Any Synonyms of _Homo sapiens_?

Has anyone ever proposed an alternative scientific name for modern humans?

(No, I can’t imagine why they would, and yes, I know there are now rules to prevent this. Still, I’m curious.)

Why on earth would they? There are now rules to prevent this, you know. :wink:

I’ve seen “homo sapiens sapiens,” where the last “sapiens” is a subspecies.

Shosana, I’ve heard that too. I was curious to know if you or anyone else knew what other subspecies would fall under Homo sapiens…

Well, for a long time, Neanderthal man was considered a subspecies…Homo sapiens neanderthalis, which would make modern man Homo sapiens sapiens. I think Neanderthal man is usually considered a seperate species now, though.

There are many fossils that are refered to as “archaic Homo sapiens”. They aren’t neandertals, but they aren’t Homo sapiens sapiens either. They don’t exactly form a homogenous group, but are a sort of catch-all term.

A “synonym” in taxonomy is a name proposed by someone else not aware that the species in question has already been named and described by someone else, which therefore is reduced to “an improper but present-in-older-literature term for what is properly called by [the first, priority-holding name]”

Since kids young enough to get giggles out of the “homo” part are aware that that’s been the taxonomic name for mankind since Linnaeus assigned it, there would be no point in coining a synonym.

As various people have noted, certain prehistoric hominids were considered separate species by “splitter” paleoanthropologists and are referred to H. sapiens by “lumpers.” Accordingly, their names are considered “synonyms” in the taxonomic sense.
Captain Amazing gives the example that H. neanderthalensis is now considered H. Sapiens neanderthalensis – which makes H. neanderthalensis a synonym for H. sapiens in the taxonomic use of the term. I believe the same is true for H. heidelbergensis.

Rules? What rules?

The rules, known as the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, made by these guys.