HOMININS AND HOMINIDS

December 2006

I have been the use of the term “hominin” instead of “hominid”. It turns out I’m not the only one to be confused. Simon Underdown of Oxford Brookes University, has written a letter to Nature (7 December 2006) pointing out that there has been a “reassessment of the linnaean description of the relationship between Homo sapiens and the other great apes. To better describe the close evolutionary relationship between them, a new sub-family level has been created. The family group ‘hominid’ now contains all of the African apes, not just the species of the human lineage; and the newly created sub-family name ‘hominin’ (with associated sub-families for Pan and Gorilla) contains all the species of the human evolutionary lineage. The term hominin is now used where hominid was previously, causing much confusion, especially among students and nonspecialists.”

So now you know.

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Filed under Fossils, Human evolution, Primates

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