man (Homo sapiens), pl. men

An intelligent mammal that walks upright on two legs, typically ranging from 5 to 6 1/2 feet in height, slightly taller for the males than females.

Homo sapiens is distinguished by its large brain size, approximately 85 cubic inches, far larger than that of the other extant primates that are its closest relatives. Also, in comparison to those primates, man is nearly hairless, having dense hair only on the head, armpits, and pelvic region, though thin hair often covers the rest of the body.

Man lives on almost all of the land on earth, from the arctic to the tropics, and from coastal regions to mountains, though the highest population density tends to be found at lower altitudes and in temperate climates.

Man in omnivorous, eating both plant and animal matter, as well as artificial food man creates with machines. Man was once characterized as a hunter-gatherer, hunting and killing animals for food, as well as gathering vegetable matter, but in the present day, most of man's food is produced through the science of agriculture, in which plants are grown in a maintained environment and animals are raised in captivity, by a small fraction of the population, and a complex social structure allows this food to be traded among all members of the species. This social structure includes a complex system of languages, which vary by location, a system of money by which widely differing assets and services can be traded, and a complex system of breeding behavior.

Man is a generally aggressive creature, who instinctively stakes out and defends his territory and possessions, though its social structure controls to a great extent what territory each man can claim. The social structure varies in different parts of the world, and men from different types of social structure are known to fight long, contracted battles called wars, often not over possessions or territory but over these disagreements in the social structure, often over tiny details in the overall social structure.

In most parts of the world, man's social structure tends toward a monogamous relationship. Breeding is usually preceded by a courtship ritual which can vary in length from hours to years and is equally varied in nature. Breeding pairs tend to remain together for a length of time, but often not for the remainder of their lives; young usually remain with the family until adulthood. Some social contact often continues after the young leave the family. Promiscuous mating in addition to or sometimes instead of the monogamous relationship is common. In some social systems it is common for a male to keep multiple mates, while others shun this practice.

In the last few centuries man has learned to construct complex machines, which have had immense consequences on the social structure; in addition, they have allowed him to extend his food supply by more efficient systems of agriculture as well as by the production of artificial foods. They have also allowed him to extend his habitat into the extremely cold polar regions and even underwater and into space for short lengths of time. Man has even constructed communication machines that allow communication over a long distance, literally all the way around the earth, and man has constructed artificial memory systems that allow the compilation of databases such as Everything 2.

Likewise, a highly developed study of medicine has allowed man to extend his average life span beyond 70 years, and to expand the population to immense levels.