather bold... AndyTheGrump (talk) 12:32, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
One is reminded of the old adage, "Give a bonobo a fire and he'll have burgers for a day. Teach him how to strike a match and he'll eschew bananas and suffer from high cholesterol for life." All sorts of animals can be trained to perform certain tasks. This strikes me as roughly akin to reading an article about circus dogs riding bicycles and making the claim that humans aren't unique in their use of vehicles. Rivertorch (talk) 22:35, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Why American English?

Which American nationalist decided to make American English the official dialect of this article? It makes absolutely no sense. Humanity has nothing more in common with America than any other English-speaking country. It would make more sense to have a dialect of English spoken in Africa as the standard for this page. Or perhaps we should all be able to use whatever dialects we want, seeing that this is an article about all of us. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 101.166.150.53 (talk) 10:48, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia strives for consistency within a given article. Unless there is a contextual reason to use a particular variant (e.g., an article on a Canadian province written in Canadian English, an article on a prime minister of the UK written in British English), a given article is generally in whatever form of English was predominantly used when it was written. You may find this guideline helpful. Rivertorch (talk) 11:50, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
The article was just started by an American who naturally used the language he or she knew. Articles such as Blue are written in UK English for no particular reason other than that's what the original author used and there is no particular reason to change it. The policy is we don't care which is used, but that it be consistant so that it doesn't look strange. You are wrong if you believe that this article is in Standard American English because of American nationalism. Chrisrus (talk) 02:41, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Conflict of Interest

I have obtained evidence that this article was written almost entirely by humans, and that the majority of edits in the history log were done by humans. The small number of edits not done by humans were mostly done by software entities with close ties to humanity, usually acting directly on behalf of humans. This article shows signs of being a vanity article, with very little participation from anyone except humans and their allies. I would suggest posting a warning with links to the relevant policies, cautioning humans and human-affiliated bots to think carefully before editing this article. 70.178.3.230 (talk) 04:59, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

That's funny. It seems a satirical critique of the article that may have a point: that we should be vigilant about bias in the article. Chrisrus (talk) 05:17, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I would have liked it better on April 1, but it was clever. And yes, we should be vigilant, but achieving truly neutral point-of-view may be impossible until a new order of Wikipedians arrives. Rivertorch (talk) 08:26, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I disagree, we should not be vigilant because it is nonsensical to have an unbiased article about humans. We should be clear about the bias, not try to hide it. The joke is that the article reads as if it tries to give the appearance of not having been written by humans, which is of course ludicrous. To try to write an objective article about humans just nonsensical science fetishism.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:52, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Science fetishism is that Wikipedia does best. — goethean 20:16, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Martin Hogbin (talk) 21:27, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree. We need to attribute every sentence in this article. "According to humans, <such and such is true about themselves>". "According to human X, <yada, yada>". Also a {{POV check}} should be placed on the article until our alien brethren have a look at it. Tijfo098 (talk) 07:14, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Maunus|snunɐw... The rampant use of "they" in the article does not, it my opinion, sound more educational/non-biased... it sounds ridiculous. It might be an encyclopedic standard, but in a wiki community it just stands out all the more.--98.246.72.231 (talk) 09:16, 19 October 2012 (UTC)
You'd prefer the first person? That could be confusing and would surely necessitate some fancy grammatical footwork. Just in case anyone commenting here isn't aware, the first entry in the FAQ on this page deals with this topic. Rivertorch (talk) 17:11, 19 October 2012 (UTC)
Rivertorsh is right. I can see why you all might think that using the first person would be a good idea, but I think it's a lot easier said than practically done. You're welcome to try, though, as far as I'm concerned. I think you'll come to the same conclusion in the FAQ that it's best in the third person. Chrisrus (talk) 18:23, 19 October 2012 (UTC)
Isn't the critique also biased for being written by a human or a human ally? So shouldn't we discuss the POV issue with the criticism first?^^ Cortador (talk) 12:50, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
Please feel free to discuss away! This is the place to discuss ways of improving this article. Thoughts on maintaining NPOV in this article here previously include imagining what a person with no knowledge of humans but still for some strange reason the English language would want to know about us, and doing our best Mr. Spock impressions. Chrisrus (talk) 13:10, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
Of course, Spock is half human, even if he is rather ashamed of that. Maybe the article should be written from a Ferengi perspective . . . oh, wait, there's no profit in it. Rivertorch (talk) 16:39, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
Sure there is, just move this page from Wikipedia to Wikia. Emmette Hernandez Coleman (talk) 14:15, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Goeth, what is Science fetishism and can you make that link go blue? Chrisrus (talk) 16:47, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

Caption

This caption could probably be tweaked to be more accurate: "Boy and girl before puberty, Adult man and woman in the reproductive age; Elderly man and woman (after menopause)"

The way that the photos are configured seems to imply that biologically speaking, an elderly male cannot reproduce.. Evenrød (talk) 21:43, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Should we just remove "after menopause" or do you have a better idea? Lova Falk talk 12:10, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Yeah that sounds fine to me. I appreciate your help. Evenrød (talk) 09:16, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Rise of Homo sapiens

Perhaps add a link to Race_and_genetics#Human_evolution, seems to have a similar map there and relevant info — Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.182.184.168 (talk) 07:16, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Neanderthal subspecies of Homo sapiens?

Should Neanderthals be listed in the subspecies list?
Happy1892 (talk) 19:46, 22 October 2012

Current taxonomy seems to have settled on a separate species status, at least for now. Chrisrus (talk) 04:31, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Okay, thank you.
Happy1892 (talk) 16:20, 25 October 2012

Well

I find it kind of...well funny really that humans have no problem pointing out overpopulation in other animals, but no such sub-section exists for ourselves. And there are, what, 7000000000+ of us? We also call ourselves "Superpredators" but most of us don't hunt our own food, so i think that should be removed. Farming and Hunting and Going to the grocery story/McDonalds line are different things. Theirs nother "superior" about us -- we're just different just as no two species of animal is alike -- and naturally, this entire article is unavoidably biased on our behalf(not to mention most of the people who edited are probably Sheeple.)Werebereus (talk) 22:55, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

Survival of the fittest, there is actually not overpopulation amongst humans what are doing humans over is the unequal distribution of wealth. Humans were originally hunters and gathers, and pretty much very organized at that, with introduced of farming we managed to put ourself in posistion we could sustain the spices far better than anything else and set up us as species for world domination, allthough we have ourself fought many wars over the world is control, and the building of an atom bomb is actually that seprate us form the reast we could use it to distroy every other ecosystem or we could do it more slowly through frarming, but that would actually be foolish as then we would destroy ourselves. DoctorHver (talk) 09:19, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Overpopulation is usually measured in terms of food and humans definitely have enough food. If you find a reliable source about overpopulation, then I would say include it. The definition of overpopulation is important. It is very possible, maybe likely, that the rate of resources being used to sustain the current population could be higher than the rate resources are being replaced, at least in some respects. Most humans are not literal predators, but some are, and we rely on the fact that in a wild environment as a group we are the super-predator. The fact that we do not have natural predators also makes us super-predators, as in there is no species 'above' us on the predatorial 'chain/pyramid'. The term 'superpredator' simply means we are the metaphorical 'top' of the food pyramid, not that we are superior. TreboniusArtorius (talk) 19:52, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

The range map.

The map that shows the range of Homo Sapiens as a species is in my opinion of extremely low quality. First of all, what are the criteria for that are being of part of the "human range"? Secondly, many portions of it are just wrong. For example, according to this map the Maldives as an archipelago and an independent nation are completely uninhabited. Weird right? The solution to this is for somebody to: A. Change it to a map format that is of higher quality or of different map projection to stop the drastic distortion of the "frontiers" of humanity in the North and South poles. B. Set a concrete definition of what classifies something as part of our range as a species. I suggest setting the range at a specific population density (most likely 1 person/kilometre squared) and end the innacuracy there. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.238.237.34 (talk) 04:17, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Humans aren't true/perfect omnivores

I don't agree with the part that says humans are omnivores. We might eat meat regularly, but almost all true omnivores can eat it raw and not get food poisoning because they have strong stomachs and intestines made for meat. While our intestines are obviously herbivorous, so we have to cook meat before eating it. And even then it's still unhealthy, it rots in the long intestines and animal protein is carcinogenic. I think it should go more like "Humans are generally omnivorous, but not completely adapted to eating meat."

Nope, we have very good sources saying we are omnivores - just like Chimpanzees and probably most of our pre-Sapient hominin ancestors. Nothing in nature is perfect, adaptation is about what works, not about what is perfect. Also it is entirely incorrect that the human gut is well adapted to an herbivorous diet, the human gut has adapted to eating high protein and high nourishment cooked foods, which is why the human gut is much smaller than most other primates'. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 01:31, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 11 January 2013

The section called "Evidence from molecular biology" begins with the following sentence:

"The closest living relatives of humans are gorillas and chimpanzees"

Please change "gorillas" in that sentence to "bonobos" because bonobos are more closely-related to humans than gorillas.

From Nature magazine (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature11128.html):

"Two African apes are the closest living relatives of humans: the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and the bonobo (Pan paniscus)."

Sorry for the double submission. The last time I didn't say "please change X to Y," so I thought I'd resubmit. (I just figured out that I could have just edited the previous one, but I can't seem to delete it. Sorry! Gistak (talk) 00:50, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

I dont think this is necessary it should be clear that chimpanzee in this case means the entire genus pan, just like gorilla includes both species. And even if it is not clear this is made clear immediately below in the same section when we write "Chimpanzees and bonobos (genus Pan)".·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 01:25, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
It's clear enough for those who read carefully and have a basic grasp of taxonomy, but I wonder if we really need to mention genus Gorilla in that particular sentence. Rivertorch (talk) 06:33, 11 January 2013 (UTC):
I could see removing "gorilla" as an answer, though I don't understand why not replace it with bonobo. It may not be necessary for experts, and maybe I misunderstand the audience, but I'm not sure that it's really clear that it refers to the whole genus. For people who aren't already experts, this could seem as though it means that chimpanzees, which are in the genus Pan, are the closest along with gorillas, which are in the genus Gorilla. I know that's a nonsensical interpretation for those who understand it, but again, who is the audience? Gistak (talk) 05:35, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
It's hard to generalize about the audience, but I do think there's potential for confusion. Whether we specify "bonobo and common chimpanzee" or just say "chimpanzee (genus Pan)" may not be terribly important, but the current wording—"[t]he closest living relatives of humans are gorillas (genus Gorilla) and chimpanzees (genus Pan)—seems potentially problematic because it could be seen to imply that they're equally close. "Closest" is a superlative, after all, and the sentence should be clear on its own without having to read further or refer to the image. Chimps (both kinds, including bonobos) are the closest and gorillas (both kinds) are the next closest after that. If we're going to lump more than one genus into what we're calling "closest", why not throw in the orangs and the gibbons while we're at it? Rivertorch (talk) 10:43, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Well in fact they may well be considered equally close - since the way in which genetic distance is calculated is misleading.[23].·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 13:27, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Interesting, to say the least. (And they say Wikipedia is contentious!) Predictably enough, some of it went over my head, but I think I got the gist. Let me ask you this, Maunus: is there rough consensus in the scientific community, with notable dissenters, or is there broad disagreement on the point? Rivertorch (talk) 17:52, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
There is a rough consensus in the literature that chimpanzees are closer, but as Marks point out that is more of a conventional truth than a hard fact. I do think that it makes sense to at least mention Chimps before Gorillas.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:02, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
All right. I have boldly changed it so chimps are mentioned first. (Sorry for the hiccup. I was playing with it several ways, and pasted in the wrong version.) I think that the current wording should suffice, and if we're going to mention gorillas, it doesn't make sense to specify bonobos unless we also mention both species of gorilla (which we could do, but it would make for an undesirably long sentence). It does say "chimpanzees", not "the chimpanzee", so the existence of more than one species is implied in the wording, I think. If you're satisfied that mentioning gorillas in this context isn't undue weight, then I'm satisfied too. Rivertorch (talk) 22:40, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

Residual human exceptionalism and human superiority bias.

I think this article has continual human exceptionalism bias in it.

For example:

Generally regarded as more capable of these higher order activities, the human brain is believed to be more "intelligent" in general than that of any other known species.

Okay, this bit is fine.

While some non-human species are capable of creating structures and using simple tools—mostly through instinct and mimicry—human technology is vastly more complex, and is constantly evolving and improving through time.

This bit is not. The repetitive and focused this species vs other species is not a normal part of a Wikipedia article about a species.... especially when all it consists of is "other species have this as well, but for this species it's hugely superior".

Rise of Homo sapiens (section)

You would be unlikely to say "rise of the rat" or "rise of the modern sheep". The word "rise" romanticises it.

The human capacity to exchange information and ideas through speech (and recently, writing) is unparalleled in other species. Unlike the closed sign systems of other primates in which sounds are unique and mutually exclusive, human language is open — an infinite number of meanings can be produced by combining a limited number of sounds and words.

First of all, these words like "unparalleled" are totally inconcise when you are comparing species. What does "unparalleled" mean? We can only say for sure that humans communicate in ways other species can not. We can't say that talking is in any way superior or more information than for instance growling or any other form of body/auditory/visual language another animal might display. Even though you may think it's "obvious", you simply cannot say that.

As for the word "infinite" being put in there. Lol. Obviously it's not infinite, or else there is an equally infinite amount of ways to growl and so on. Instinctively, I really want to change this "infinite" word fast, however I want to leave it as an example of what I mean.

Another unique aspect of human culture and thought is the development of complex methods for acquiring knowledge through observation and quantification.

And yet other animals also do the same. Because of the qualifier "complex", perhaps this isn't as bad as the other sentences. However, "complex" relative to what? Chimpanzees also use "complex methods for acquiring knowledge through observation and quantification", they are extremely impressive coordinating in hunting. They do far more complex things and calculate a lot more swinging through the trees than humans ever could, because it's more natural to them. Think of how a cheetah is extremely well adapted to hunt in a complex way.

