Human taxonomy is the classification of the human species (systematic name Homo sapiens, Latin: "wise man") within zoological taxonomy. The systematic genus, Homo, is designed to include both anatomically modern humans and extinct varieties of archaic humans. Current humans have been designated as subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, differentiated according to some from the direct ancestor, Homo sapiens idaltu (with some other research instead classifying idaltu and current humans as belonging to the same subspecies).
Since the introduction of systematic names in the 18th century, knowledge of human evolution has increased drastically, and a number of intermediate taxa have been proposed in the 20th to early 21st century. The most widely accepted taxonomy groups takes the genus Homo as originating between two and three million years ago, divided into at least two species, archaic Homo erectus and modern Homo sapiens, with about a dozen further suggestions for species without universal recognition.
The genus Homo is placed in the tribe Hominini alongside Pan (chimpanzees). The two genera are estimated to have diverged over an extended time of hybridization spanning roughly 10 to 6 million years ago, with possible admixture as late as 4 million years ago. A subtribe of uncertain validity, grouping archaic "pre-human" or "para-human" species younger than the Homo-Pan split is Australopithecina (proposed in 1939).
A proposal by Wood and Richmond (2000) would introduce Hominina as a subtribe alongside Australopithecina, with Homo the only known genus within Hominina. Alternatively, following Cela-Conde and Ayala (2003), the "pre-human" or "proto-human" genera of Australopithecus, Ardipithecus, Praeanthropus, and possibly Sahelanthropus may be placed on equal footing alongside the genus Homo. An even more radical view rejects the division of Pan and Homo as separate genera, which based on the Principle of Priority would imply the reclassification of chimpanzees as Homo paniscus (or similar).
Prior to the current scientific classification of humans, philosophers and scientists have made various attempts to classify humans. They offered definitions of the human being and schemes for classifying types of humans. Biologists once classified races as subspecies, but today anthropologists reject the concept of race and view humanity as an interrelated genetic continuum. Taxonomy of the hominins continues to evolve.