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On the Number of Ancestral Human Species

  1. Darren Curnoe

Published Online: 14 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020814



How to Cite

Curnoe, D. 2008. On the Number of Ancestral Human Species. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 MAR 2008

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (9 DEC 2014)


The number of species within the human evolutionary tree remains a major point of debate. Genomic distances for living humans and other apes may be used to estimate hominin diversity and therefore to set boundaries for palaeontological scenarios. A minimum of five species is recognizable but scenarios involving much higher estimates of diversity cannot be ruled out.


  • hominin evolution;
  • species;
  • diversity;
  • genetics