You're stretching it too far to say that only humans do these things and it's all more complex in humans. Talk about symbolic language... even though other animals use it, it's vastly more complex in humans.Anonywiki (talk) 06:28, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

There is no reason the article shouldn't display "human exceptionalism", it is written by humans for humans and only humans among the organisms of the known universe write encyclopedias - making us exceptional. Furthermore the language used is that of the sources. It is a defininf feature of the human open communication system that its number of meanings are infinite. No animal has been shown to have anything remotely resembling that, but rather have a very limited number of different "ways of growling". You should read the sources and base your critique on whether other sources describe it differently, not on whether you personally think it exaggerates human exceptionalism.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:05, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Maunus is right. All articles about species talk about what makes each one different from the rest.
Experts do in fact talk about "the rise" of all kinds of species, from bacteria to dinosaurs to rodents to, most recently, the Eastern Coyote, so there's nothing wrong with speaking about the rise of an animal in evolutionary history if one does rise in terms of numbers and range.
One of the things that make this species unique is language, which is set apart from other forms of communication by the fact that it can express an infinite number of ideas. Articles that don't mention the important exceptional features of their referents are amiss; imagine the article elephant didn't mention the trunk. Chrisrus (talk) 05:58, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Human beings are a sui generis as far as the development of intellect and the culture based on it. How can anyone be clueless enough to "think" this is not a fact, maybe they use some mode of processing which humans have in common with other animals in coming up with such a response. In a related matter was looking for some indication of the fact that while all normal humans have the capability for intellectual development, relatively few in fact do, 1% or so of Americans, for example, as judged by measures of belief, familiarity with mathematics, science, etc. Humans are both exceptional and to the extent that they can develop intellectually superior to other animals. This thread is an embarrassment to the person who opened, and any like thinking individuals attempting to negate the difference between humans and other animals due to some kind of comic. imbecile, rote political correctness, which by the way, no terrestrial animals reading this article are going to appreciate. "Residual" no less! 76.180.168.166 (talk) 11:06, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
It's not true though that humans can communicate in an "infinite" amount of ways. If you have a certain feeling, you cannot describe exactly what this feeling is in all ways. With qualia, you cannot describe the sensation or "thing" at all. There is nothing "infinite" about it, especially since there are only a certain amount of ways you can put words. It may be extraordinarily large, but it's not infinite. In fact, the only thing that may be in a way infinite here is the tone you use, its inflections in time, your movement etc., ie. as in the example of growling being infinite. That is the only way humans can claim their communication is in some ways "infinite", as is the same with many other animals. It's important that people accept this.
"it is written by humans for humans and only humans among the organisms of the known universe write encyclopedias - making us exceptional"
Well, EVERY organism is exceptional in SOME way. If you mean exceptional in terms of affecting what we put in the encyclopedia and would be of interest to us readers of it, fair enough (though you certainly didn't emphasize this). What I mean is exceptionalism in the sense of treating traits we have differently to what we would say about another species, a sort of self-congratulation and self-aggrandizing of certain traits, using the words I listed above. Anonywiki (talk) 23:33, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
The difference between language and any old biological form of communication is that, with language, you can say “I saw you” or “I saw him” or “He saw you” or “I heard you” and so on and so on ad infinitum. There is no limit to the number of ideas you can express with it. I can communicate to you “Look over there” by pointing, but this is not language like sign language is true language, this is just gesture and many if not most species communicate somehow. I can communicate to you that I am sad by frowning and crying, but this is not language. Language, strictly defined, what linguists study, is an infinitely combinational system of repeatable elements.
Either language or language-like things, exist in other animals maybe if you stretch the definition a little bit further than most experts would maybe be willing to. For example, bee-dance can say “(towards/to the left of/to the right of) the sun (so) far. (repeat)” but that is all. On the one hand, it’s pretty much all variations of the same exact thought, but on the other hand quite "linguistic" or "language-like" in that it you can make so very many combinational variations. I gather that Prairie Dog “language” can say “coyote, three o’clock”, “hawk, three o’clock high”, and so on, but the "clauses" can't be longer than that, let alone infinately long as with true clauses. You could say that's "language" if your threshold for that is pretty low compared to most experts. I have been waiting to hear the conclusion of reasearchers into dolphin communication to see if it's a combinational system for so long I guess I gave up.
So there are some primitive precursors to language, or maybe primitive languages, outside of humans. Of course, given the number of Goldilocks planets, I’m sure language exists on other planets, but a true systemic language capable of an infinite variety of thoughts is unique to humans on this planet as far as anyone knows, and doesn’t seem to have ever existed before us, and is a defining feature of humans.
This section needs further clarification so it can be more clearly understood by people who conflate “language” with any form of communication. We need to summarize the entire article language in one short sweet sentence.
Also, we should maybe give a nod to the possibility that other species like bees have or may have some language-like thing and that there exists a possiblity that dolphins and such might, and aliens probably do, but no one knows. A strategicly placed phrase or two such as "as far as we know" or some such should be enough. Chrisrus (talk) 04:02, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
In principle I am with Anonywiki on this subject. Humans have always been trying to find ways in which humans are fundamentally different from other animals, with suggestions like: language, use of tools, problem solving etc and, over time, each of these bastions of difference has fallen.
On the other hand this is an encyclopedia written by humans for humans and humans should therefore have a unique place in it. Nevertheless we should avoid self-referential language when trying to describe humans. Saying human are the only species to use language is an example of this because a definition of language could be 'the way that humans communicate using sound'.
In some ways I would go farther than Anonywiki, for example the comment in intelligence:
Intelligence

Generally regarded as more capable of these higher order activities, the human brain is believed to be more "intelligent" in general than that of any other known species.

Intelligence is a notoriously difficult concept to define. We cannot agree on its meaning regarding different humans from the same culture let alone humans from different cultures or different species.

There is no source for this statement and, in my opinion, it falls far below the encyclopedic standard that we should be aiming for. It should therefore be removed. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:27, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

I think you make a good point Martin Hogbin. It's been shown chimps outperform humans in that task about remembering where numbers are on a screen after being shown the screen for a few milliseconds. A cheetah will perform all kinds of amazing cognition in fractions of a second pursuing prey. In fact, most of the things humans claim superiority of intelligence about a computer can easily do. Is a computer intelligent? (and please, just forget the fact that some particular humans programmed the computer first for a minute as this is circular reasoning, take the argument as it is saying that the computer is there and can we say it is intelligent). It's not encyclopedic or scientific enough to say humans are more intelligent "in general" because that is implicitly weighing up different types of intelligence and saying that human intelligence impresses you more. What we can say is that humans usually have a large brain compared to their body size and appear to know more calls about specific things than other animals.
It's the sort of words and clauses like "mostly through instinct and mimicry" when referring to non-human intelligence that are really ridiculous. If a human is solving a mathematical equation, he is also doing that "mostly through instinct and mimicry" also: mimicry of other solutions, of the idea of using symbols, of techniques, of models. As Bobby Fischer noted, games like chess are also all about mimicry and memory with a little instinct. And no, mathematical "instinct" isn't a higher form of anything either. It's important to be concise and objective. Anonywiki (talk) 20:01, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
I removed it a while back and nobody seems to have objected. Martin Hogbin (talk) 20:16, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

It seems clear the article has to distinguish clearly it’s referent of the word “intelligent” from “any mental capacity”, such as perception.

For example, seeing, and using sight to construct a mental map of your surroundings, this is an impressive mental ability, and one at which humans don’t particularly seem to excel, compared to chimpanzees and such. But seeing and keeping track of what and everything you see is only gives the mind something to (maybe) think about. It is not thought. Without perception, it is true, there would be nothing real think about.

It is therefore incorrect to say that because the bat, whale, chimp, and so on can perceive and maintain accurate mental maps of their surroundings that therefore humans are not the more intelligent than those species.

Second, a Google Scholar search just now for the words “most intelligent species” showed no shortage of citable papers for the statement. I don’t know that any of them prove that the statement is true. However, the amount of returns on the search itself could be used to cite the fact that it is often said and generally believed that it is true. I think this is difficult because we are members of this species and saying that we are superior to the other species in this way feels boastful and arrogant. Therefore, for objectivity’s sake, please allow me to talk about birds. I hope that it will make a difficult thing easy.

It is generally believed that the corvids are the most intelligent of the perching birds, and furthermore, that ravens are the most intelligent of these. A simple experiment demonstrates this. Tie a piece of meat onto a branch at the end of a long string. The first bird to come along tries to fly away with it, but of course when the string is taut it loses it and the meat ends up dangling by the string. No bird can eat it in this situation and none can figure it out, no bird of prey or gull or even any jay or crow.

The raven, though, is different. It sits and looks and flies about and gets different angles and ponders and thinks. Eureka! It knows what to do. It reaches down with its beak and pulls up a loop and steps on it. This it repeats until it has the meat back on the branch and enjoys its meal. It is this ablity that ravens have over their brethern and we have over them that is what is meant in this context by "intelligent" in this context. It is not perception and the mental mapping of perception.

Animals are about as intelligent as they need to be and no more. You see, brains are very expensive, metabolically, and there is usually something more important to dedicate one’s metabolic resources to. Intelligence beyond what is necessary to survive is therefore not a viable evolutionary strategy.

Therefore, I am restoring the recently removed statement about humans beings being more intelligent. Chrisrus (talk) 01:35, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I also don't agree with humans being more intelligent. The example you give of the raven is a determination made with a human bias: humans designed the experiment to explore a certain type of intelligence, perhaps the type of intelligence that humans can best understand. One such species of bird solves the experiment in such a way that humans can identify with, so therefore you are concluding that is a fair to say that the ravens' display of intelligence outweighs the intelligence of the other birds. Design the experiment in alternate fashions, and you may allow for different species to prevail. The raven may excel at certain complex tasks as you mention, but it would be faulty to say that the other species of bird do not also exceed, to the same or greater extent, at a different style of intelligence which are advantageous over the raven. It would only be fair to conclude that one species was more intelligent than another, if in fact, one species had the ability to prevail at all types of intelligence. 67.85.255.112 (talk) 13:45, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Conservation status

I still don't understand the need for the coservation status on the article. You can claim NPOV like one person did to me a few months ago but I don't buy it. It would be a pretty safe assumption that 99% of humans capable of reading this wirki would realize there's enough humans in the world that we are in no danger of dying out tomorrow. And if we were Wikipedia would be so far down at the bottom of list of things to do, it wouldn't matter. And I also get the third person thing but it still doesn't make sense to me. So despite the fact the source for this thing gave humans a rating, a rating I find pretty useless, I don't think it would hurt the article from an encyclopedic POV to remove it. CRRaysHead90 | Get Some! 01:54, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Me neither.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:26, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
I disagree. If it's worthwhile attempting to make the article as objective and as comprehensive as possible, then we need to cover the topic of our species in the same way we cover the topics of other species, as far as is (humanly) possible. Rivertorch (talk) 05:39, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Thats not a meaningful argument. Humans are different from other animals and there is no reason they should be covered with the same template.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:39, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Every animal species is different from other animals. While humans might be termed exceptionally different—for instance, they are the only species that writes, reads, and argues about encyclopedia articles—it's hard to see how that gives us license to make a special exception and exclude from their article a designation applied by a reliable source that we include as a matter of course in other species articles. From this page's FAQ, which I played no part in writing but have long thought was sensible:

we ought to aspire to treat Human in much the same way that we treat every other species article. Ideally, we should make exceptions of Human only where objective, verifiable facts demand that we make exceptions (e.g., in employing a lengthy culture section).

I'm more than willing to be persuaded on this. One starting point might be presenting objective, verifiable facts that warrant our making an exception in this case. Rivertorch (talk) 19:40, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Explain to me how the term 'least concern' would be applied in the case of humans. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:09, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
It's a valid question, but it's for the IUCN and not me to answer. (I'd be happy to speculate, and I suspect it would be an interesting discussion, but not on this talk page.) If we accept the IUCN as a reliable source and consider their designations noteworthy, then we shouldn't pick and choose which ones to include. Rivertorch (talk) 17:03, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
I do not think there is any WP policy which says we must include info just because the source is reliable. Conservation refers to the action by humans to prevent the loss of other species, it obviously has no meaning when applied to humans. We could use a bit of common sense here. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:37, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
I wasn't suggesting there was any such policy. I suppose I was suggesting that this is an article on a species, and consistency between species articles is a good idea. Your definition of conservation seems unnecessarily narrow, btw. Rivertorch (talk) 19:40, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
I think my definition of conservation is exactly what it is. It is activity exclusively be humans, you surely cannot doubt that, or have you heard of conservation projects organised by different species. It is directed exclusively at other species. I have never heard the term conservation applied to humans, have you? Martin Hogbin (talk) 00:22, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

Readers benefit from learning that this species has been assessed by experts and they’ve judged our survival into the foreseeable future highly likely. I have used this reassuring datum to sway a Gloomy Gus or two, and others may similarly benefit. Chrisrus (talk) 00:09, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

'Assessed by experts'? In what sense has the survival of the human race been assessed by experts? Which experts? How did they reach their conclusions?
No, the concept of conservation is clearly inapplicable to humans.Martin Hogbin (talk) 00:22, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
I hope that the article Conservation status answers your questions. That article doesn't seem to define the term exactly as you do. Chrisrus (talk) 00:38, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
The article misses out the obvious, which is contained within the word 'conservation' itself. Clearly, conservation is not just about observation of the viability of species but also about action that humans might take to influence this. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:26, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
It depends on the assessment. When they assess as "Endangered" or "Threatened" and so on, they call for different degrees of urgency that humans take action to influence this. Assigning a species "Least concern" or "extinct", no such action is being called for. Chrisrus (talk) 16:55, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
Conservation status is something humans assign to other species. But the basic point of this article is that it should be based on the sources, not on whether articles on other species have this as a standard. I challenge you to find a single general work about humans that includes information about conservation status. The vast majority of books about humans do not treat humans as "just another species" and there is no good reason that the wikipedia article should either.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:43, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
"Conservation status is something humans assign to other species." But the IUCN, which consists entirely of humans (afaik!), also assigns conservation status to H. sapiens sapiens. Are you saying this is a fringe thing? Our article calls the IUCN "the world's main authority on the conservation status of species". According to its own literature, that body's Species Survival Commission (SSC) is "a science-based network of more than 7,500 volunteer experts from almost every country of the world [whose] members include researchers, government officials, wildlife veterinarians, zoo and botanical institute employees, marine biologists, protected area managers, [and] experts on plants, birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates." I have no idea why they've chosen to include humans among the species to which they assign a conservation status, but the inescapable fact is that they have. Rivertorch (talk) 19:29, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
But that does not give us an inescapable obligation to report it - especially since the information is not a part of the literature on the topic.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:56, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

Keeping the Conservation Status up to date

Hey, this brings up an interesting point: how can we ensure our CS is kept up-to-date? If it ever changes, readers will want to know. Chrisrus (talk) 00:09, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

Very funny. If human conservation status actually changes then you will not need to ask IUC or wikipedia to find out.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 13:26, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Super-stupidity of the masses. A thing rating conservation, i.e. protection from, the single species that is either capable of conserving or presenting a threat of mass extinctions, is stupidly applied to that single species. It's like the thread above, an example of the failure of education. Able to compose text, but thinking, putting stuff in an intelligent perspective ... not so much. 76.180.168.166 (talk) 13:09, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
You are, of course, quite right. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:29, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Actually, it is worse than you suggest. Either the term is completely meaningless and thus has no place in a encyclopedia or some meaning is to be attached to it, which is even worse.Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:34, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
I could see where you might think that, but it turns out upon investigation that the concept of Conservation status applies not only non-human animals, but also to human beings. We have been assessed, and, as the article least concern states, given that status, and it's an at least potentially interesting, surprising, curious, and useful datum that we extend to the readers, so we probably shouldn't deny this information to them. You are right that normally when experts speak about "conservation" they are talking about non-human species, but evidently not always, and that is something readers can learn from this article. Contrary to what one might think, they at least sometimes extend the concept of, if not "conservation", than at least "Conservation status" to humans. Chrisrus (talk) 14:26, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps you could tell me exactly what least concern means with reference to humans and, in particular, in what way might it direct our actions towards this species. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:08, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Doesn't the article least concern say what it means, with reference to humans? Does it not make it clear that, by definition, nothing needs to be done? We're supposed to take action somewhere between "least concern" and "extinct", with widely varying degrees of urgency. Chrisrus (talk) 05:53, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
Kak vase nemye ochesestvo? 76.180.168.166 (talk) 14:41, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
I'd disagree with Martin Hogbin on this one, if every species has a conservation status then so should humans. We all know that sheep are far from going extinct, this doesn't mean we shouldn't have a conservation status for them. As a rule, it's better to put it for ALL species. You shouldn't assume anything about the state of knowledge or reasoning about the reader. Personally I wish humans did go extinct and maybe other animals would have a chance of surviving and eventually the world return to relatively normal. Anonywiki (talk) 22:21, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
If humans went extinct, the backlog at WP:AIV would become unmanageable. Rivertorch (talk) 04:34, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

