Near-Human was the general term for any of the many species, subspecies, or races in the galaxy which were very closely related biologically to baseline Humans. In contrast, other humanoid species only had general external similarities to Humans, and had no biological connection. However, the term "humanoid" was sometimes used loosely to describe Near-Human species.
Most Near-Humans shared close external similarities to Humans, usually with small differences in skin and eye color or bone structure. Biologically, many Near-Humans were capable of interbreeding with baseline Humans. Some were close enough to the Human baseline to be considered a race or ethnic group of Humans, rather than a separate species. Similarly, some groups, biologically classified as Humans, though differing from the Human mainstream almost entirely in their culture, were considered so distinct that they were sometimes referred to as Near-Human.
Near-Humans were believed to have descended from Humans that evolved along distinct lines on distant planets, whether via natural mutation or deliberate genetic engineering.
The appearance of Human and Near-Human communities in various planets predating the discovery of the hyperdrive can be explained by supposing that they had already settled colonies via a slower means of space transport. Another explanation is that Humans (or perhaps the Zhell, their possible ancestors) were taken from their original planet by an ancient race, like the Rakata or the Celestials, and spread through the galaxy for some reason.
Many Near-Humans were thought, therefore, to have evolved in the most ancient and forgotten colonies, formed at some point before recorded history. Thus, the genetic and usually visible differences between Humans and the various Near-Human species can be explained by many thousands of years of separate evolution on separate environments than that on which Humans evolved, long before they left their home planet as a species.
The following are examples of some of the Near-Human species of the galaxy-