Hominid - Hominidae

Hominid - Hominidae

The hominids are the members of the biological family Hominidae, which includes humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans. This classification has been revised several times in the last few decades. Originally, the group was restricted to humans and their extinct relatives, with the other great apes being placed in a separate family, the Pongidae. This definition is still used by many anthropologists and by lay people. However, that definition makes Pongidae paraphyletic, whereas most taxonomists nowadays encourage monophyletic groups. Thus many biologists consider Hominidae to include Pongidae as the subfamily Ponginae, or restrict the latter to the orangutans and their extinct relatives like Gigantopithecus.


The criteria for membership in the Homininae are generally includes those species which share more than 97% of their DNA with the modern human genome, and exhibit a capacity for language or for simple cultures beyond the family or band. Without the ability to test whether early members of the Homininae had a theory of mind, it is difficult to ignore similarities seen in their living cousins.

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