H. s. idaltu

I don't think it is a good idea to mention H. sapiens idaltu in the way it has been done by Paine Ellsworth. I have not yet seen any thirdhand sources accept White and Asfaw's claim at face value - i.e. it is not fully established that idaltu is a subspecies of 'H. sapiens rather than just a slightly divergent archaic Homo sapiens, and it certainly is not well established that H. sapiens sapiens' should have evolved directly from H s. idaltu. Since it is undue weight to merely accept White and Sfaws claims based on their first publication and it is even more undue weight to go into a discussion of the problems and caveats I think the best is to mention H. s. idaltu only in the main article on Human evolution and restrict this article to saying that H. sapiens evolved from archaic H. sapiens to which H. idaltu is generally counted whether or not it is considered a separate subspecies or not.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:15, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

I do not have a very strong opinion on this but I tend to agree that it is not the purpose of WP to be at the forefront of taxonomic or evolutionary research. Generally, we should only report well established and accepted facts.
Perhaps Paine Ellsworth could propose some brief and cautions wording on H. s. idaltu for consideration? Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:32, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, I'm not an expert and so will defer to whatever involved editors decide. I've been at work on the various articles on human evolution to ensure that the Latin names are italicized and other gnomish tasks. When I came to the Human article (H. sapiens redirects here) and read the part where I inserted H. s. idaltu, it just seemed like a "glaring omission" to me to not have some mention of perhaps the strongest candidate next to H. s. neanderthal for another truly "human" species. If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong.
I'm sure it must be a struggle these days to study the fossils and data, and then to draw acceptable conclusions. I've visited many different countries, and I have actually met people whom, if I were to see a wax impression of them in a museum labeled "Neanderthal" or "Idaltu", I wouldn't find it objectionable. All I mean is that there is a wide range of variability in today's human anatomy, and we're all H. s. sapiens. I can't imagine how tough it is to draw the lines in paleontology, especially with the relative scarcity of some specimens. – PAINE ELLSWORTH CLIMAX! 18:24, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Could we not say something not quite so strong about 'H. s. idaltu'. There does seem to be a case for mentioning something about them. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:13, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. In order to avoid the valid objections to my first attempt, it would have to be brief and not unduly weighted toward the finalism that I implied. I'm sure that it will still require some tweaking, so let me try again, and I hope that it will be honed and polished until it is a viable addition to this article:

A 1997 fossil find at Herto Bouri in Ethiopia is said by its discoverers to be a new subspecies of Homo sapiens. They say this extinct human line differs from modern humans enough to warrant the name Homo sapiens idaltu. Further study may unveil a new species, H. idaltu, or the fossils might be found to be specimens of one of the known species mentioned above. The discoverers maintain that these fossils represent direct ancestors of modern humans.

Let me suggest that we add this to the Evidence from the fossil record section as a final third paragraph. Thank you for any and all further consideration of this text for inclusion. – PAINE ELLSWORTH CLIMAX! 03:39, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
That sounds highly speculative. I'm absolutely sure the information belongs in other articles, but I wonder if it's a bit premature to mention it at Human. If it's included here, I'd suggest making it even more concise and trying to avoid phrasing it in terms of the claims of the discoverers. Rivertorch (talk) 06:58, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
How would you word it, Rivertorch? If we avoid claims phrasing, it would lend undue weight to a speculative discovery, no? Your suggestion seems to disqualify the inclusion of an important scientific find that should be given at least a mention in the Evidence from the fossil record (that section is not headed Proof from the fossil record). And aren't some of the other species mentioned also a bit speculative? There is the controversy that involves whether or not the robust Australopithecines should be called Paranthropus. There is the "sometimes classified as a separate species Homo ergaster". There are the debates that involve Homo antecessor, and so forth. You don't find the exclusion of what might turn out to be another subspecies of H. sapiens, or at the very least a possible new species of Homo, to be a "big hole" in that section of this article? – PAINE ELLSWORTH CLIMAX! 13:35, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps an addition to the ending, such as:

A 1997 fossil find at Herto Bouri in Ethiopia is said by its discoverers to be a new subspecies of Homo sapiens. They say this extinct human line differs from modern humans enough to warrant the name Homo sapiens idaltu. Further study may unveil a new species, H. idaltu, or the fossils might be found to be specimens of one of the known species mentioned above. The discoverers maintain that these fossils represent direct ancestors of modern humans; however, debate within the scientific community – and further study – continue.

(?) – PAINE ELLSWORTH CLIMAX! 16:56, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Face-smile.svg Thank you very much, ·ʍaunus·snunɐw·! Your suggested version is more than acceptable for now. We shall see what the future will bring. – PAINE ELLSWORTH CLIMAX! 02:37, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Yuck to the "and-or"; if we're going to use that construction, which is deprecated, it should be a slash, not a hyphen. But it would be better to reword it. I'm fine with the substance of the change. Rivertorch (talk) 05:27, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
How about:

A 1997 fossil find at Herto Bouri in Ethiopia is said by its discoverers to be an extinct human line that is the direct ancestor of modern humans and differs enough from modern humans to warrant classification as the distinct sub-species Homo sapiens idaltu. The debate on this subject continues and further study may unveil a new species, H. idaltu, or the fossils might be found to be specimens of one of the known species mentioned above..

Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:16, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Well of course I like it!>) In fact the only thing that might bring a little more clarity for gentle readers would be to make the following small modification: . . . an extinct human line that is the direct ancestor of modern humans and differs enough from Homo sapiens sapiens to warrant classification as . . . – PAINE ELLSWORTH CLIMAX! 13:56, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Nah, more than a sentence is undue weight. It is also an incoherent wording (it is not entirely coherent to say that it is extinct line and a direct ancestor, except if we accept a clear speciation event separating the two clines). The suggestion of it being its own species seems completely gratuitous and highly speculative. The mainstream view seems to be the opposite namely that both the OMO and Herto finds are just early Homo sapiens, and that the observed anatomical differences are simply a result their being transitory between Archaic H s and anatomically modern H s.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:02, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
How about:

A 1997 fossil find at Herto Bouri in Ethiopia is said by its discoverers to be a human line that is the direct ancestor of modern humans and differs enough from modern humans to warrant classification as the distinct sub-species Homo sapiens idaltu. This classification is not generally accepted.

Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:58, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

But why is that necessary? There are a lot of different specific finds and proposed subspecies we could mention.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:58, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Bad example

Given the bodymods, the current 'adult man' image (pataxo001.jpg) doesn't seem like the best choice to me. 92.15.59.131 (talk) 22:53, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Why not? Body modification is natural and common human behavior, just like kempt beards, dreadlocks, baseball caps, eyeglasses and earrings.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:56, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

I'm inclined to agree. Since the purpose of the section is to show the human lifecycle, it might be more appropriate to make this selection of images less diverese (in terms of race and dress) to better focus on the differences associated with aging. 94.6.15.243 (talk) 20:54, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Ideally, to show aging, we'd have images taken over many decades of the same person (or persons). Unfortunately, that's a tall order. (Although if we start now . . .) As long as we can't do that, I don't see that the diversity really renders the concept less clear. Rivertorch (talk) 05:48, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

I agree only on the grounds that his face is significantly less clear than the faces of the children, woman, or elderly people, as in you cannot tell his age group as easily as the others by looking at just his face. TreboniusArtorius (talk) 19:58, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

Feel free to improve upon it if you can, but it's the best we have at the moment. Chrisrus (talk) 00:13, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

Further to Chrisrus's comment, it is actually more difficult than it seems to find an image of a "typical" human male. Most images available are of people who are famous for some reason (sports people, politicians etc) which isn't ideal. Unnachamois (talk) 09:25, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

I agree, the example should be of a less modified adult male. Alistoriv (talk) 21:19, 29 April 2013 (UTC)Alistoriv

Grammar Issue

Correct me if I'm wrong, but under Culture-Language where it says 'Humans are the only animal species who is able to ask questions' shouldn't it be 'Humans are the only animal species who are able to ask questions' as neither 'Humans' nor 'Species' is in its singular form therefore the verb 'to be' shouldn't take a singular form of 'is' and instead 'are'. Alternatively the sentence could read 'Humans are the only animal species able to ask questions' — Preceding unsigned comment added by Googolplexity (talkcontribs) 16:45, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Better still, "Humans are the only species able to ask questions". I've changed it to that. If anyone knows of plants or fungi or whatever that justify inclusion of the word "animal", feel free to correct me! Rivertorch (talk) 20:22, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Population density

World population density 1994.png

I think that a map of the human population density could be put along with (or in the place of) the map of human range. It seems to be more informative. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 200.136.207.220 (talk) 16:14, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Good idea. But, why 1994? Can we get a new one? Chrisrus (talk) 03:12, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Looks like a good idea to me too. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:07, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Living or extant?

Regarding this well-intentioned change, while the meaning remains reasonably clear, the words are not quite synonymous (and in fact do not appear in each other's entry in either of my thesauri). Extant, meaning "surviving" or "still in existence" (my emphasis, obviously), carries the implication that other, comparable species have become extinct. It is a word that's frequently used in reference to species, and I don't think it's esoteric in the least. (I'm pretty sure I first encountered it in primary school.) While it's often a good idea to avoid a ten-dollar word when a ten-cent word will do, the downside of simplifying any article's vocabulary too much is that it eliminates opportunities for learning. Carry that to its logical conclusion and we're left not only with dumbed-down articles but dumbed-down readers. If this were the Simple English Wikipedia, I wouldn't object. Since it's not, how about restoring extant along with a nice interwiki link to the precise word in Wiktionary? Rivertorch (talk) 23:12, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

(Noting that another editor has reverted to extant) How about the Wiktionary link? Does anyone else think that might be helpful? Rivertorch (talk) 23:34, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
I am sure the change was made in good faith but, as you say, there is a subtle difference in meaning between 'living' and 'extant' which you have explained above. As another example of the difference in meaning we can have extant types of rock for example although these are not living. Another way to describe the word is as the opposite of 'extinct', which is not quite the same as 'dead'. I would have no objection to the wictionary link. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:46, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
 Done. Rivertorch (talk) 22:22, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

humans are primates?

I disagree with the first sentence. For over 500,000 years we have struggled to answer this question. Saying that we are primates negates all of that. It's a scientific opinion, true, but very materialistic. We operate primate bodies, but saying we are primates is like saying that since we drive vehicles, we are the vehicles. Forgot to sign it: 71.22.155.114 (talk) 12:40, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

This is not a forum, we go by sources. Oh and we are primates, whether you like it or not. Dbrodbeck (talk) 15:52, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
Do you have a proposed rewording? Wikipedia articles should clearly state the obvious and give appropriate weight to all published viewpoints - it shouldn't play down or gloss over basic, useful facts simply because a small minority of readers might find the information to be "true, but materialistic". --McGeddon (talk) 16:00, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you mean by "a small minority of readers...." Do you mean the 84% who believe in spiritual matters, or the 16% who don't? Our bodies are primate, but the non-neutral POV that has decided we are nothing but animals is... non-neutral. 71.22.155.114 (talk) 14:02, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Its nonsense to consider the 84% of religious people as a single group they do not all share any single belief about what humans are or arent. For the vast majority of religious people there is no contradiction between the existence of spirituality and the fact that humans are primates. Also wikipedia is not supposed to reflect what many people believe, but what they know.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:06, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
To put it bluntly to IP, Wikipedia deals in scientifically-established facts and reliable sources whether you like it or not, regardless of the personal beliefs of anyone of any culture or religion. There are actually some people who believe humans are beings from another planet, but we don't include that opinion here, we include facts that are well-established in empirical science, which has classified humans as primates. Cadiomals (talk) 16:04, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Right. In other words, it is the consensus among the primates who edit Wikipedia that verifiable facts and not unverifiable opinions form the foundation of their encyclopedia. Many articles, including this one, acknowledge the existence of spiritual beliefs, but they don't present them as alternative sources of verifiable fact. The IP might pause and consider that the 84% he or she mentions (which is in itself unverifiable without a bevy of qualifiers) is far from monolithic, frequently argues within its ranks over even the most basic of spiritual "truths", and includes lots of primates who take science and verifiable fact very seriously. Rivertorch (talk) 18:43, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

I apologize for starting a p*ssing contest. 71.22.155.114 (talk) 13:43, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm sorry you see it that way. I think you received some rather measured, thoughtful replies. If you were to glance over the archives of this page (33 pages and counting), you'd see that you were offering a variation on an oft-sung refrain. Rivertorch (talk) 17:43, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

I've glanced over the archives. I see some people have Hegellian-itis. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.60.162.143 (talk) 15:02, 10 May 2013 (UTC) Wikipedia says an encyclopedia "is a type of reference work – a compendium holding a summary of information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge." It goes on to its derivation, enkyklios paideia, meaning "general education" or "complete knowledge". Are there serious arguments about this? 24.234.105.125 (talk) 21:57, 13 May 2013 (UTC) Okay, we must all be in agreement here. Hope that isn't a kick in the head. Elementalwarrior (talk) 17:16, 14 May 2013 (UTC) You're right; I did get some thoughtful replies. "The subject of this article is controversial and content may be in dispute." It is difficult for me, and perhaps others, to retain senses of humor and proportion when so many people are so serious. All right. This bald statement that a human is nothing but a primate seems so... inadequate. I agree, there's this primate body. But it's just a body. I mean, if all it took to be a human was a primate body, then a just-fertilized zygote would be human. So, if you are serious that all it takes is a primate body, then you must be just as serious in opposing abortion. Because that zygote has a primate body, ipso facto, it is human, and is deserving of human rights, such as, the right to life. Which brings up, what happens at death? There's a homo sapiens body right there, on the slab, no pulse, respiration, brain activity, or other bodily functions. But according to "Humans (Homo sapiens) are primates of the family Hominidae, and the only extant species of the genus Homo." a zygote as well as a dead body are human. So... that's all it takes, is a homo sapiens body? Elementalwarrior (talk) 12:42, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

It is a fact that science classifies Homo sapiens as a primate, and your personal opinions as to the merits of this are of no consequence here. This is not a forum - if you wish to speculate, do it somewhere else. Off-topic material is liable to be deleted from Wikipedia talk pages. AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:59, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
ISTM that you are trying to drag extraneous issues into this topic. Does this article say that humans are nothing but primates? If it does, then I would object. It is wrong to say that humans are nothing but primates, nothing but mammals, nothing but vertebrates, nothing but animals, or nothing but eukaryotes. It is also wrong to say that chimps are nothing but primates, that eagles are nothing but birds, or that E. coli are nothing but bacteria. Who is there that says that all that it takes to be a human is to have a primate body? That would mean that all primates are human, wouldn't it? And please don't try to inflame the issue by mentioning abortion, which has nothing to do with the topic. (Contemplate, for a moment, how it would be to apply your "logic" to your position. With great effort, I am resisting the temptation to take the bait. This is not the place to argue about such things.) TomS TDotO (talk) 14:06, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
Does this article say that humans are nothing but primates?
The first sentence of the article does define humanity in purely biological terms, something which I objected to several years ago when it was written. — goethean 14:33, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
Good god, this article really draws out the nutbags doesn't it? (yes I said this twice, it's worth saying twice!) Anonywiki (talk) 01:14, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Anonywiki, I hope you will bear with me. Don't get upset, please. I do have to say, please don't call people names. Calling people names can be seen as an attempt to dehumanize someone, and take away their rights. I believe you deserve the benefit of the doubt, and I don't think you meant all that.

