Homo sapien

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Human camaraderie among Dr. Jane Katz, Captain Timothy Johnson, Shelley Taylor-Smith and Skip Storch
Humans from the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation being recognized for achievement at the United Nations, photo courtesy of Skip Storch
Human speaking at international symposiums, photo of Yuko Matsuzaki courtesy of Skip Storch
Female and male swimmers
Male swimmer
Public speaking at the United Nations - photo by Skip Storch
noun - Humans (known taxonomically as Homo sapiens, Latin for "wise man" or "knowing man") are the only living species in the Homo genus. Homo sapiens are anatomically modern humans who originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago and reached full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago. A small subset of homo sapiens can swim and an even smaller subset refers to themselves as open water swimmers.

Humans have a highly developed brain and are capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem solving. This mental capability, combined with an erect body carriage that frees the hands for manipulating objects, has allowed humans to make far greater use of tools than any other living species on Earth. Other higher-level thought processes of humans, such as self-awareness, rationality, and sapience, are considered to be defining features of what constitutes a "person".

Humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families to nations. Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society. With individuals widespread in every continent except Antarctica, humans are a cosmopolitan species. As of November 2011, the human population was estimated by the United Nations Population Division to be about 7 billion, and by the United States Census Bureau to be about 6.97 billion.

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

Homo Sapiens in the Water

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