family of apes

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Temporal range: Miocene[1] to Recent
The eight living Hominidae species
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Superfamily: Hominoidea
Family: Hominidae
A fossil hominid exhibit at the Museum of Osteology, Oklahoma City

The hominids are members of the biological family Hominidae (the great apes). This family includes humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans.[2] "Great ape" is a common name rather than a taxonomic label, and people use it in different ways. Sometimes people mean to include humans in the category of “great apes,” and sometimes they mean non-human apes. Homo sapiens is definitely a hominid, as judged by all modern reference works.

Hominids range in weight from 48 kg to 270 kg. Males are larger than females. Hominids are primates with no tails, strong bodies, and well-developed forearms. Their thumbs (and big toes, except in humans) oppose the fingers, and form a grip. All digits have flattened nails.

At present, the family Hominidae includes four genera and eight species. However, if fossil hominids were included, all of the Australopithecines and the genus Homo would be members of the Hominidae family. Today, nonhuman great apes live only in the rainforests of equatorial Africa, Sumatra and Borneo.

The first hominid fossils are from the Miocene period. Archaeologists found these in Asia[3] and Europe. Also in Asia, they found fossils of a huge version of the orangutan called Gigantopithecus, which is now extinct. Fossils also show that Neanderthals were in Europe and western Asia for at least half a million years before modern humans appeared.

Classification change

Scholars do not agree on exactly how to classify the family Hominidae.

Past versions change

In the past, the family Hominidae have been classified this way:

Modern version change

A more recent classification shows humans and the Australopithecines as distinct from the rainforest apes. Two major reference works have supported this approach.[4][5]

Superfamily Hominoidea

Family Hylobatidae
Genus Hylobates
Family Hominidae
Subfamily Ponginae
Genus Pongo
Subfamily Gorillinae
Genus Gorilla
Subfamily Homininae
Tribe Panini
Genus Pan
Tribe Hominini
Subtribe Australopithecina/Hominina
Genus Ardipithecus
Genus Australopithecus
Genus Kenyanthropus
Genus Sahelanthropus
Genus Orrorin
Genus Paranthropus
Genus Homo

Related pages change

References change

  1. Begun D.R; Nargolwalla M.C. and Kordos L. (2012). "European Miocene Hominids and the Origin of the African Ape and Human Clade". Evol. Anthropol. 21 (1): 10–23. doi:10.1002/evan.20329. PMID 22307721. S2CID 22792031.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. Groves C. 2005. Wilson D.E.; Reeder D.M. eds. Mammal species of the world. 3rd ed, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 181–184. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. [1] Archived 2011-02-04 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Hill, Andrew & Steven Ward 1988. Origin of the Hominidae: the record of African large hominoid evolution between 14 My and 4 My. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 31 (59): 49–83.[2]
  4. Larsen, Clark Spencer (ed) 2010. A companion to biological anthropology. Blackwell. Chapter 3 (Bernard A. Wood) Systematics, taxonomy & phylogenetics, 56–73. ISBN 978-1405189002
  5. Stanford, Craig; Allen, John S. & Anton, Susan C. 2011. Biological anthropology. Pearson. ISBN 978-0205150687