Andy, I've seen your posts before and I have respect for you. However, please don't put words in my mouth. I understand about personal opinions and that is not my purpose.

Tom, I didn't mean to debate abortion. I can understand how it might seem that way. I agree with Goethean. The point is -- and I believe some people got it -- the first sentence is inadequate. I will explain what I mean, but I feel I have to go slow here, so as not to upset anyone. Please give me a chance. Elementalwarrior (talk) 05:14, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Terms such as "primate", "Homo sapiens", and "Genus Homo" are scientific technical terms of categorization, in which the scope is well defined. Established science is not considered a point of view here on Wikipedia, since it is, by itself, essentially, a "neutral credible source". Whatever percentage of people who have spiritual beliefs in conflict with this or disagree with ordinary scientific characterizations for whatever other reasons, doesn't change this, and has no relevance. If you want to incorporate this, you would have to add an addenda, such as: "Many people object to the scientific characterization of humans as a kind of animal." just to make it through the Wikipedia rules. But you still couldn't add such a sentence, because, it's not about humans; such a sentence would be about an introspection that some people have about humans, which is not on topic.

And BTW, the terms genus, primate, and homo sapiens have only all been around since the 18th century when Linnaeus coined them. So no, this has not been a 500,000 year debate. Qed (talk) 00:18, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Scope of the article

The above argument is caused, to some degree, by the article not adequately defining its scope. Although we have a section on religion and spirituality, the article treats humans primarily from a scientific perspective. Maybe it would help avoid the above kind of argument if, near the start, the article gave some indication of its scope .Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:13, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Maybe links to Humanity (virtue),Human nature, and Human condition would help. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:20, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Science is not a perspective. The essential content of science remains the same no matter what your perspective. Qed (talk) 19:35, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
There are whole sections of widely held human beliefs that are outside the scope of science. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:45, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, they include anything that is non-falsifiable. You're going to find that the overlap between that and things that you are not allowed to include except by meta-reference in Wikipedia is basically 100% Qed (talk) 21:00, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Hi, Martin. Thank you. I think Goethean pointed out that one problem is, it's primarily a biological viewpoint, which is just one science. So it's limited ("inadequate") even from a scientific perspective. It's not "general knowledge" so if you're not one of the 3.1 million biologists on Earth, you'll probably have to look up at least three words in that first sentence. Which illustrates the fact that Wikipedia is being re-written by academics, who forget that they use technical terms so often it is off-putting to 99% of humanity. That's one of the problems with this article, and the first sentence is a lightning-rod. As you've also written -- and as I've indicated before, but you're the first one to mention it -- this lead sentence ignores art, ethics, will, and more. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Elementalwarrior (talkcontribs) 13:50, 16 May 2013 (UTC) Sorry, my computer started shutting itself down, and I had to Save, Save, Save. Elementalwarrior (talk) 13:55, 16 May 2013 (UTC) Oh, I meant to say, this lead sentence also ignores intellect. Elementalwarrior (talk) 14:01, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

The following incorporates some of what I'm thinking. How about... "a primate (romeo sapiens) featuring the strongest and richest inner life of any known life-form, including intellect, will, emotion, and self-talk, plus the senses of morality, imagination, consciousness, spirituality, and aesthetics." And yes, yes, "romeo sapiens" is to keep it light-hearted. Smile, you. Elementalwarrior (talk) 16:51, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

I think it would be better to say fairly unobtrusively that this article deals principally with the animal aspect of humans and provide links to the articles that I have mentioned. Maybe just 'see also' for the links would do the trick. The subjects you mention are discussed in those articles. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:23, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
The species is Homo sapiens, and we don't put jokes in articles. As for the rest, the lede is supposed to summarise the body of the article, which is based on published reliable sources, not on impossible-to-verify assertions regarding the 'inner life' of different species. I suggest that in future you confine your comments to material actually of relevance to the article, as our patience has been tried quite enough already. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:21, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
You are overdramatizing the issue if you say we are biased to a "scientific perspective". These are just knowable facts about a topic presented in a way that works, not some alternate POV. The article has to spend lots of time talking about how we are different from all others, but first, we are also like many others mundane ways such as having elbows and such. So the practical way to do that is to do things such as call us primates, because in one word we eliminate the need to mention a mountain of things such as the fact that people breathe air and have backbones and urinate and so on, we just have to get all that out of the way with subject complements such as "primate". It's a way to get work done. Try writing this article without saying such things, you'll see. Even if we were to go on to say that we have a ghost inside us or whatver, that still doesn't negate to need to do the work that saying such things such as us being primates does. It just saves time and is obviouly true, and says so much at a mouthful. Chrisrus (talk) 18:33, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

You don't get it. That's my fault. I will fix it. Before that, some housekeeping:

First, I don't mention ghosts. That must have been someone else.

Second, the "subject complement" of my sentence is that we are primates. To me, that is but 1/3 of who and what we are, but I'm trying to work with you.

Third, I was agreeing with Goethean that the lead is biased towards one science: biology.

Fourth, Andy says the lead is supposed to summarise the body of the article; yet, Chrisrus says the article has to spend lots of time talking about how we are different from all others. So if us being different is so key... might the lead summarize/mention these differences?

I've been editing Wikipedia articles for 10 years now. I've never been so rudely treated.

I thought Wikipedia was for everyone.

And that's the problem. For over 22 years, in my free time I tutor. I've tutored in prison; I've tutored to keep teenagers out of prison. I've tutored seniors to get GED's. I've tutored ESL, even as far as getting Master's degrees. I don't make money at it; except once when the mother of a deaf kid who jumped 20 levels in reading and made the Dean's list, pressed $45 into my coat. I use Wikipedia to help my students. Believe me, Wikipedia is getting harder to use. Some people believe that "writing for an encyclopedia" means "make it hard to understand" and "this will help me sound erudite."

So help us. I'm working with a teenager who started out only knowing 18 letters of the alphabet. He was going to prison with his gang for a drive-by. The judge asked me to help. So I'm trying to give him something he can understand. One problem with the first sentence is, he has to look up at least seven words. Just in that first sentence. And that sentence -- with six of those seven words useless to him -- will turn him off to biology. However, if we have him look up words relating to the humanities in that first sentence, that will give him worthwhile clues to understanding himself. .Elementalwarrior (talk) 02:04, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

How many times do you have to be told that this isn't a forum? AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:04, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

I know it's not a forum. I'm following the talk page guidelines. They tell me to explain myself. "Communicate: If in doubt, make the extra effort so that other people understand you. Being friendly is a great help. It is always a good idea to explain your views; it is less helpful for you to voice an opinion on something and not explain why you hold it." Elementalwarrior (talk) 04:24, 17 May 2013 (UTC)


Okay. How are we going to fix it? Elementalwarrior (talk) 15:48, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

In my experience, before determining how to fix something, it's generally a good idea to agree that something needs to be fixed. Rivertorch (talk) 19:22, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Elementalwarrior, maybe the Simple English Wikipedia is what you are looking for. Martin Hogbin (talk) 21:22, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Rivertorch, there are three or more contributors in the current exchange that have expressed dissatisfaction with the first sentence. Looking over the archives, many, many more have stated it is inadequate. Don't get upset, but some of my students say it's lame. I have other students who use more choice language, lol.

Martin, thank you. I've been doing that more. However, who is that sentence written for? No one is answering that question.

More, that's why I was differentiating between my more basic students, who would have to look up at least seven (7) words in this one sentence; and my college-grad students, who would still have to look up three words. And many, after 10 minutes of puzzling over all this, still come away thinking that we should behave like a chimp.

So, I can go over a few other reasons why it needs to be fixed.

What if I re-write my opening sentence... which by the way states we be primates, lol. Elementalwarrior (talk) 23:03, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Fortunately for Wikipedia readers who need to look up an unfamiliar word, we have wikilinks. This feature obviates the need for dumbing down our sentences. Still, if you'd like to propose a "fix" to the alleged problem, please go right ahead. Rivertorch (talk) 05:23, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Rivertorch is right; what edit are you suggesting we make? This conversation is too abstract! Unless you have some specific idea what to do to the article, this conversation is pointless. Either describe an edit you would like to make or we have nothing to discuss. Chrisrus (talk) 07:59, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

"Humans are primates (homo sapiens) and of known life-forms, exercise the most powerful intellect, will, emotion, and self-talk." Same sentence length (18 words) as what's there. Elementalwarrior (talk) 21:51, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Okay, I'll bite. Assuming we revised it to make it grammatical, removed the bit about "self-talk" (whatever that is when it's at home), and somehow found sources for the rest (surely an impossibility, but let's just say it could be done), how exactly would that wording constitute an improvement over the current wording? Rivertorch (talk) 22:39, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Unsourced waffle. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:43, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
OMG, what the hell is that? No, that's not in any way an improvement over what is currently there. If you're trying to do that Sapolsky Humans-are-unique thing, then perhaps we could go with "Humans (Homo sapiens) are primates of the family Hominidae, notable for tool making, global habitation, clustering in large macro-scale societies, and engaging in environmental manipulation resulting from their advanced cognitive abilities." I don't know what you mean by things like "self-talk" -- we are the only species to talk period. If your intention is to include other forms of communication, then you have the worse problem that you cannot provide evidence that other organisms don't engage in "self-communication". Other animals have an intellect, and most certainly have emotion. (In fact, I think it can be fairly argued that chimpanzees have almost the identical emotional range as humans).Qed (talk) 19:35, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

As has been said in more than one way -- not just by me -- the current wording is misleading. People come away thinking they're some kind of chimpanzee.

Some anthropologists have argued we *are* some kind of chimpanzee. Qed (talk) 19:36, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

The current wording is inadequate. It makes it seem that the most important aspect to being human, is just the superficial. Sure, the primate body is the most obvious thing about us. But that's just the surface. Once someone has observed their own thoughts for more than thirty seconds, the most powerful aspects to being human reveal themselves.

So what we need are sources. I agree. How about Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Carl Jung, Frederick Neitzche, Carl Sagan, Mohandas Ghandi, etc.? Elementalwarrior (talk) 13:51, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

See WP:NOTFORUM. AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:58, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Elementalwarrior, that is why I added the links to Humanity (virtue), Human nature, and Human condition. These cover the non-biological aspects of humanness that you refer to.
These non-biological, non-scientific aspects are undoubtedly considered very important by the majority of the world's population and are covered in very many reliable sources but it would seem that the consensus regarding this article is to write it from a principally scientific viewpoint. You are unlikely to be able to change that consensus. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:22, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

If you would stop talking about "non-biological" aspects of this referent, it would help you. If this were the only ape with two tails, we would mention it in the lead's primary subject complement. The most distinctive things of any creature is what makes it deserve an article in the first place. In this case those include the intellect, social structure, and so on.

We still must say we are a primate or hominid, as doing so covers most of the basic "...has elbows..." -type stuff efficiently. The physical, mental, societal facts about the species that most prominently distinguish it, if found to be under-emphasized, can be made more prominent.

That'd be a perfectly reasonable type of edit having nothing to do with adding claims that aren't solid facts somehow but the domain of theologians, not anthropologists, or whatever you keep saying that blocks progress. Chrisrus (talk) 18:22, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Whether you or I like it or not theologians and philosophers have many strongly held beliefs that humans are more than just animals. There seems to be a consensus here not to deal with that aspect of humanness, which is why I have added the links to the articles that do deal with these theological/philosophical issues. The scientific aspects of humans are covered here and other aspects are covered elsewhere. Everyone should now be happy. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:50, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I am not proposing or supporting any changes to this article regarding non-scientific/spiritual aspects of humans other than the links that I have already added. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:36, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Hey, Martin, thank you. Elementalwarrior (talk) 21:41, 22 May 2013 (UTC) There's a Wikipedia article on "Intrapersonal Communication" redirect from "Self-Talk". Elementalwarrior (talk) 21:45, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

psychology

This section assumes that humans are animals with cool attributes. Not sure that's true, but it is "accepted" by people who write articles. lol. Why are the educated and over-educated as well as nerd's ideas so important? How come this article ignores the fact that 86% of the human race believes there are spiritual aspects to life? It's worse than merely ignoring. It tries to bury the idea, that we are spiritual beings animating bodies. Sorry, that won't go away. Can we at least mention that some scientists believe there is a spiritual aspect to being human? Maybe a mention of Faculty Psychology, which although has "fallen out of favor" has never been disproved or "non-straw man" challenged. Human beings have mental and spiritual faculties or abilities, such as reason, will, free will, self-talk, emotion, love, senses of morality and aesthetics, etc., that just can't be explained by "Humans are animals that can be conditioned." 71.22.155.114 (talk) 13:59, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

The spiritual aspect of being human is already covered in the article's "Religion and spirituality" section, with links to in-depth articles on these subjects. --McGeddon (talk) 16:04, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
My god this article really draws the nutbags doesn't it. Anonywiki (talk) 01:12, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Please stop being rude to people that you disagree with. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:50, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
The article does not ignore the fact that many humans engage in the practice of religion. It is a major part of the article. The fact that some humans think we are "spiritual beings animating bodies" is specific to religious/mythical content, and not central to what makes us human. Many human societies don't include these specific beliefs. Humans *ARE* animals with cool attributes. Disagreeing with this puts you on very shaky ground. What part of humans makes us non-animals? And any animal that get into a tin-can of their own making and visit other planets has pretty cool attributes. The fact that we have education itself is also very interesting, but we also have global communications and engage in memetic rituals like dance. This article has to end somewhere. Qed (talk) 19:47, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
This article treats the non-scientific aspects of humanness essentially as human behaviour. There is nothing wrong with that in a scientific article but the majority of humans believe in some other aspects to humans and many would consider these to be more important than the scientific ones. This is all very well covered in reliable sources.Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:41, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Human behavior is of scientific interest as well, so I have no idea what you are talking about with the first statement. What you might think the majority of people beliefs about what humans are is unlikely pass the Wikipedia tests for content. The onus is on you (or anyone else who thinks this article should have more "spiritual" content) to show otherwise. The suggestions I've seen so far, kind of speak to the weakness of the line of pursuit. Qed (talk) 19:57, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Oh and I'll also point out that NASA felt it was sufficient to not depict pubic, facial, or chest hair on the on the drawings of humans (without any regard to explain it's missing), and their subjects actually were aliens. Dancindazed (talk) 19:12, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Domain missing

The domain listing is missing for the taxonomy. It's supposed to be Eukaryota, but I can't figure out how to insert it because wikipedia is extremely user unfriendly. Can you please fix this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 134.241.58.251 (talk) 18:47, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

Although I don't see anything in the taxobox documentation that specifically says we can't list the domain, listing it would be inconsistent with the articles on the other great apes (and various other primates I spot-checked). Rivertorch (talk) 19:17, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
Then your template needs to be updated to reflect scientific consensus on how taxonomy works. If I could understand the thick and difficult wikipedia programming language then I would do it myself, but I don't. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 134.241.58.251 (talk) 16:02, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
I'm not clear that every taxonomic category should be listed in any article, but the best place to raise make a suggestion along those lines would probably be at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Tree of Life. Among Wikipedia's corps of editors are many scientists, and I think some of them hang out there. (I'm not one, and I don't.) Rivertorch (talk) 18:53, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

Really?

