Hominid Evolution

Humans are bipedal primates belonging to the mammalian species Homo sapiens in the family Hominidae

Common features of the family Hominidae include:

  • Five digits with opposable thumbs (allowing for power and precision grips)
  • Enlarged brains (allowing for increased cognition and social behaviours)
  • Upright postures (enabling degrees of bipedal walking)
  • Longer gestation periods and prolonged childhoods (promoting group bonding and hierarchical social structures

Human Classification

All living things can be classified according to Linneas's binomial system of nomenclature

  • Each taxonomic level uses distinguishing features to place an organism into a specific category

Hominin vs Hominid

  • Historically, modern humans were classified as hominids, from the family name Hominidae
  • Great apes were placed in a separate family (Pongidae)
  • Now, all the great apes have been placed in the family Hominidae, and humans have been placed into the sub-family Homininae
  • The term hominin now refers to all species (including modern humans) that have evolved since the human lineage split off from the one that gave rise to the great apes

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