We have the article on humans like some foreign species; we are all human. It shouldn't be the subject of such valid criticism as noted at the Signpost with this commentary. [24] Its rather sad; the non-human view of humans is really alienating and off putting to readers. ChrisGualtieri (talk) 15:28, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

I found the blog article rather idiotic. "By which I mean the article for Human is written entirely in the third-person..." Well, yeah, how is it supposed to be written? We treat the topic as a regular article, just as Britannica does. --NeilN talk to me 15:35, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
I agree. How else would we treat it? Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:46, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Third person and alienation are two different things. "As humans are rarely preyed upon, except by other humans for a variety of reasons, they have been described as apex or superpredators." Is just bad wording. Substitutions may apply, but they only go so far, natural and proper prose must define a difference between alienation and commonality. ChrisGualtieri (talk) 15:56, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
I do not quite understand what you mean. How would you change the wording of the example that you have given? Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:25, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
I have made the same arguments many times on this talkpage. There is no good reason we shouldn't write "we" in the article about humans, and there is no way reason this article should be determined by the structure and layout of zoological articles.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:26, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Reason which you don't accept <> "no good reason". The first answer of the FAQ gives "good reasons". --NeilN talk to me 17:41, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Of course I am stating my disagreement with that reason. The reason is "because we don't do that". That isnt an actual reason, just a convention. The shifting of the pronoun is no problem and happens in thousands of texts about us humans, sometimes we use we to emphasize community and universality and sometimes we use the third person to emphasize specific group one is describing such as humans in the past, humans of specific genders or nations. We would just use "we" in those cases where all humans are included. Its quite easy and anthropologists o it all the time. Also in encyclopedias.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:46, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
The shift in pronoun, in my opinion, confuses the meaning a little. However intended, 'We do not eat meat', has a different feel from 'Humans do not eat meat'. It seems though, that Chris's main point was not about pronouns but something else. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:00, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
The point is that there is a different feel, that is why we prefer we sometimes. "We are the only soecies to have entered space" doesn't sound problematic to me forexample.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:17, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Convention -- that is, stylistic consistency -- is a compelling reason. Encyclopedia articles and educational material at high school level and above refer to humans-writ-large as "humans", not "us". Similarly, when Wikipedia covers topics that all of us humans share, it does so in articles with titles like "Human brain", not "Our brain". Emw (talk) 18:55, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
I don't think you are right about the exclusive third person usage - in fact I know you are wrong. And stylistic consistency doesn't apply universally, there may be good reasons that this particular article doesn't fall under the standard reasons not to use "we".User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:07, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Can you give an example of an encyclopedia article or educational material at high school level or above referring to humans-writ-large as "us" instead of "humans"? Emw (talk) 20:34, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Roger Lewin's college textbook "Human Evolution" on page 4 says "Homo sapiens the species to which we all belong"[25] he uses similar formulations throughout the text.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:54, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Brook, Van couvering, Delson & tattersal's "encyclopedia of Human evolution and prehistory"[26] writes on page 814 "we have evolved many structural features to deal with this precarious situation" and many similar constructions e.g. "We share the order of primates with lemurs" and on page 298 "we alone in the animal kingdom can choose to study our own evolutionary development"User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:58, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── My original comment was not purely pronoun based, but the simple fact that as an article on "humans" the deliberate alienation and zoologicial approach is confusing and at times laughable. A range of proper terms exist and I'll try and address some of them without ruining the existing "consensus". As I am no professor of English; but as a native speaker the lines are totally awkward for reasons which I cannot articulate with proper definition. For instance:

  • "War is a state of widespread conflict between states or other large groups of humans, which is characterized by the use of lethal violence between combatants and/or upon civilians. (Humans also engage in lesser conflicts, such as brawls, riots, revolts, and melees."

My changes:

  • "War is a state of organized armed conflict between states or non-state groups. War is characterized by the use of lethal violence between combatants and/or upon civilians to achieve military goals through force. Lesser, often spontaneous conflicts, such as brawls, riots, revolts, and melees are not considered to be warfare."

The change enacted removed the redundant, awkward and implied "humans". Also, ants wage war, enslave their own kind and also farm aphids. So for that reason, "war" is not purely a human act even though the definition is defined by humans. We know that bees also have intoxication problems and will even maim problem workers with a history of purposeful intoxication; much of this article seems to be acting like "humans alone do this" and "humans are this and that" even when it is not natural. Even the implied or tacit affirmation of this goes to the very heart of this problem; its not about "humans" as a species or our human nature/"humanity", but some work penned by an language-poor alien that needs to keep affirming that the subject of the article is human lest it becomes something else. That's why it is so awkward and terrible.

  • Courtesy break

Britannica dodges the question a bit by referring to "homo sapiens", but in reality why isn't human a redirect to "homo sapiens"? Or one to the other? Does the nature of being "human" present some philosophical difference that cannot be expressed otherwise? This is a major and deeply concerning aspect of Wikipedia's most critical content; content which is overlooked for cultural icons and events. I don't know if I should start an RFC on it, but I'd like to see "Humans" become the main redirect for "Homo sapiens" and keep detailed evolution details in its own article. Doing this will be really controversial; but it may need to be tackled in order to fix this mess. I doubt anyone is going to allow me to be bold and fix something like this all by myself. Let alone encourage such changes. ChrisGualtieri (talk) 03:08, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

That's an interesting idea. You would have to deal with WP:COMMONNAME though. --NeilN talk to me 03:58, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
Already dealing with a related issue to that on another page; but isn't "Human"/s preferred over "Homo sapiens" at this point? ChrisGualtieri (talk) 04:04, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflicts) No idea where you're going with the evolution comment, but anyway . . . I wouldn't have much of a problem with the specific proposed change in the paragraph about war, although I'm dubious about your suggestion that war isn't an exclusively human act. One may informally call conflicts among other species "war", but I'd say that's anthropomorphizing things just a little—akin to saying that owls meet in "parliament" or that flowers "dance" in the breeze. Of course, all of these terms are human inventions, as are words themselves. As for the larger question, I believe there are some really good reasons for avoiding the first person. Many of the reasons have been discussed at some length before (and this is certainly a perennial objection) but I'll touch on a couple of reasons just briefly.
  • First, clarity. Yes, talking about ourselves and our fellow humans in the third person can sometimes make for awkward wording, but shifting to the first person introduces its own instances of awkwardness which have the potential to be even worse. This is partly because one cannot use the first person exclusively, so there's shifting back and forth, which tends to make for ambiguity. It's also partly because the pronouns we, us, and our are inherently ambiguous. Just who is "we", anyway? It's more than just a collection of "I"s. What do I share with a Stone Age person in New Guinea other than the vast majority of my DNA and various characteristics that can all be described perfectly well in the third person? More to the point, what do I share with the humans who wage war?
  • Second, neutral point of view. Writing neutral, dispassionate text requires a detached style, and that's impossible to achieve in the first person. One ends up presenting content in an us-versus-them manner, which separates the topic from similar topics or even elevates it. We are great apes and primates and mammals and animals and so on; we are a species and, as the article on our species, this deserves similar treatment to the articles on other species. "We" blurs the necessary line between Wikipedia editor and Wikipedia topic, and it is a necessary line. Otherwise, why not write Hominidae—or, for that matter, Chordate—in the first person? If we can't write about our own species in a detached way then the only way to scrupulously avoid less than neutral treatment of the topic is not to have an article about it at all. AfD, anyone? Rivertorch (talk) 04:07, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
Humans writing objetively and neutrally about humans is impossible. The only thing you achieve by using third person is the false appearance of such neutrality. Also I think the idea is disproven by the fact that other encyclopedias and serious texts use first person when talking about the entire human species. We cannot write "we" to include hominidae or chordata because we are the only member of those groupings that are included in the readership.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 11:58, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
There are serious texts and then there are serious texts. As a reference work, Wikipedia has an established style of writing in the third person. As far as I know, that extends to all of its articles. I understand about sets and subsets, but I don't think it's quite as straightforward as you suggest. For instance, by your logic, I'd think that the lead paragraph for Hominidae could legitimately talk about four extant genera: that of chimps, gorillas, orangs, and "our own genera". Or how about Homo sapiens? We are the only extant member of that species, after all, and that could easily be rewritten with first person plural pronouns instead of repeated use of the word "humans". A narrower example, involving not our readership (who are arguably more "you" than "we") but you, I, and all the other individuals who contribute to this page, would be Wikipedia community. It seems to me that a very good case could be made for rewriting that article in the first person. (I don't think we should, but it is arguably even more awkward.) Rivertorch (talk) 15:05, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
the MOS is a guideline not a policy - if there is a consensus that it is to the benefit of the encyclopedia not to follow it any article can adopt a different style choice than the one it recommends. I think there might well be valid uses of the first person in the articles you mention - but in this one it is particularly odd to have it written in the third person as many readers and editors have noted.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:20, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
I'm well aware of the guideline status of MOS. Exceptions could be made even if it were policy, but in either case there should be a compelling reason imo. (Assuming you didn't mean to bold your entire comment, I took the liberty of adjusting what I took to be a coding typo. Feel free to undo if I got it wrong.) Rivertorch (talk) 05:15, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Ants do wage war and farm.[27][28][29] But that is a different matter. I don't intend to replace every case of human with "we" and "us", but instead limit the awkwardness by referring to every aspect as "human X" or "Y in human". Notice how rewording warfare removed "human", but still resulted in a stronger sentence? I'm not the best copyeditor, but I can nudge in the right direction. ChrisGualtieri (talk) 04:55, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
By all means, nudge. But I think you can take it too far. In many cases, removing mention of humans may result in a weaker sentence. Or an awkward sentence, as the case may be. Rivertorch (talk) 15:05, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
I won't make it purposely weaker to simply avoid mentioning humans; but if the wording is bad then feel free to switch it back. I've been tinkering with the working, but will attempt to copyedit it during some free time with pen and paper. ChrisGualtieri (talk) 15:13, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
I don't understand what it means or I'd help copyedit it. In particular, the sentence,

"The term "human" also designates the collective identity, often applied to superseding concepts of race and creed; e.g. "our" human nature and humanity.

makes no sense to me. Maybe my brain is not functioning today, but I don't get it. Re Maunus's cn tag: if you can find a source, perhaps it will all become clear. Rivertorch (talk) 05:10, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
The entire book below is a source. I even referenced that; how did you miss it? ChrisGualtieri (talk) 05:13, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Quite easily: it's in a different section. At any rate, the passage in the Google Books link doesn't illuminate your wording for me, I'm afraid. Rivertorch (talk) 06:51, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Improvements

Just making a new section for discussion of it. Maunus, would you take arguments from this book? [30] About humanity and defining it? The link starts off pretty well; but the work itself I have not read in its entirety, but it does draw upon other viewpoints in philosophical discussion that may be the most appropriate a quick search can find. Your thoughts? ChrisGualtieri (talk) 14:07, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

I like and agree with the content of the linked book page but I still do not quite see your point. The pronoun issue is, I think, not what you are getting at. Like Rivertorch, I think the used of 'humans' rather than 'we' is clearer and more encyclopedic.
Regarding the concept expressed on the linked page, I agree that it should be the tone in which the subject is discussed here. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:39, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Nature and scope

The nature and scope needs tending to. While several primate species of the human clade made fires and cooked, the article implies only Homo sapiens did so. This is also true of other facts in the article. "Human" more broadly defined should be dealt with first, saying those things all hominins have in common, and then quickly focusing on H. s. or H. s. s. specifically for the rest of the article. Chrisrus (talk) 15:52, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Where is it implied only Homo sapiens made fire and cooked? It says "the only extant species" and then later it states that Homo ergaster is thought to be the first species to do this.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:55, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Ok, you're right, but while that example may fail, notice the second occurance of the word "human", the subject of the second sentence; how clear is it that such things as bipedal locomotion, indeed all the complements attributed to second occurrence of the word "human" in the text; does that refer there to subspecies, species, genus, or the whole clade? Chrisrus (talk) 16:28, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
You mean this sentence: "Humans are distinguished from other animals by a relatively larger brain with a particularly well developed neocortex, prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes; enabling high levels of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, problem solving, culture through social learning, and other important mental capabilities which, combined with bipedal locomotion that frees the hands for manipulating objects, has allowed far greater use of tools than any other species"? I don't think this is ambiguous or problematic because it is equally true for Homo sapiens and for the genus Homo - they all display that combination of mental and anatomical traits at increasing degrees through our evolutionary history. Those traits define the broad scientific meaning of "human": a large-brained, highly intelligent, tool-using, upright-walking primate.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:35, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Ok, but please notice it distinguishes humans from all other "animals" and then later from all other "species", but not from other genuses or primates. H. s. is distinguished from the rest of the clade in the cortex and temporal lobes, the rest of the clade also had the bipedialism and hands and tool use and so on.Chrisrus (talk) 17:50, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Actually all of Homo is characterized by larger brain size - in H. habilis its only a little larger, but already with H. erectus it becomes a lot more. It's all down there in the article text. Maybe the reference to "species" should be changed to animal as well?User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:02, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

I'm thinking it should go something like this: "Humans (H. s.) are the last species of their kind, a branch of the primate family tree that shares a common ancestor with the apes but instead stood up and moved about on two legs, freeing the hands for tool use, all of whom may be thought of as "human"; archaic, early, or primitive humans, to one extent or the other. Modern humans differ from these and all other animals by their complex brains, specifically the temporal lobes and prefrontal cortex, enabling a greater capacity for language, abstract thought, and advanced reasoning." Something like that. The specifics aren't my main point, the point is here we have the broader definition and the characteristics that go with it, and then next the specific referent of this article, and how it differs from not only those other hominins but also all other animals. Chrisrus (talk) 22:54, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

I think that is a more convoluted than necessary, and less accurate too. The "last species of their kind" is particularly problematic - it would be accurate to say "the only extant species of the genus Homo which emerged from a common ancestor with...". We don't share a common ancestor with apes - we are apes, and all apes share a common ancestor, and we share an even more recent common ancestor with Chimps and Gorillas. It is also not correct that we differ in the "complexity" of our brains - the difference is in volume relative to bodysize, and particularly the size of the frontal lobes and cortex. Also it "greater capacity for language" is problematic since we don't know that any other species - Homo or not - have had a communication system that we would consider language. It is correct that bipedality developed first in Ardipithecus and Australopithecus followed by encephalization in Homo habilis - but both are characteristinc of what we consider the "Human clade".User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 01:50, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, that was a good edit.
The genus is not broad enough, though. The species needs to be defined, compared, and contrasted with the whole the human clade, not just the genus, and what minimally makes the word at least potentially applicable to the whole clade, and what makes the species different from not only all of the other human species, but all species.
I spoke of the structure, not the size, of the brain because whales and elephants and even maybe Neanderthals have bigger brains. But those brains are bigger because of sensory processing and environment mapping instead of pre-frontal cortex reasoning and thinking areas. It needs to spell out what is different about fully human brains, which is structure, not overall size per se. Chrisrus (talk) 16:02, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
But I start by describing bipedality which is the defining feature of the human clade. The defining feature of the genus Homo is tool use. Also as I mentioned it is not so much the structure of the human brain that sets it apart, but its size relative to the body. And yes, neanderthal brains were bigger than modern humans relatively as well as absolutely. Elephants and blue whale braisn are only larger in absolute terms. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:21, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that's good but we don't mention the whole clade, all of whom, Homo or not, are arguably "human" depending on the strictness of defionition. Second, there might be a problem with the word "relatively" as I was reading it as relatively to other species, not to the size of the body. Neanerthals had huge eyes and therefore would have had big visual centers in their brains. But over eons they aparently created no art or advanced much at all in terms of technologhy, and did other non-human things like shit where they slept and ate no vegetables and other things that set them apart from the main referent of this article, in other words were quite un-human but exactly like what you'd expect from a bear or some such. So the point is, it's not just the size of the brain relatively to body sizze or not, it's the size of specific structures in the brain, specifically I gather the prefrontal cortex and temproal lobes or whereever the abstact thought and such resides. It's this that makes us fully human, and unlike not only the rest of the clade but also all other Earth creatures. Chrisrus (talk) 18:29, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Changing Conservation Status

I'm proposing to change the conservation status of Human to threatened - they have stockpiled nuclear weapons that could destroy all life on earth a few times over. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.230.131.78 (talk) 03:01, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

Indeed they have. However, as the links under the status indicate, the status is determined by the IUCN, not by Wikipedia. Rivertorch (talk) 03:54, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

edit requests

Explanation of irreligious

"Although the exact level of religiosity can be hard to measure, a majority of humans professes some variety of religious or spiritual belief, although many (in some countries a majority) are irreligious. This includes humans who have no religious beliefs or are atheists, scientific skeptics, agnostics or simply non-religious."

There seems to me to be something tautological here, as currently wikified (irreligiousnon-religious). "This [latter group]"—ie the many who are "irreligious"—is explained in terms of the same link: "...or simply non-religious".

Would suggest something like: ...or do not identify with any religion.

86.161.251.139 (talk) 10:30, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

Definition of music

"Music is a natural intuitive phenomenon based on the three distinct and interrelated organization structures of rhythm, harmony, and melody."

I think this inappropriate generalization (in italics) should be brought into line with the lead of Music.

Perhaps something like: "...based on pitch (governing melody and harmony), rhythm, dynamics and timbre."

86.161.251.139 (talk) 10:52, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

Picture under biology

The female is wearing a ring and nail polish on her toenails. While this is not unusual, being naked and posing like that is a little unusual for humans. (I.e., you can't have it both ways.) This is a minor issue, but if the intent is to show humans as they are as a matter of biology, then the ring and nail polish are superfluous. Qed (talk) 05:11, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

It's the best picture we have. Please do take a better one and use it. Chrisrus (talk) 06:43, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
I have added a note to the caption. This was how we dealt with body modifications in the picture. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:09, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Is that really necessary? I hope we don't have to apologize for the belt marks on his waist as well. It's a long enough caption as is. Let those who find fault with that picture line up their own models against a white background and click. Chrisrus (talk) 03:47, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree a better picture would be good but until we have one we have to make do with one the in the article.
The caption is not intended as an apology but as an explanation. Presumable the picture is intended to be informative to people who do not know what a human looks like. It is conceivable that such a person may take the picture to indicate that women have naturally redder toes than men. I do not think a long caption does any harm but mentioning the belt mark may be going a bit too far. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:44, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Sadly this article does sometimes give the impression that it is written for non-human lifeforms, and the caption certainly seems written that way. Since I think that we can safely assume that non-humans reading Wikipedia are few and far between, trimming the caption seems a sensible option. If any non-human objects, we can of course revert... AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:56, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
It's just a manner of speaking. All our articles are supposed to be written for someone with no knowledge of the subject. We only assume they know English, that is all. The effect is that this article is written for a non-human, but everyone should always just be reasonable and in this case it might seem too strange to point out that humans don't naturally have colorful fingernails, a mark around the waist, nor haircuts. Chrisrus (talk) 20:31, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Andy, I disagree for two reasons. The first is a practical one. Before I added the comments about the hair there were endless arguments on this page about whether we should show our subjects in what some considered to be a 'natural' state, with no hair trimming etc. This was resolved to the satisfaction of all by the use of what the consensus decided was the best available picture but with a caption explaining the body modifications. There has be no argument since. Changing the picture because of the nail polish seems unnecessary but nevertheless some people seem to object to it. Adding an explanation to the caption resolves this issue. To sum up adding an explanatory caption avoids endless arguments about which picture we should use.
Regarding aliens and our intended audience for the picture, the article and the picture are, of course, intended for humans. The picture is there, presumably, for people who, for whatever reason, do not know what humans look like, at least in some respects. I see no reason for not being as informative as we can and avoiding any possible misconceptions, for example that men do not generally have beards or that women have redder toenails than men. The argument, 'everybody knows that' essentially defeats the purpose of the article and WP. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:12, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Utterly ridiculous. AndyTheGrump (talk) 12:36, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Do you have any logical argument to support this statement?
What do you think is the purpose of the picture? Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:04, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Whatever the purpose of the picture, it cannot possibly be intended for people who don't know what a human being looks like, and to suggest otherwise is utterly ludicrous. Any more stupid questions? AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:09, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps you could just answer the first one. What do you think is the purpose of the picture? Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:23, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't know. Perhaps you should ask the person who added it. AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:25, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Maybe you should leave decisions on the wording of the caption to those who do know the purpose of the picture. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:55, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Maybe you should leave the writing of articles about human beings to people who don't think they are writing for aliens. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:01, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I think you guys have all gone off the rails. Look, the picture is trying to present something. Humans, of course. But why are they naked? Being naked is *not* the natural state of a human. Even Masai warriors, Papua New Guineans and Guarani wear some sort of clothes. You can defend the picture as is, if you claim it is meant to depict biological manifestation solely from normal genetic and developmental progressing through to a little under average age. So then they are analogous to a "type specimen" or something like that. But then comes my comment about the ring and nail polish. It's a small issue -- if there are no better photographs, then so be it. The exterior alien point of view discussion is even more minor. A young person who has never thought of humans as its own distinct species of animal just needs to be presented with something that basically helps them describe in a clinical way, the difference between a human and a chimpanzee. Qed (talk) 23:55, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I do not disagree with you, it is important to separate the pure biological aspects of the picture from the cultural ones. The picture is intended to show the basic anatomical features of humans, many of which are usually obscured by cultural artefacts. As the picture still contains some cultural features, hair removal, rings, nail polish, it is important to point these out. Many other pictures in the article show humans as they are actually found in different cultures.Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:13, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Just visiting the article; I have some opinions on the topic. Pointing out the ring and shaved hair is a bit off-putting. It distracts rather than adds to the article. I'm a human capable of reading the article, therefor I have some knowledge basis that humans don't naturally grow rings around their toes. The hair, okay, maybe it's worth pointing out, but isn't it our already assumed knowledge of humans that even causes us to point something like that out? Use some perspective. I mean if you go look at the hermit crab article (the closest thing I know of to another animal wearing clothing in its most natural state) and the picture of it without its shell, maybe that particular hermit crab has one of its antennae plucked off; I mean who cares? The purpose of the picture is to give the reader a general understanding of what it looks like without its shell, as is the nude picture of a human. Another example would be to go look at the American Bison article. Is every picture of the bison (with its various stages of shedding and growing fur) going to thoroughly explain what the Bison has done to its hair in the caption? (This bison has rubbed the fur off of its hind quarters but still has clumps of fur hanging from its front right leg.) Perhaps that may better explain why it seems ridiculous to some of us. Dancindazed (talk) 18:58, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Is the male model circumcised ? (I cannot make out) If so -should this minority body part removal (cutting off of the foreskin tip of the penis) feature in the representative photo ?--— ⦿⨦⨀Tumadoireacht Talk/Stalk 00:31, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
Again, if this is so it should be mentioned.
No, the male model is not circumcised. This should be extremely obvious, but I'm from the United States where circumcision is very common (and therefore, easily recognizable). --71.225.105.104 (talk) 17:35, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
Dancindazed, I am sure that most of us know many things about humans including many that are described in the article but we have to write assuming our audience does not know about the subject. There are people with all sorts of bizarre misconceptions about many things. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:53, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Martin, I don't think my p.o.v. on how that part should be written doesn't really contradict what you say, and I agree with you. Here's what I see as the issue or the question, why are the minute details of humans being written about with such thoroughness that put other animal articles to shame? Just take any other animal, when one uploads a picture of a Rhino to the Rhino article, is one going to inspect it for traces of mud on its leg, and if found said mud, is one going to suggest that there should be a caption pointing out to the reader that the Rhino doesn't naturally molt mud from its leg, or have a brown spot on its leg, or is one going to assume that the reader has at least enough intelligence to ignore the mud, or understand it's just mud? What's happening here is that some of the humans who are writing the article are so afraid of assuming anything is "just known" about humans, that it's creating an insanely, oddly, DE-humanized article, that appears not to just be written for someone who is unaware of humans, but unaware of earth habitat and anything known to it, which is just a weird and unuseful way to write the article. Dancindazed (talk) 06:39, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

Good article?

Anyone think it's time to renominate this as a good article again? Been a long time since 2008... --LukeSurl t c 10:07, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

No, because it's basic definition is too taxonomic and not cladistic enough. It means little to the reader to say we are remember of a certain genus; it means more to say that we are the last of a branch on the Tree of Life that split from the knuckle-walkers around ten million years ago or so, all of whom, not only this genus, to varying degrees stoop up and walked about on two legs and depended on hand tools and could be arguably called "human". The body tells this story well, but the lead doesn't summarize it as well as it could. It is imprecise by not speaking in terms of branches on a family tree, ignoring the rest of the human clade, and leaning on taxonomy, which, while indispensable, draws sharp lines between things that don't really exist in nature when you look at it as branches on a tree. Chrisrus (talk) 18:59, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
Agreed... even the content needs a lot of sourcing and work, it is highly contentious in some aspects and overly broad to a fault in others. We cannot even get the meaning of "human" correct in the article, by species or genus. ChrisGualtieri (talk) 19:20, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
Article don't have 'Human' feeling. Too much toxonomical and alien touch. Looks like written for Aliens for their encyclopedia. neo (talk) 20:26, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
While the third person perspective may be a bit off-putting, I think you'll find if you try to make it first person it doesn't work as well.
By "taxonomy", I was talking about this type of idea: User_talk:Chrisrus#Beyond_Taxonomy. While biologist need to have a box for each specimen, the tree of life is one long smooth transition with no sharp division from trunk to branch to twig. It's more precise to speak of us as the last of a branch that split from the chimp branch and at first was no more human than a slightly less erect chimpanzee, but who are called "other species of human" when they resemble us enough to merit the genus label "Homo (genus)". Basically, not "homo sapiens are a species of a genus of a family", but instead "the last species of this branch of the primate family tree". It's taxonomic vs. clade-ist wording and imaging, less box-in-a-drawer" and more "position on a dynamic branch of the primate family tree". Chrisrus (talk) 21:12, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
The idea that first person perspective doesn't work is contradicted by the works about human biologty and evolution that use it. The problem with your approach is that this article is about Humans, the kind we all know and are - not about the human clade. That article would be Hominini. The primary topic for "human" is contemporary historical Homo sapiens, but not just in the biological sense but in all the senses of what we talk and think of as being human. This article for example should have a much more thorough discussion of the philosophical, psychological and anthropological discussions of what it means to be "human" and what sets us humans apart from other species. It should have a much deeper coverage of cognitive and social sciences and particularly humanities. You seem to be trying to make it even more of a zoological perspective by including the entire clade in the definition. That is contrary to WP:PRIMARYTOPIC and is exactly the opposite of what most reader who search for this article are looking for (judging from the persistsent feedback here that finds the zoologico-centric perspective alienating).User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:40, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
I don't want to focus on the clade for the whole article. I don't want the lead to do anything it isn't doing now, just to do it differently. Just replace genus with clade, and phrase it in terms of branches on the tree instead of taxon we belong to instead of taxa we belong to. I'm just talking about the first part of the lead, where we explain about the other humans and set that aside for the main task. It is where the question "what does it mean to be human" begins. It's also just more accurate. We don't belong to a artificially, somewhat arbitrarily arrived at taxon; we stem from our ancestors who slowly became human bit by bit. Our past makes us who we are.
If you want to try the first person approach, as far as I'm concerned, you are welcome to try, but I think you'll find it works better this way, and not just because it adds objectivity, but it sounds even more awkward that way. You exchange an air of a report to an alien intelligence for an one of bragging. Chrisrus (talk) 06:00, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes, because you totally avoid the air of bragging by writing "humans are noted for", of course then we all really believe that its the other species that think we're great.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:21, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Well, if you want to change it to the first person, that's fine with me. I like it better this way because of the objective tone it lends, but it's really not that important from my point of view; I predict others will object. What matters to me is that we define humans right upfront as one of a branch, the human clade, not just the genus Homo. We stem from with roots shared with the knuckle walkers, the branch includes Homo (genus) who are the most human of these, but a sub-branch of human clade. And how everything on that clade, from slightly upright chimp to the the most human of the others of our genus, even almost fully human because of what, which, XYZ characteristics that set us apart not only from the whole branch on the primate family tree and all other animals. That's how you focus in on the referent of this article and say what it really means to be human from a wider perspective. Simply "last of the genus Homo" isn't as good as a cladistics model. Chrisrus (talk) 04:51, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

That definition is against WP:PRIMARYTOPIC, Homo sapiens', is the primary referent of the word "human" - not all the other members of the clade. Also it is currently thought to be unlikely that the last common ancestor with chimps and gorillas was a knucklewalker. Knucklewalking seems to have developed separately in the clades panini and gorrilini. The article you are looking for about the human clade is located at Hominini.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 11:41, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
As it stands today, the article defines us as the last of the the genus Homo. This does not mean that this article is about the genus Homo. So, in the same way, saying instead that we are the last of the human clade would not change the primary topic from this species or subspecies to the clade. No more than as it is now, stating that we are the last of the genus Homo, changes the topic from the species or subspecies to the genus. Chrisrus (talk) 18:26, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

Nomination of Homo Sapiens for deletion

A discussion is taking place as to whether the article Homo Sapiens is suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia according to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines or whether it should be deleted.

The article will be discussed at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Homo Sapiens until a consensus is reached, and anyone is welcome to contribute to the discussion. The nomination will explain the policies and guidelines which are of concern. The discussion focuses on high-quality evidence and our policies and guidelines.

Users may edit the article during the discussion, including to improve the article to address concerns raised in the discussion. However, do not remove the article-for-deletion notice from the top of the article.

I can find no sign of the article in question, which seems only to have consisted of a redirect to here, or the deletion discusion. What am I missing? Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:00, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
I have found the discussion here. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:04, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
The article in question seems to be Homo_sapiens. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:08, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

No sources in philosophy

Just putting that in. You need it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.98.120.51 (talk) 00:52, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Please don't shout: I've rmvd the all caps. Seems the Philosophy and self-reflection section is a short section with two see main tags at the top. Does the section make controversial statements? Seems it doesn't really say much of anything - serving simply as a path to those see main articles. What specific content do you feel needs sourcing? Vsmith (talk) 15:17, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

the classification of human beings is really easy

Kingdom = ok Species = ok genus = ok family = ok (the human family) order = ok (the human social order) phylum = not ok (phylum is a regional characteristic that shares the same language) class = not ok (the human class is low income, middle, or rich or other)

Codenine75a (talk) 15:46, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

What you propose is unrelated to biological classification using taxonomy. Mindmatrix 16:21, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 7 August 2013

Grammar / syntax error detected in "Life cycle" paragraph. Please correct this: "... for girls and 78.9 for a boys, while..." with: "... for girls and 78.9 for boys, while..." Vcrasmariu (talk) 21:38, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Fixed. Thanks for pointing out the error. BTW - you can generally fix such errors yourself by clicking one of the Edit buttons at the beginning of the section. HiLo48 (talk) 21:48, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
The user isn't autoconfirmed yet and the article is semi-protected. Rivertorch (talk) 17:29, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Source for sentence on questions

A user has twice removed the reference for a sentence about questions in the Language section, terming it an unreliable source, but thus far hasn't explained exactly why. I don't necessarily think it's the best source available for the purpose but as far as I can tell it meets WP:RS in terms of general reliability (it's a notable book by a reputable academic, and we have an article about it) and is almost certainly better than no source at all. Comments? Rivertorch (talk) 17:42, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

As far as I can tell, the editor is complaining about COI, not reliability. The source was added here which looks to be pretty innocent. Even if COI was involved, you and I, who have no COI, have determined the source meets Wikipedia standards so I'm restoring it. --NeilN talk to me 18:11, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
It is a fringe source that does not merit inclusion in the article.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:03, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Right. If you do a search on it you won't find anybody paying any attention to it. Jordania is not a recognized authority on the subject and the article reads fine without its inclusion. And how can you say it was anything but a WP:COI when the edit that first inserted it is a known sock puppet of Joseph Jorandia's and has in the past been blocked for said sock puppetry? This guy has basically made a practice of riddling this encyclopedia with references to his own work which he then uses to glorify his own page. Did anybody here other than Maunus do any research? The diff that Calibri provides proves it's a COI and nothing has proved reliability. It is not a notable book by a respected academic; it is a mostly ignored book by a guy who is (to quote another editor on Jordania's talk page "considered by most experts to be wrong on most maters detailed in [his] article?" Also, the fact that he is an academic glosses over the fact that his training is in music, not human evolution, so he lacks academic standing with regards to this topic. I don't understand why you guys would want to abet him in exploiting wikipedia in this manner. Dusty|💬|You can help! 19:38, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the explanations. Much clearer than edit summaries. --NeilN talk to me 19:53, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
In fact, I did do a little research, using the Article Blamer to check the original insertion of the text, but apparently the result I got wasn't the right one. Presumably my input was faulty. Mea culpa. Still, I'm not a mindreader, and if any "abetting" has happened it was enabled by the vagueness of your edit summaries. If your initial edit that removed the ref had clearly explained why it was problematic, then the need for any research on my part, as well as the need for this thread and the thread on your talk page, would have been obviated. I am most grateful for your belated explanation, which jibes with what I see as I dig deeper into it. I agree that the reference should be removed. Rivertorch (talk) 20:37, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Infobox with broken code

Could someone please take a look at the infobox and determine what has messed it up? There's a lot of bolded wikicode that's broken and visible. Heymid (contribs) 20:23, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm not the best person to fix this sort of thing, but I do seem to have elminated the broken code simply by replacing "speciesbox" with "Taxobox" immediately after the opening brackets for the template—and I don't think I messed anything else up in the process. Anyone should feel free to undo if I somehow broke the Internet. Strange, though: I couldn't track down the exact problem, which was apparent even in versions of the article more than a year old, and I'm pretty sure someone would have noticed it if it had been there. That made me think there was a problem with the template, but the template hasn't been edited recently . . . so it's a mystery to me. Rivertorch (talk) 21:00, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree it's a mystery. I'm not sure whether it happened today or a few days ago. Perhaps the recent maintenance of the MediaWiki software broke some syntax and caused the problem? Perhaps a bug report is needed for that? Heymid (contribs) 21:10, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
Probably premature. You might post something over at WP:VPT, though. I honestly had never noticed the "speciesbox" nomenclature before, but then I rarely mess with infobox templates of any kind. Rivertorch (talk) 21:21, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) It's likely do to one or more of [31], [32], or [33]. The problem is that something in one of those edits (probably the first) is making Template:get regnum() exceed its limits, which is causing a category to be spit out in the middle of the background color CSS in the table cells, which is breaking the recognition of them as table cell parameters and so they're being rendered as text. A fix would be to revert [34] (and probably someone familiar with the taxobox system should review the rest of that user's edits). In the longer term, the taxobox people should probably look at making their templates use Scribunto, which would hopefully let them avoid some of these limits. Anomie 21:26, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the source of the problem was this edit, which I've reverted for now. Heymid (contribs) 21:37, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Disputed section

This is known as Lewontin's fallacy, it's the claim that human genetic diversity is higher within populations than between populations. Moreover it's sourced with either obscure books or articles which do not contain the required information.--Kohelet (talk) 21:44, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

You misunderstand what Lewontin claimed - though genetics has moved on since his 2003 paper, and his arguments are by no means universally accepted. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:51, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Tell me in which way I misunderstand what Lewontin claimed. The authors of the paper understood very well that his claim was incorrect and the paragraph I deleted contains the same incorrect claim sourced by bogus sources.--Kohelet (talk) 22:40, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
The sources cited are not bogus. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:51, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
They are bogus, did you even look them up?--Kohelet (talk) 22:53, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
How are they bogus, specifically? Dbrodbeck (talk) 22:55, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century by Dorothy Roberts is a pseudoscientific POV book, "named one of the ten best black nonfiction books 2011 by AFRO.com."
  • The page called "Human Genome Project" doesn't contain the required information, in fact, the sentence which is cited from it on Wikipedia ("Almost all (99.9%) nucleotide bases are exactly the same in all people.") isn't even there.
  • Website of a cultural anthropologist who claims that race is a social construct and repeats the old Lewontin's argument
  • Race: The power of an illusion, interview with Alan Goodman - the anthropologist is shamelessly touting the old Lewontin's theory and is serving it as an indisputable fact. It's a joke.

The person who wrote the paragraph added the bogus sources there and he knew they were bogus, because it takes a lot of searching to find and select the few sources supporting his subversive theory. Moreover, the page of the quotation isn't listed in the source, suggesting that the person likely didn't even read the books.--Kohelet (talk) 23:58, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

They are not bogus, the so-called "lewontins fallacy" is a statistical argument that suggests that it is possible to have "races" in spite of the fact that most genetic variation is within groups and not between them. Hardly anyone who knows about genetic variation in humans think that Edwards' argument refutes Lewontins observation. And Lewontins observation is a standard fact about the way that human genetic variation is structured, Edwards does not even contradict that. The question is about the definition of "race" - for Edwards it means any identifiable cluster of genetic variants. For Lewontin and most other people it means something else. Just as the sources show. You can look in any textbookon human genetic variation (e.g. Vogel & Motulsky) or physical anthropology, and they will always mention LEwontins observation. When they mention Edwards argument, they do not suggest that he has shown that Lewontins claim is false, only that the conclusion regarding the impossibility of human races is invalid. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:00, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
In fact it seems you dont even understand Edwards' argument. He does not claim that Lewontin's observation is false, he accepts that it is correct. What he contests is that this means that there are no human races - he argues that it is possible to have human races in spite of Lewontins observation being correct . The article currently does not draw that conclusion so there is nothing currently in the article that Edwards would disagree with. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:10, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
I've added a better source, and I can find about ten more recent sources supporting the claim, when I have more time later tonight.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:16, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

I have here a homo sapiens family tree (after Cavalli-Sforza et. al.) from 1988. I'm sure newer family trees will be even more precisely true. Looking at it, I can see how recently or distantly I am related to all other extant humans.

I share a more recent common ancestor with all other genetic Europeans than I do with anyone else.

Europeans share a more recent common ancestor with the South-west Asian branch than with other extant bloodlines.
This unified branch going back into time meets with that of the North Africans.
This branch then unites with a bloodline isolated on Sardinia since then.
This branch dovetails with the Dravidians.
This branch stems from a common ancestor of all the above and the Saami people. This unified branch is traditionally "Caucasoids".
The caucasoids share a more recent common ancestor with all East Asians/Amerindians than any others.
Then, further in the past, the common ancestor of these and the Southeast Asian/Oceania branch.
Finally it meets the common ancestor of all the above and those who stayed in Africa. This was the common ancestor of everyone alive.

Again, this is simplified and from '88, but the picture can only have gotten more detailed since then, not found completely wrong. This tree was based on DNA evidence, only, but it jives very well with the whole history of the H.sapiens diaspora based on historical documentation, archaeological evidence, and morphological features used by forensic experts to determine ancestry from human remains. Just read the lead paragraph of this article; these things happened; this is how we got here; and the different features among groups that are real and obvious and undeniable for everyone to see.

Those sentences in that article use a strange percentage logic to imply that there is no scientific basis for what among humans in English we call "race", and cannot be taken seriously. I can only speculate on the motivation behind them, and I suspect that the intentions were good, but its misleading, if not false to include those in the article. And by the way unnecessary to combat racism; just because there are races doesn't mean it's ok to be racist. Like all genetically separated populations of animals, we humans have our family tree, and we have physical traits that betray which branch we belong to. It is what it is.

I support the removal of those sentences. The human "races" are absolutely real and the evidentiary support for race (not racism) is overwhelming and so should not be downplayed in this article in this way. Chrisrus (talk) 04:43, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

That is absolutely false and in contradiction to the large majority of mainstream sources. It also shows incredibly poor understanding of Cavalli-Sforzas data and of genetics in general. Cavalli-Sforza does not show "bloodlines" or "family" he shows a statistical average of genetic distance between a *small* set of samples of individuals from different places and places them into a branching structure based on genetic distance. It says absolutely nothing that could be used to argue that everyone in Europe shares an ancestor, and he also does not claim that it does. The fact that genetic distance is a perfect function of geographical distance from Africa is a perfect example of why race is not a good way of understanding or describing human variation - genetic diversity is clinally distributed and does not form neat clusters around continents. It also does not form a neat family tree where each population is a separate branch -unless you sample in a way so that that is the effect and ignore interpopulational diversity - there has been geneflow across all populations and all inhabited continents for millennia. It is an uncontradicted fact that all human populations are genetically diverse, and that the degree of diversity within a population is greater than the average difference between any two populations. When he critiques Lewontin's Fallacy Edwards does not contradict this, nor does he make the ludicruous claim that continental populations share a single ancestor. What he says is that if your sample is large enough and you compare sufficient genetic loci then eventually you will see statistical clustering of traits in geographic areas. Not large differences between poplations, but simply observable differences in frequencies of specific alleles in geographic areas. This is also necessarily true and it is mentioned in the article. What Edwards then goes on to say is that such differences of allele frequencies vindicate the concept of "race", but most people who study human genetic diversity disagree with him on this - because "race" has never just meant "populations with different allele frequencies" but has always carried other meanings relating to phenotype and large scale continental groupings. For example with Edwards' model you could very likely sample the populations of Coventry and Birmingham and define them as different "races" with different frequencies of specific alleles. That is why the vast majority of literature about human genetic diversity does not argue that "races are real", but that thee are genetic differences between populations, but that the differences that set populations apart are smaller than the internal differences in those populations themse. User:Maunuslves ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 11:57, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
You say there are genetic differences between populations. You will agree that some of these branches correspond to the English word "race" fairly well. We already know that, for example, all Koreans share a more recent common ancestry than they do with, for example, Samoans. We know the two are easily distinguished by anyone, and by experts to the point that a skeleton found in a place like LA where they both live could be easily identified as one or the other. Geneticists could distinguish them with just one living cell. Historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists, explain this evidence with the story of our sub-populations and how they got there. Biology explains how and why they evolved, because we see this in all isolated populations of animals.
So of what significance is this highly disputed claim that the genetic difference between, for example, two Koreans, might be greater than that between Samoan and Hawaiian populations? If the genetic evidence is "messy" or disputable, it doesn't matter, because DNA can only help flesh out what we already know from other forms of evidence, or fail to do so. Those sentences make no sense in the context of the rest of the article. They seem to say that basically the whole story of the human diaspora that we tell them in the rest of the article is not supported by DNA evidence, and doesn't even say that this claim is at least controversial among experts. The edit removing it should stand.
I'm as anti-racist as anyone, but it doesn't support our case to deny the simple fact of races among humans in this article. Just because there are races doesn't mean it's ok to be racist, so if that's the motivation behind race denial, it's based on faulty logic. It's not ok to be racist, but neither is it ok for this article to be incoherent. Chrisrus (talk) 16:01, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
No I will not agree to the ludicrous and unfounded claim that all people in Korea share a common ancestor, being Korean is a question of citizenship not about genes. The Korean population is genetically diverse just as all other populations are and some Koreans surely share recent ancestors with some people in Samoa. That doesnt make them less Korean. What geneticists do is that they distinguish probabilistically based on knowledge of the frequency of alleles in different geographic locations, so yes using cluster analysis they can assign individual cells to for example Belgian or Dutch with a very high rate of success - which according to you would mean that Belgians and Dutch people are distinct races. They cannot however do that for deep ancestry because everyone has ancestry from multiple geographic regions because of geneflow - so as soon as you get more than a couple of generations into the past we would all be "multi-racial" according to your "microracial" understanding of race. What really matters however is that you will not found your view supported in mainstream sources about human biological variation. It is that simple. The article as it is now represents the best mainstream literature on the topic of human genetic diversity. The term "race denial" itself is only found within a body of politically motivated fringe literature that attempts to reintroduce ancient long refuted claims about biological races. This has nothing to do with being racist or anti-racist - it has to do with being pro-science and pro-sources. According to the best sources the structure of human genetic diversity is not well represented by using the concept of "race". This entire discussion is futile untill those who wish to revive the race concept present tom good mainstream sources such as handbooks or text book introductions to physical anthropology or human population genetics that make the argument that the concept of race is good way to describe human biological variation. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:24, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
As I said, not all of the branches on the human family tree correspond to races, just some of the major branches. For example, Japanese may be more closely related to each other than they are to Koreans, but I'm not sure whether experts could tell them apart based on a body. Maybe they could by DNA evidence, I don't know. The point is, not all branches on the human family tree correspond to races. Only some of the larger branches correspond to the races. Please respond to what I wrote, not some distortion of it.
Also, I was talking about the fact of people's ancestry and place on the human family tree, not people's legal citizenship. If I moved to China and somehow got Chinese citizenship, I would be Chinese in that sense, but nothing anyone ever does can ever change the fact that I'm not Chinese by ancestry. There is a direct line leading from me to my parents and on and on into the past that eventually would arrive at the last common ancestor I have with any Chinese, and that will be further in the past than my common ancestor with a Russian. A Chinese might be separated at birth and raised in Finland and not even know he was Chinese by ancestry. I know that in the Old World, many countries do correspond to branches on our family tree, but mine doesn't, nor those of most in this hemisphere, nor is it very strictly true in the Old World where it tends to be more true. Please respond to what I wrote, not some distortion of it.
I can provide citation for the fact that not only the ancestry of individual humans but also the general shape of the entire human family tree be determined by DNA. Ancestry of individual humans can also be determined by morphology. I can provide citations to prove that forensics experts can tell, for example, an Eskimo from an Australian Aborigine from not just a body, but just a skeleton, just a skull, or even sometimes just teeth, just as taxonomists distinguish between sub-forms. This might not be true about telling a Dutchman from a Flemish-man, but just as you or I can easily tell a Thai from a Russian, so can physical anthropologists. Just read this article and it will tell you all about how the human family tree got it's shape. Chrisrus (talk) 18:49, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Furthermore, Kohelet earlier provided what seemed to be ample evidence that the claims made by those sentences are not as universally accepted as you claim.Chrisrus (talk) 18:49, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Kohelet didn't even understand the critique of Lewontin that he claimed proved that Lewontin was wrong. He provided no sources, he just critiqued the ones that were there that I agree was of low quality. I will add more high quality sources to the paragraph as soon as I have more time. I am not going to discuss this with you, but simply make sure the article reflects the mainstream literature on the topic. I know what forensic anthropologists think they can tell (I have in fact taught students to "racially identify" skeletal remains, which just means to make an assessment of likely phenotype of the body and then make an estimate of the probable most prevalent geographic ancestry) and I also know why that does not mean that races exist in any meaningful sense of the word(because geographic ancestry is NOT the same as race). YOU need to read some mainstream literature about race and human biology instead of relying on garbeled interpretations of 20 years old genetics studies. Cavalli-Sforza "family tree" has NOTHING to do with race, and it does not show what you think it shows.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:47, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
By drawing my attention to Lewontin's_fallacy#References, Kohelet drew attention to the fact that those claims in those sentences are at least controversial. Chrisrus (talk) 04:27, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
Except (s)he apparently doesn't realize what those references are saying because none of them dispute the claim that he claims they dispute. They all accept as a fact that ingroup variation is greater than between group variation because that is a fact. Even Edwards who wrote the article accpets that fact. WHat he argues is that it is possible to have taxonomically significant races in spite of this fact. This claim is disputed by a majority of specialistst in human biological variation. The article currently does not make either of the disputed claims - only the one accepted as fact by everyone.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 07:12, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Diet: "so excessive weight gain is usually caused by a combination of an energy-dense high fat diet and insufficient exercise." I propose changing this to replace high fat with high carbohydrate, or failing that, simply removing "high fat" so it simply says "energy-dense diet and insufficient exercise". — Preceding unsigned comment added by 131.203.118.20 (talk) 05:25, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Inappropriate image

File:Seti1a.jpg has its coloring added by an unknown 19th c illustrator, when he copied the image. we really dont want this image here, its not an accurate representation even of the egyptions perception of their "races". even this image, File:From Giovanni Battista Belzoni- Egyptian race portrayed in the Book of Gates.jpg appears to be an interpretation.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 08:19, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Disputed section

This is known as Lewontin's fallacy, it's the claim that human genetic diversity is higher within populations than between populations. Moreover it's sourced with either obscure books or articles which do not contain the required information.--Kohelet (talk) 21:44, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

You misunderstand what Lewontin claimed - though genetics has moved on since his 2003 paper, and his arguments are by no means universally accepted. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:51, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Tell me in which way I misunderstand what Lewontin claimed. The authors of the paper understood very well that his claim was incorrect and the paragraph I deleted contains the same incorrect claim sourced by bogus sources.--Kohelet (talk) 22:40, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
The sources cited are not bogus. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:51, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
They are bogus, did you even look them up?--Kohelet (talk) 22:53, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
How are they bogus, specifically? Dbrodbeck (talk) 22:55, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century by Dorothy Roberts is a pseudoscientific POV book, "named one of the ten best black nonfiction books 2011 by AFRO.com."
  • The page called "Human Genome Project" doesn't contain the required information, in fact, the sentence which is cited from it on Wikipedia ("Almost all (99.9%) nucleotide bases are exactly the same in all people.") isn't even there.
  • Website of a cultural anthropologist who claims that race is a social construct and repeats the old Lewontin's argument
  • Race: The power of an illusion, interview with Alan Goodman - the anthropologist is shamelessly touting the old Lewontin's theory and is serving it as an indisputable fact. It's a joke.

The person who wrote the paragraph added the bogus sources there and he knew they were bogus, because it takes a lot of searching to find and select the few sources supporting his subversive theory. Moreover, the page of the quotation isn't listed in the source, suggesting that the person likely didn't even read the books.--Kohelet (talk) 23:58, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

They are not bogus, the so-called "lewontins fallacy" is a statistical argument that suggests that it is possible to have "races" in spite of the fact that most genetic variation is within groups and not between them. Hardly anyone who knows about genetic variation in humans think that Edwards' argument refutes Lewontins observation. And Lewontins observation is a standard fact about the way that human genetic variation is structured, Edwards does not even contradict that. The question is about the definition of "race" - for Edwards it means any identifiable cluster of genetic variants. For Lewontin and most other people it means something else. Just as the sources show. You can look in any textbookon human genetic variation (e.g. Vogel & Motulsky) or physical anthropology, and they will always mention LEwontins observation. When they mention Edwards argument, they do not suggest that he has shown that Lewontins claim is false, only that the conclusion regarding the impossibility of human races is invalid. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:00, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
In fact it seems you dont even understand Edwards' argument. He does not claim that Lewontin's observation is false, he accepts that it is correct. What he contests is that this means that there are no human races - he argues that it is possible to have human races in spite of Lewontins observation being correct . The article currently does not draw that conclusion so there is nothing currently in the article that Edwards would disagree with. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:10, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
I've added a better source, and I can find about ten more recent sources supporting the claim, when I have more time later tonight.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:16, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

I have here a homo sapiens family tree (after Cavalli-Sforza et. al.) from 1988. I'm sure newer family trees will be even more precisely true. Looking at it, I can see how recently or distantly I am related to all other extant humans.

I share a more recent common ancestor with all other genetic Europeans than I do with anyone else.

Europeans share a more recent common ancestor with the South-west Asian branch than with other extant bloodlines.
This unified branch going back into time meets with that of the North Africans.
This branch then unites with a bloodline isolated on Sardinia since then.
This branch dovetails with the Dravidians.
This branch stems from a common ancestor of all the above and the Saami people. This unified branch is traditionally "Caucasoids".
The caucasoids share a more recent common ancestor with all East Asians/Amerindians than any others.
Then, further in the past, the common ancestor of these and the Southeast Asian/Oceania branch.
Finally it meets the common ancestor of all the above and those who stayed in Africa. This was the common ancestor of everyone alive.

Again, this is simplified and from '88, but the picture can only have gotten more detailed since then, not found completely wrong. This tree was based on DNA evidence, only, but it jives very well with the whole history of the H.sapiens diaspora based on historical documentation, archaeological evidence, and morphological features used by forensic experts to determine ancestry from human remains. Just read the lead paragraph of this article; these things happened; this is how we got here; and the different features among groups that are real and obvious and undeniable for everyone to see.

Those sentences in that article use a strange percentage logic to imply that there is no scientific basis for what among humans in English we call "race", and cannot be taken seriously. I can only speculate on the motivation behind them, and I suspect that the intentions were good, but its misleading, if not false to include those in the article. And by the way unnecessary to combat racism; just because there are races doesn't mean it's ok to be racist. Like all genetically separated populations of animals, we humans have our family tree, and we have physical traits that betray which branch we belong to. It is what it is.

I support the removal of those sentences. The human "races" are absolutely real and the evidentiary support for race (not racism) is overwhelming and so should not be downplayed in this article in this way. Chrisrus (talk) 04:43, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

That is absolutely false and in contradiction to the large majority of mainstream sources. It also shows incredibly poor understanding of Cavalli-Sforzas data and of genetics in general. Cavalli-Sforza does not show "bloodlines" or "family" he shows a statistical average of genetic distance between a *small* set of samples of individuals from different places and places them into a branching structure based on genetic distance. It says absolutely nothing that could be used to argue that everyone in Europe shares an ancestor, and he also does not claim that it does. The fact that genetic distance is a perfect function of geographical distance from Africa is a perfect example of why race is not a good way of understanding or describing human variation - genetic diversity is clinally distributed and does not form neat clusters around continents. It also does not form a neat family tree where each population is a separate branch -unless you sample in a way so that that is the effect and ignore interpopulational diversity - there has been geneflow across all populations and all inhabited continents for millennia. It is an uncontradicted fact that all human populations are genetically diverse, and that the degree of diversity within a population is greater than the average difference between any two populations. When he critiques Lewontin's Fallacy Edwards does not contradict this, nor does he make the ludicruous claim that continental populations share a single ancestor. What he says is that if your sample is large enough and you compare sufficient genetic loci then eventually you will see statistical clustering of traits in geographic areas. Not large differences between poplations, but simply observable differences in frequencies of specific alleles in geographic areas. This is also necessarily true and it is mentioned in the article. What Edwards then goes on to say is that such differences of allele frequencies vindicate the concept of "race", but most people who study human genetic diversity disagree with him on this - because "race" has never just meant "populations with different allele frequencies" but has always carried other meanings relating to phenotype and large scale continental groupings. For example with Edwards' model you could very likely sample the populations of Coventry and Birmingham and define them as different "races" with different frequencies of specific alleles. That is why the vast majority of literature about human genetic diversity does not argue that "races are real", but that thee are genetic differences between populations, but that the differences that set populations apart are smaller than the internal differences in those populations themse. User:Maunuslves ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 11:57, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
You say there are genetic differences between populations. You will agree that some of these branches correspond to the English word "race" fairly well. We already know that, for example, all Koreans share a more recent common ancestry than they do with, for example, Samoans. We know the two are easily distinguished by anyone, and by experts to the point that a skeleton found in a place like LA where they both live could be easily identified as one or the other. Geneticists could distinguish them with just one living cell. Historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists, explain this evidence with the story of our sub-populations and how they got there. Biology explains how and why they evolved, because we see this in all isolated populations of animals.
So of what significance is this highly disputed claim that the genetic difference between, for example, two Koreans, might be greater than that between Samoan and Hawaiian populations? If the genetic evidence is "messy" or disputable, it doesn't matter, because DNA can only help flesh out what we already know from other forms of evidence, or fail to do so. Those sentences make no sense in the context of the rest of the article. They seem to say that basically the whole story of the human diaspora that we tell them in the rest of the article is not supported by DNA evidence, and doesn't even say that this claim is at least controversial among experts. The edit removing it should stand.
I'm as anti-racist as anyone, but it doesn't support our case to deny the simple fact of races among humans in this article. Just because there are races doesn't mean it's ok to be racist, so if that's the motivation behind race denial, it's based on faulty logic. It's not ok to be racist, but neither is it ok for this article to be incoherent. Chrisrus (talk) 16:01, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
No I will not agree to the ludicrous and unfounded claim that all people in Korea share a common ancestor, being Korean is a question of citizenship not about genes. The Korean population is genetically diverse just as all other populations are and some Koreans surely share recent ancestors with some people in Samoa. That doesnt make them less Korean. What geneticists do is that they distinguish probabilistically based on knowledge of the frequency of alleles in different geographic locations, so yes using cluster analysis they can assign individual cells to for example Belgian or Dutch with a very high rate of success - which according to you would mean that Belgians and Dutch people are distinct races. They cannot however do that for deep ancestry because everyone has ancestry from multiple geographic regions because of geneflow - so as soon as you get more than a couple of generations into the past we would all be "multi-racial" according to your "microracial" understanding of race. What really matters however is that you will not found your view supported in mainstream sources about human biological variation. It is that simple. The article as it is now represents the best mainstream literature on the topic of human genetic diversity. The term "race denial" itself is only found within a body of politically motivated fringe literature that attempts to reintroduce ancient long refuted claims about biological races. This has nothing to do with being racist or anti-racist - it has to do with being pro-science and pro-sources. According to the best sources the structure of human genetic diversity is not well represented by using the concept of "race". This entire discussion is futile untill those who wish to revive the race concept present tom good mainstream sources such as handbooks or text book introductions to physical anthropology or human population genetics that make the argument that the concept of race is good way to describe human biological variation. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:24, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
As I said, not all of the branches on the human family tree correspond to races, just some of the major branches. For example, Japanese may be more closely related to each other than they are to Koreans, but I'm not sure whether experts could tell them apart based on a body. Maybe they could by DNA evidence, I don't know. The point is, not all branches on the human family tree correspond to races. Only some of the larger branches correspond to the races. Please respond to what I wrote, not some distortion of it.
Also, I was talking about the fact of people's ancestry and place on the human family tree, not people's legal citizenship. If I moved to China and somehow got Chinese citizenship, I would be Chinese in that sense, but nothing anyone ever does can ever change the fact that I'm not Chinese by ancestry. There is a direct line leading from me to my parents and on and on into the past that eventually would arrive at the last common ancestor I have with any Chinese, and that will be further in the past than my common ancestor with a Russian. A Chinese might be separated at birth and raised in Finland and not even know he was Chinese by ancestry. I know that in the Old World, many countries do correspond to branches on our family tree, but mine doesn't, nor those of most in this hemisphere, nor is it very strictly true in the Old World where it tends to be more true. Please respond to what I wrote, not some distortion of it.
I can provide citation for the fact that not only the ancestry of individual humans but also the general shape of the entire human family tree be determined by DNA. Ancestry of individual humans can also be determined by morphology. I can provide citations to prove that forensics experts can tell, for example, an Eskimo from an Australian Aborigine from not just a body, but just a skeleton, just a skull, or even sometimes just teeth, just as taxonomists distinguish between sub-forms. This might not be true about telling a Dutchman from a Flemish-man, but just as you or I can easily tell a Thai from a Russian, so can physical anthropologists. Just read this article and it will tell you all about how the human family tree got it's shape. Chrisrus (talk) 18:49, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Furthermore, Kohelet earlier provided what seemed to be ample evidence that the claims made by those sentences are not as universally accepted as you claim.Chrisrus (talk) 18:49, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Kohelet didn't even understand the critique of Lewontin that he claimed proved that Lewontin was wrong. He provided no sources, he just critiqued the ones that were there that I agree was of low quality. I will add more high quality sources to the paragraph as soon as I have more time. I am not going to discuss this with you, but simply make sure the article reflects the mainstream literature on the topic. I know what forensic anthropologists think they can tell (I have in fact taught students to "racially identify" skeletal remains, which just means to make an assessment of likely phenotype of the body and then make an estimate of the probable most prevalent geographic ancestry) and I also know why that does not mean that races exist in any meaningful sense of the word(because geographic ancestry is NOT the same as race). YOU need to read some mainstream literature about race and human biology instead of relying on garbeled interpretations of 20 years old genetics studies. Cavalli-Sforza "family tree" has NOTHING to do with race, and it does not show what you think it shows.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:47, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
By drawing my attention to Lewontin's_fallacy#References, Kohelet drew attention to the fact that those claims in those sentences are at least controversial. Chrisrus (talk) 04:27, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
Except (s)he apparently doesn't realize what those references are saying because none of them dispute the claim that he claims they dispute. They all accept as a fact that ingroup variation is greater than between group variation because that is a fact. Even Edwards who wrote the article accpets that fact. WHat he argues is that it is possible to have taxonomically significant races in spite of this fact. This claim is disputed by a majority of specialistst in human biological variation. The article currently does not make either of the disputed claims - only the one accepted as fact by everyone.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 07:12, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Diet: "so excessive weight gain is usually caused by a combination of an energy-dense high fat diet and insufficient exercise." I propose changing this to replace high fat with high carbohydrate, or failing that, simply removing "high fat" so it simply says "energy-dense diet and insufficient exercise". — Preceding unsigned comment added by 131.203.118.20 (talk) 05:25, 20 September 2013 (UTC)